Open Source Innovation Grant

A grant opportunity supported by OSPRI in partnership with the Innovation Co-Lab to encourage open source . . . for good!

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Open Source at Duke

OSPRI (Open Source Pedagogy, Research + Innovation), a partnership between Duke University and Red Hat, is jointly housed in the Social Science Research Institute and the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative. Integrating open source principles and methodologies into teaching and learning, communicating, and creating within and beyond educational institutions, OSPRI is building a 21st century open learning ecosystem.

What Do You Mean Open Source “for Good”?

The goal of this grant is to encourage and support students who want to use the power of open source to make a positive impact on the world. Have an idea to improve education, help the environment, contribute to animal welfare, streamline civil services, or advance healthcare? If you want to use open source for good we want to help! And, instead of incentivizing action through challenges where the reward and adoption is never guaranteed, we want to work with you directly, one-on-one, to develop your project, from start to distribution.

To get a better idea of the kind of open source for good projects we fund, check out Duke eNable, who connect amputee patients in the Durham area with open source, 3D printed prosthetic devices, free of cost.

How this all works

Students with an idea will complete an application outlining a project that seeks to use the power of open source to make a positive impact on a social issue. This application will include details like project timeline, team members, resources required, technical/expert assistance required, as well as a stipend request. Stipends will be commensurate with project scope and complexity, experience, team size, materials cost and project duration. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis, and reviewed by the Co-Lab and OSPRI. After review, applications can either be accepted, returned for additional information or revisions, or declined.

On Acceptance

Once a project is accepted, the team member(s) will meet with representatives from the Co-Lab and OSPRI to establish a project plan at a Kickoff Meeting. Half of the stipend will be issued after the Kickoff Meeting and the initial timeline is confirmed (unless the full amount is going towards material costs, in which case the full amount will be released). We'll set up a regular schedule to meet throughout the project timeline.

Throughout the Project

The Co-Lab representative will serve as a Project Manager to the Team, and will have regular check-ins to review progress and address any issues that need to be resolved. We can provide consultation on your ideas, help wireframe or work through stumbling blocks, or seek additional advice or expertise from our colleagues. You'll also complete a few progress write-ups to keep a log of the project, including successes and roadblocks along the way. We'll post these on your team's project page.

Open Source Innovation Grant teams will receive mentorship from Red Hat, will have an opportunity to pitch an article idea about their project to editors at, and, if accepted, write and publish the article.

On Completion

On successful completion of the project, a final Wrap-Up Meeting will take place with the Co-Lab Project Manager (and any other Co-Lab representatives) and a representative from OSPRI for a product demo. After this meeting and successful demo, the second half of the stipend will be issued. The Co-Lab will then begin a concerted marketing effort with the team around the project to help drive adoption and/or awareness of the project, including, but not limited to, social media efforts, traditional advertising, policy revisions, and, if appropriate, a recommendation for inclusion in the official DukeMobile App. The project's files will all be posted on Duke's code repository, Gitlab. We may also hold Demo events once or twice a year to have you show off your work to an audience of peers, faculty, staff, and local entrepreneurs.

To Apply

The application must include the following:

  • Project Name
  • Description of Project, including the humanitarian issue it addresses
  • Listing of Team Members, as well as individual qualifications (see more info on team building below)
  • Intended Audience for project
  • Innovative Use of Technology
  • Humanitarian Benefit to the intended community
  • Project Timeline (see agile development info below
  • Technology resources required (including any that are not readily available)
  • Technical / Expert assistance required
  • Stipend Request
When You're Ready, Apply Here

Intellectual Property Implications

Students will retain ownership of their project, however, after the final project meeting and demonstration of the completed project, the students must post their completed project including code base and build files to Gitorious and share publicly. Software must be licensed under a license that complies with the Open Source Definition and any aspect of the project that is not software must be licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License or Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0 International License. All data that is the public domain must be clearly marked as public domain. Students may continue development beyond this point or use the project for commercial purposes outside of Duke, if applicable."

Building a Team

When building a team, it's important to consider the various kinds of expertise you'll need to complete the project. It's beneficial to have a group with complementary skill sets, including technical leads, design / UI leads, and a marketing and research representative. A well-rounded team, with well-defined skills and areas of expertise, is just as important as having a great idea for a project. We want to know that your group has the ability to produce, at a high level, your intended project. If you are looking for a specific team member with a certain set of skills, feel free to use our Facebook page, to put out a call for a partner to join your team. We can also assist you in finding someone if you need additional help. Just contact us at

Agile Development

While we encourage you to come up with a fairly rigorous timeline, we understand that software and product development rarely goes according to a strict schedule, from start to finish. In fact, we encourage you to take an agile approach to development, with adaptive planning, iterative development, and an ability to be flexible in the face of changes through the process. The weekly check-in meetings will serve to help evaluate checkpoints, but also to brainstorm and work through unforeseen issues in the development cycle.

Any other Questions?

If you have any questions, want help putting together an application, or just want to hash out some details, we'd be happy to help. Just contact us at

Join the Innovation Co-Lab to find out more about what we're up to, what events we have coming up, and how to access all of our technical resources.

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