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The Academy of Educators (AOE) seeks proposals from AOE members for educational research grants. Resident/ fellow members are encouraged to work with Faculty Primary Investigators (PIs) on proposals. We encourage proposals from individuals but will give preference to teams. Proposals must involve participants or curricula within the UNC School of Medicine. We will prioritize proposals that seem likely to yield publications and other methods of broad dissemination to the larger academic community. We will also give preference to interdepartmental or multi-institutional proposals. Awardees will be required to present their findings at an annual research event and provide verbal and/or written updates to the AOE Leadership Council. Awardees can submit proposals for projects requiring funding between $500 and $7000.

The AOE has two grant categories:  Educational Innovations and Educational Research.

Educational Innovations

Educational Innovation grants support the development of innovative educational CME, GME, UME, and other graduate programs within the SOM to fill curricular gaps through changes in delivery or methodology. Educational innovation grants can also support novel pilot programs in medical education. The Educational Innovations category is not intended to provide ongoing support for curriculum but rather to help create a proof of principle for educational interventions. This could include significant adaptations of teaching practices that warrant testing to determine if they would accelerate achievement, improve participation, or greatly increase the efficiency of an educational project or curricula. Educational innovations will be assessed on innovation, feasibility, cost-effectiveness, and the evaluation plan. Preference will be given to projects with evaluation plans, including retention or skill acquisition, over those focusing only on subjective measures such as learner comfort or perception of improvement.

Educational Research

Educational Research grants include evaluation of the transfer or acquisition of knowledge, attitudes, or skills relevant to CME, GME, UME, and other graduate programs within the SOM. Educational Research grants can address contemporary issues and questions in medical education and/or assess and reform the culture of medical education. The Educational Research grants can investigate the impact on patient care outcomes. In thinking of medical education as a complex ecosystem, factors that can be studied include curriculum design, instructional format, learning delivery models, faculty selection and efficacy, learning environment, and culture. Educational Research grants will be assessed on research design and methodology, feasibility, and cost-effectiveness. As such, metrics that focus on objective measures of success, such as improvement in skill acquisition or retention, must be included as a part of the data collected. Projects that focus solely on subjective measures such as learner comfort or perception of improvement will not be funded.

Application & Review Process:

The AOE will convene a grant review sub-committee, and it will evaluate letters of intent and full applications for significance, appropriateness of research strategy, and likelihood of success.

The sub-committee may ask award recipients to modify their proposals or research questions or to work with other award recipients on joint projects. If we make such requests, we will do so in the spirit of collaboration with the goal of generating the most valuable work for all stakeholders.

The AOE strongly encourages applicants to form multidisciplinary teams of faculty who can bring different strengths to the application, such that each application benefits from synergy.


We anticipate awarding the grants no later than mid-April of 2024 (see “important dates” below). The project should be completed and reported by April 1, 2025, so applicants should develop practical, modest, doable projects that can be finished quickly.

Award Period:

One calendar year

Important dates:

January 2, 2024: Release of RFP

February 2, 2024: Letters of intent due

Beginning of March 2024: The Review Committee will notify top applicants and request full proposals

March 31st, 2024: Full proposals due (no extensions or exceptions)

Mid-April 2024: Awards announced

Recipients of the grant will be responsible for a midterm report in December 2024, presenting their work in poster version at the May 2025 Evening of Scholarship and as a short oral presentation at an AOE session scheduled between June and August 2025.

Application Format:

  • The Letter of Intent (LoI) should be:
    • 1-2 pages (references and budget not included in page count)
    • Single-spaced
    • Arial font, size 11

    The Letter of Intent should include:

    • Title of project
    • Team members
    • Category of project (Innovation versus Research)
    • Review of literature and background info
    • Study objectives and research question/hypothesis
    • Methods
    • Anticipated outcomes/products
    • A rough ballpark budget amount
    • References

    Full Applications (by invitation only, after evaluation of the LoIs) should be:

    • Limited to 5 pages
    • Single spaced
    • Arial font, size 11

    Full Applications should include:

    • Abstract (150 words; does not count in page total)
    • Relevant qualifications and experience of the research team (150 words; does not count in page total)
    • Introduction of the topic, research question, and specific aims
    • What the research will produce (be clear about products)
    • Methods (describe fully, such that review team can clearly identify your team’s strengths and capacities)
    • Analysis and reporting plan (include publication plans)
    • References (does not count in page total)
    • Itemized budget and budget justification (does not count in page total)

    *Note – Full Applications should address feedback provided by the review committee during the Letter of Intent stage

Funding Restrictions:

The entire budget must be devoted to actual research expenses. No PI or Co-I salary support is allowable, although proposers could ask to fund a research assistant or project manager. We cannot allow support for travel to meetings, the purchase of equipment (except for equipment dedicated to the research project), or office supplies, or anything other than any costs truly necessary to execute the research project. We encourage applicants to use the School’s and the University’s extant data-gathering resources and research tools.


LoI and the full proposal must be submitted to

Additional Resources:

Odum Institute


Sheps Center