Request for Applications (RFA)

Applications accepted on a rolling basis for the January to November 2020 cycle

BRiDGE is a nonprofit startup incubator offering lab and office space in downtown Durham, North Carolina.

We engage Duke faculty, post-doctoral fellows and students to support the launch of new companies with the goal of developing a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem.

This facility and program were made possible by a philanthropic gift to Duke's Pratt School of Engineering and by additional funds from Duke Engineering Entrepreneurship (EngEn).

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis.

What BRiDGe Provides

  • Physical infrastructure—2,000 square feet in The Chesterfield building
  • Intellectual expertise—Entrepreneurship training provided by experienced mentors
  • Educational program—Hands-on internships for Duke Engineering master's students

Our Goals

  1. Accelerate the development of Duke spin-out companies by positioning them for equity investment
  2. Accelerate technology development to enable strategic industry partnerships
  3. Increase the odds of successful commercialization by combining the scientific rigor of academic inventors with the expertise of seasoned product development mentors
  4. Provide a blueprint for the commercialization of innovative technologies, and disseminate and export this model to other institutions


A selected start-up enters into an up to 11-month license agreement with an option to renew for up to a total of three years.

The current cycle is January 1 to November 30, 2020.

Companies need to commit to at least one cubicle in the cubicle area.

Occupancy cost is $121.25/linear foot of bench space and $248 per cubicle, paid monthly.

This fee includes access to:

  • Common lab spaces: shared benches, chemical fume hoods, and a cell culture room.
  • Common BRiDGE lab equipment: refrigerators, freezers, 3D printer, incubators and shakers, centrifuges, biosafety cabinet, microscopes, centrifuges, nanodrop, PCR machine, gel doc imager, water bath, microplate reader, Microfluidizer, DI water supply, pH meter, fume hoods, etc.
  • Conference rooms: available for booking
  • Building amenities: autoclave, glasswasher, cold room, WiFi, paid parking
  • A laboratory administrator for leasing support and ordering common supplies

Company founders who are Duke staff will sponsor non-Duke staff as Duke affiliates so that they may obtain Duke ID cards and secure short-term parking in the lot at 704 West Pettigrew Street, Durham.

Renewal will be subject to an evaluation at the end of each occupancy term. Factors to be considered in renewal include:

  1. Progress towards technological and commercial milestones
  2. Follow-on funding


  • Applicants must be startup founders. Founders include holders of common stock issued prior to licensing (i.e., founder’s stock) reflecting their contribution to the invention or any named contributor on an IDF licensed to the company. Employees of a company who have been or will be granted stock compensation as part of their employment must meet the prior criterion in order to be considered founders.
  • Applicant must be the Start-up founder who satisfies one of the following requirements:
    • Duke faculty
    • Post-doctoral fellow
    • Graduate or undergraduate student
    • Duke alumnus/alumnae
  • Established company
  • A license or option from Duke, or proof of ongoing negotiations
  • Proof of funding to cover occupancy costs (i.e., VC/angel investment, awarded grant or with fundable score)
  • Proof of liability and workers compensation insurance

Review Criteria

BRiDGE Steering Committee will review applications, and the progress made by current members of BRiDGE towards milestones, and will make decisions on renewal or, if necessary, termination of Start-ups from BRiDGE.

The Steering Committee will consider the following criteria when reviewing and scoring applications:

  • Significance: Scale of the market need to be addressed, and competitive advantage
  • Feasibility: Defined and achievable milestones, and availability of funds to pay occupancy costs (i.e. through SBIR/STTR grants, North Carolina Biotechnology Center grants or loans, and/or angel/VC funding).
  • Quality of the team and external validation through SBIR/STTR grants, and/or equity investments, and/or strategic partnerships
  • Translational potential: Stage of development, IP status, license/option, etc.

How to Apply

  1. Visit
  2. Click “Create New User” or login to your existing account
  3. Enter access code bridge
  4. Select BRiDGE ALL cycle 3_2020
  5. Follow system instructions

Important Notes

Application Requirements

1. Company information: name, date incorporated, founders, leadership team, primary contact

2. Applicant name, contact information, and affiliation (applicant should be the founder)

3. Information for team moving physically to BRiDGE: name, email, employer, position, role in the company

4. Financial manager: name, contact information

5. Intellectual property status: IDFs, patents, license agreements or options

6. Sources of funding: ongoing, and planned/pending

7. Regulatory information: IRB, IND/IDE, IACUC

8. The application consists of the following sections:

     A. Technology description (1 page), classification, and stage of development

     B. Quarterly milestones and timeline (1 page)

     C. NIH biosketches for all founders. See NIH guidelines for formatting »

9. Anticipated needs: term of occupancy, bench, cubicles.

Contact Information

General questions not answered in the RFA about the proposals and the review process should be addressed to before submission.

For My Research Proposal questions, please contact Anita Brantley: 919- 668-4774 or