RTI's History

Founded in 1958—with support from North Carolina government, education, and business leaders—RTI maintains close ties with Duke University, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, North Carolina Central University, North Carolina State University, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and other institutions.


RTI is committing $5 million in initial funding. Partners are committed to investing additional funds to help build and scale the selected program area(s).

Key Dates

Thursday, April 8, 2021Due date for EOI
Wednesday, September 8, 2021Due date for invited full proposals
TBDFinal oral presentations
TBDFunding begins

Application Process

To help identify bold ideas that have the potential to meaningfully impact critical societal issues, this challenge is structured as a three-step process that includes (1) an EOI intended to crowd-source innovative ideas, (2) selection of applicants invited to submit full proposals, and (3) a final oral presentation round. This challenge also draws on our region’s intellectual and material resources.

Applicants can fully construct their regional teams in Step 1, if they already have a multi-institutional collaborative group. Alternatively, for sufficiently compelling ideas selected to advance to Step 2, members of the URCC and designees listed in the Inquiries section will draw directly from their institutional knowledge to help researchers at RTI and universities network with each other.

This portal will be updated with instructions for each step of the process.

1. Expression of Interest (EOI)

Upload an EOI that is no more than two pages for electronic submission to the application portal on or before Thursday, April 8, 2021.

  • Nonstudent researchers affiliated with any of the following institutions are eligible to be principal investigators (PIs): RTI, Duke University, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, North Carolina Central University, North Carolina State University, and The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
  • The EOI should provide a title and description of the proposed bold, visionary project—as well as a discussion of the project’s potential impact on societal issues and the national science and technology enterprise.
  • The EOI should cite evidence that the area PI(s) has/have current and/or prior relevant experience as a researcher and collaborator.
  • There is no budget requirement for the EOI.
  • Along with the EOI, submit each PI's curriculum vitae (CV) as a PDF. (Please combine the EOI and CV into a single PDF file.)

Thank you for your interest in Forethought. The EOI stage has closed.
We will continue to update the portal with information about the next step in the process.

2. Strengthening Ideas, Forming Multi-Institutional Teams, and Building Budgets

Teams invited to this round have an opportunity to explain in detail how their project provides a feasible pathway for our region to command an important emerging field and build a multilateral team as they strengthen ideas, form multi-institutional teams, and begin building budgets. The team will include participation from RTI International and at least three additional Forethought institutions (Duke University, North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University, North Carolina Central University, North Carolina State University, or University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill).

Teams must submit their Full Proposals using the Forethought Proposal and Budget Template. The template will include specific questions to which teams must respond. Full proposals (including budget templates) must be saved as a PDF (no larger than 30MB) and submitted via the Forethought Portal (see below).  

Download the Forethought:


Thank you for your continued interest in Forethought. The Full Proposal stage has closed. Please continue to refer back to this portal for updates.

3. Final Oral Presentations

Additional details will follow. Invited teams should include significant representation from RTI and at least three of the following institutions:

  • Duke University
  • North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University
  • North Carolina Central University
  • North Carolina State University
  • The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


Specific questions regarding this opportunity may be directed to the following individuals:

RTI International | Dr. Jacqueline M. Olich, Vice President, University Collaborations

Duke | Dr. Krishna Udayakumar, Associate Professor, Global Health and Medicine and Director, Duke Global Health Innovation Center

North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University | Dr. Sanjiv Sarin, Director, University Collaborations and Corporation Partnerships and Professor, Industrial and Systems Engineering

North Carolina Central University | Dr. Michael Page, Director, External Affairs

North Carolina State University | Dr. Mark Schmidt, Associate Vice Chancellor, Partnerships

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill | Don Hobart, Associate Vice Chancellor for Research