2022 DHSA ‘Shark Tank’ Research Competition, Call for Abstracts

Delaware Health Sciences Alliance (DHSA) is seeking population health research proposals from students, faculty, or staff affiliated with any of DHSA’s member institutions. This is a “shark tank” type event with real-time presentations, judging and awards!

This year, proposals are requested to have a population health focus on health disparities. Proposals may address any area of population health related to or impacting health disparities, including but not limited to social determinants of health, environmental health, behavioral and mental health as related to or impacting the priorities outlined below:

  • Health disparities in Latinx and/or minority populations
  • Healthcare workforce
    • Nursing
    • Allied health
  • Innovations in medical education
  • Areas of priority for Delaware population health
    • Substance use disorder
    • Cancer disparities
    • Heart and vascular
    • Maternal child health

The deadline to submit proposals is Sunday, September 18 at 11:59 p.m. Proposals submitted after the deadline will not be considered. The researcher(s) with the highest score will receive a check for $50,000 to fund their proposal.
Please submit all proposals and questions to Pamela Gardner, DHSA Lead Program Manager.


The DHSA Research Competition was established in 2019 to foster collaboration between colleagues at their partner institutions. DHSA favors projects in population health, including topical areas of interest described above, and encourages multidisciplinary collaborators with strong community engagement.

DHSA was established in 2009 with four founding partners – ChristianaCare, Nemours Children’s Hospital, Delaware, Thomas Jefferson University, and the University of Delaware. Since the, additional partners have joined including the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Bayhealth, the Delaware Academy of Medicine/Delaware Public Health Association, Beebe Healthcare, Delaware State University and Delaware Technical Community College.

DHSA aligns resources and efforts to create a unique, broad-based alliance, focused on establishing innovative collaboration among experts in medical practice, health economics and policy, population sciences, public health, biomedical sciences and engineering, research, medical education, and healthcare workforce development.

The alliance enables partner organizations to collaborate and conduct cutting-edge research, to improve the health of Delawareans through access to services in the state and region, and to educate the next generation of health care professionals.

In 2019, the Delaware Health Sciences Alliance (DHSA) launched its first annual Research Competition in ‘shark tank’ format, awarding a $50,000 grant to the winner.

Proposals must include:

  • Researcher’s Name(s)
  • Structured Abstract, including the overall research plan, innovative aspect of the proposal, budget, and budget justification. Salary and indirect expenses are not allowable.
  • Proposed partnership with at least two of DHSA’s partner organizations.
    • Applicant cannot include only one researcher who spans multiple DHSA organizations, there must be a minimum of two researchers from 2 or more DHSA organizations to ensure collaboration.
    • Each DHSA member institution on proposal must have an independent established P.I.
  • A letter of support from each applicant’s Department chair or institutional leaders, such as VP of Research or VP of Academic Affairs (or equivalent) is expected. The letter should address the institution’s interest in collaborating across the DHSA and in supporting the applicant(s) in their work.
  • Proposals must prioritize impact on Delaware populations.

Review Process:

  • All proposals will be vetted by a review committee.
  • The top three scoring proposals will be invited to the final, in-person presentation and pitch to the DHSA panel in the Fall.
    • Date, location and format of the event is to be announced.
    • Finalists will have fifteen minutes to verbally pitch their proposal and the panel (along with community members) will have time allotted to ask questions.
    • It is expected that teams will be present for the entire event.
    • A rubric will be utilized by the panel and a numerical score will be given to each proposal.
    • The researchers with the highest score will be announced the winner and will recieve a $50,000 grant to fund their proposal and work.

In the event initial proposal scores are too close to determine the top three finalists, teams may be requested to give a brief presentation virtually to determine teams advancing to finals.

DHSA reserves the right to evaluate the final project and timeline 1 year after awarding funds. If funds have not been utilized after 12 months, upon review, DHSA will either grant an extension of time or require unused funds be returned to DHSA.

If you have any questions about the event, please contact Pamela Gardner, DHSA Lead Program Manager.

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