Faculty & Staff

The Eshelman Institute for Innovation exists as a vehicle for the generation of bold, high-risk, high-reward ideas that advance innovation in education, research, and health care, and accelerate the translation of innovative solutions into society. As such, the EII encourages faculty, staff, students, and postdoctoral fellows to submit proposals that explore innovation as it relates to discovery, translation, and strategic initiatives. Additionally, we encourage and will prioritize proposals that include a broad spectrum of scientific engagement through meaningful collaborations across a variety of disciplines, departments, schools, and institutions.

Faculty and staff are invited to submit proposals to the Eshelman Institute for Innovation on March 1st of each year. In addition to the criteria for each funding tier, all proposals must abide by the following:

  • Proposals must be submitted online via Route 301.
  • Additional two pages of references is acceptable.
  • Budget approved by the Office of Research Administration.
  • If the proposal includes work that will be contracted, the budget must include a detailed protocol and quote. If work is being contracted to an external institution, please include documentation that contains the following statement and is signed by an authorized institutional grants office at the collaborating institution: “The attached budget is consistent with the institutional policies and budgeting guidelines of [insert institution name] and has been reviewed and approved by our authorized institutional official.”
Please note: The EII will not accept more than two grant proposals per innovator per funding cycle. If an innovator is to submit more than one grant proposal in a given cycle, grant proposals must be submitted in different funding tiers.

Discovery Grants

Innovative research that has not been attempted before, but that has the potential to transform science, medicine, health care delivery, or health care education.

Tier 1: Up to $50,000

Ideas are raw, bold, and novel. These ideas are high risk with the potential to be highly impactful.

  • Anticipated project duration is approximately one year.
  • No evidence of prior work in the area is required.
  • Two-page proposal focused on the idea with aims, approaches, and anticipated outcomes is required.

Tier 2: Up to $200,000

Ideas are still in early incubation phases and require additional de-risking. Evidence of work and prior art in this area is available. These ideas are moderate to high risk.

  • Anticipated project duration is no more than two years.
  • Evidence to support the idea is required.
  • Five-page proposal focused on the idea with aims, approaches, and anticipated outcomes is required.
  • If invited, the Innovator may be required to pitch the idea to the EII Steering Board.

Tier 3: Up to $500,000

Ideas are mature and more developed with substantial evidence of accomplishments and prior art in the area to support potential impact. These ideas have been derisked.

  • Anticipated project duration is no more than two years.
  • Substantial evidence to support the idea is required.
  • Five-page proposal focused on the idea with aims, approaches, and anticipated outcomes is required.
  • If invited, the Innovator is required to pitch the idea to the EII Steering Board.

Translational Grants

Research and development that validates transformative discovery findings via optimization and proof of principle or proof of commercial readiness, thus enhancing the potential to produce positive impacts on health care outcomes.

Tier 1: Up to $100,000

Studies that are impactful in the discovery of technologies, products, or processes that have emanated from ideas which are bold and novel. The outcomes of these studies may be high risk, but if successful, have the potential to be highly impactful.

  • Anticipated project duration is approximately one year.
  • First time study for this project in this area but is technically feasible.
  • Two-page proposal focused on the idea with specific milestones and timeline of completion is required.
  • Description of the anticipated impact on outcomes and plans for follow-on funding is required.

Tier 2: Up to $250,000

Studies that are impactful in the discovery of technologies, products, or processes that have emanated from ideas which are bold and novel. The outcomes of these studies establish the commercial potential of the technology, product, or process within the competitive landscape.

  • Anticipated project duration is no more than two years.
  • Evidence to support the idea is required.
  • Five-page proposal focused on the idea with specific studies, milestones, and timeline of completion is required.
  • Description of the anticipated impact on outcomes, commercial significance, competitive landscape, and plans for follow-on funding and commercialization is required.
  • If invited, the Innovator may be required to pitch the idea to the EII Steering Board on Pitch Day.

Strategic Grants

High impact ideas that form the basis for transforming educational programs, the practice of health care, research programs, or operational/business practices within the organization; all with a focus on accelerating innovation and transformation within the relevant area.

Tier 1: $10,000 to $100,000

Projects that are focused on transforming programs, practices (including operational processes in a health care or educational setting) with the goal to increase efficiency, effectiveness, and outcomes. Projects must have the potential to be transformative.

  • Anticipated project duration is no more than one year.
  • Evidence to support the idea is required.
  • Three-page proposal focused on the idea with the specific work, milestones, and timeline of completion is required.
  • Description of the anticipated impact on outcomes, significance, competitive landscape, and plans for implementation is required.

Tier 2: Over $500,000

Multiyear, multidisciplinary projects that are focused on transforming programs and practice (including operational processes in a health care or educational setting) with the goal to increase efficiency, effectiveness and outcomes. Projects must have the potential to be transformative in the local environment as well as beyond a local setting.

  • Pre-proposal submission is The deadline to submit a pre-proposal is November 15th of each year.
  • If invited to submit a full proposal:
    • Six-page proposal focused on the idea with milestones and timeline of completion is required.
    • Description of the anticipated impact on outcomes, significance, competitive landscape, and plans for sustainability (e.g. follow-on funding, commercialization and/or implementation) is required.
    • Letters of support from external collaborators are highly encouraged.
    • If invited, the Innovator is required to pitch the idea to the EII Steering Board on Pitch Day.

Students and Postdoctoral Fellows

Up to a total of $25,000

Ideas should be new, bold, novel ideas. These ideas are high risk and have the potential to be highly impactful.

  • Student teams and collaborations across degrees and disciplines are encouraged.
  • No evidence of prior work in the area is required.
  • Student and Fellow Mentor Approval form is required.
  • Acceptance of UNC’s patent and invention policy required.
  • Two-page proposal focused on the idea is required.
  • Budget approved by the Office of Research Administration is required.
  • If invited, the Innovator must pitch the idea to the Eshelman Institute for Innovation administrative team and faculty review committee.

The Eshelman Institute for Innovation will only fund proposals submitted by professional students, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows of the UNC Eshelman School Pharmacy. Professional students are required to select a member of the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy faculty to serve as a faculty mentor for their project. Graduate students and postdoctoral fellows may select a faculty mentor that differs from the primary advisor. However, in this case, faculty mentors, as well as the student’s main adviser, are required to sign off on the proposal and time commitment to the project upon submission.