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Faculty and staff from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill (UNC-CH) may submit a proposal to the Eshelman Institute. Innovators external to UNC are also eligible to apply; however, a UNC-CH faculty or staff member must be present on the award as either Lead or Co PI.

We encourage proposals that include a broad spectrum of scientific engagement through meaningful collaborations across various disciplines, departments, schools, and institutions. Please consider including co-PIs that provide broad scientific or commercial engagement.

Yes, UNC-CH faculty and staff are encouraged to partner with innovators outside of the University. However, a UNC-CH faculty or staff member who is paid by the University must serve as the lead or co-lead PI on the project.

The Eshelman Institute is interested in therapeutics and digital health technologies focusing on oncology, infectious disease, and neuroscience (including rare diseases). However, the Eshelman Institute also welcomes ideas for devices and diagnostics and other therapeutic areas & services.

Yes. We highly encourage prospective applicants to discuss their pre-proposals and/or proposals with Eshelman Institute for Innovation staff. Please reach out to us at

An Eshelman Institute for Innovation administrative team and a panel by a panel of scientific and commercial experts who are SMEs in the proposal’s area of focus will review pre-proposals and full proposals. The Institute’s Steering Board reviews proposals invited to pitch day and serves as the panel for Pitch Day.

All grants are generally awarded from one to two years with various funding ranges. All funding asks will be thoroughly reviewed by the Eshelman Institute, so funding asks should be concise to what is needed to complete the project. All funding will be disbursed to PIs based on the completion of their aims and milestones identified in their application.

The Institute will not accept more than two applications per innovator per submission deadline.

Yes, however, the EII will take into account the innovator’s previous participation in abiding by the Institute’s project management and reporting processes.

The Eshelman Institute no longer offers graduate student and postdoc awards. If a student or postdoc has an innovative idea that meets our strategic focus and has commercial potential, please contact the Institute. There may be opportunities for you to apply for opportunistic grant funding.

Please ensure that the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy’s Office of Research Administration has worked with you to create and review the budget. Please contact Raj Kshatriya at to receive assistance.  A member of the Office of Research Administration must sign off on your budget before submitting your application to the Institute, or your application will be considered ineligible.

For innovators working with collaborators at institutions outside of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Institute requires signed documentation from the innovator’s organization. Please review the grant guidelines for more details on this.

PIs must work with Institute’s Project Manager (PM) to craft the project’s aims and milestones. As a first step in the process, PIs must complete an aims and milestones form that will be sent to the Lead/Co-PIs by the Institute. The PM will meet with PIs to streamline aims and milestones and Gantt chart project objectives.

Please have your budget finalized before meeting with PM, so they can identify the proper tranche schedule for each aim with you. The final aims, milestones, and Gantt chart that will be provided by the PM to the Lead PI must be uploaded in the proposal application.

Once funded, the Eshelman Institute will issue a Notice of Award outlining our specific funding terms. Disbursement of funds will be contingent on the achievement of the project’s milestones. Once innovators have completed their first milestone, the Institute will disburse additional funding for milestone two and so on. If an innovator is unable to accomplish their milestones, the Institute reserves the right to cancel your project at any time.

Recipients of our annual grant cycle will receive their funding on July 1.

All funded projects must work with our Project Manager to track the completion of their project’s aims and milestones.

The Eshelman Institute for Innovation anticipates providing anonymized feedback to all applicants after the award process concludes.

No, we consider proposals the intellectual property of the innovator and do not share them outside of the Institute.