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  Cornell University

Request for Proposal (RFP) 2017

The 2017 application deadline has passed. Grant award notifications will be sent March 16, 2017.

Download a PDF of this page here (right mouseclick link and choose “save as” to save to your computer).

Engaged Research Grants for Faculty were explained at a recent information session. Watch below or on CornellCast.


To support faculty-led research on topics relevant to the program and mission of Engaged Cornell.

Community-engaged learning and research is a strategic priority of the university, founded on collaborative and reciprocally beneficial relationships with partners/communities (see Definitions). Through a concerted set of activities, Cornell continues its 150-year history of creating knowledge with a public purpose and renews its focus on preparing students to become citizens who enrich communities throughout the world.

This RFP aims to incentivize faculty inquiry into interactions between community engagement and a variety of issues relevant to educators and to society, for example, the influence of community-engaged learning opportunities on behavior, learning, quality of life, social identity, and participation in society, among many others.

Successful applications will propose to create knowledge that informs university academic programs and decision making. The proposed research program should be relevant to the applicants’ field(s) of study and contribute to the quality of Cornell’s actions, policies, and programs. The Office of Engagement Initiatives welcomes novel research initiatives and also projects that are team-based, collaborative, and/or cross-disciplinary.

Engaged Research Grants for Faculty are intended to support:

  • research projects that aim to advance understanding of the impact of community-engaged learning, teaching, and research on students, community partners, staff and/or faculty;
  • infrastructural projects (e.g. improving data collection, system interfaces) at Cornell that will enable the types of research described above;
  • informal seminar or meeting opportunities for faculty scholars and researchers to discuss shared interests and plan research projects on these issues.

Engaged Research Grants for Faculty are not intended to support development of courses or curriculum. Opportunities for other types of funding are described on this page.


Proposals may be submitted by researchers and scholars (faculty or academic staff) in any field of study.

Researchers and scholars appointed in centers, institutes, programs, extension divisions, museums, and laboratories of any Cornell University campus may participate, or lead, provided that necessary support for their research or scholarship is available.

Applications that involve multiple researchers/scholars, junior faculty participants, and/or collaboration across units are encouraged.


It is expected that the level and type of funding needed to support research or scholarship varies dramatically across disciplines. All applications require a strong rationale and justification for the budget requested.

Grants for infrastructural work or for specific projects will not exceed $60,000 per program for one year, with opportunity for renewal for one additional year based on documentation of progress. Maximum $100,000 in total funding over two years.

Grants in support of informal seminar or meeting opportunities for faculty scholars and researchers and their invitees (e.g., visitors, staff, students, community partners) to discuss shared interests and plan research projects will not exceed $2,000 and will be limited to one year.


Prospective applicants are encouraged to consult the Office of Engagement Initiatives at any time and should use this contact form. Learn more about Engaged Research Grants for Faculty at an information session.


Proposals should describe the overarching goals of the research, the specific aims of the project, and the relevance of the aims to disciplinary knowledge and/or higher education and/or other public purposes. The proposal should also describe the methods and analytical approaches that are appropriate to achieve the aims and how they will be achieved. Finally, the proposal should describe the audiences for whom the research is most relevant and how the findings will be disseminated.


  1. Researchers should consult Cornell’s IRB regarding required approvals to study human subjects; ethical considerations should be described in the proposal and IRB approvals (if required) must be obtained before funds will be transferred.
  2. Faculty participants will share their work-in-progress with faculty and staff colleagues in an oral presentation as part of an annual symposium hosted by the Office of the Vice Provost.
  3. An annual report will summarize progress in achieving the aims of the research project, including scholarly publications, grants, or reports (including links or electronic copies when applicable). Financial reporting is required as part of the annual progress report.
  4. List of project-related briefings, newsletters, or press interviews related to the program in which faculty, staff, or students have participated.


Allowable Expenses

  • Logistical support for meetings or seminars:
    • travel, meals, lodging associated with research conducted off campus;
    • direct costs incurred while conducting research (e.g., software, data acquisition, lab materials);
    • participation in conferences or workshops;
    • costs of publication and other information outreach;
    • wages or salaries for undergraduate or graduate students or post-docs.
  • Staff support:
    • Support for staff functions (e.g., administrative and clerical services) that are essential to the operation and execution of the research;
    • staff must be existing and not newly hired for this purpose.
  • Community partner support:
    • Budget relief or expenses incurred by community partners that facilitate their participation in the research.

Information about Cornell student employment is available online at:

Unallowable Expenses

  • overhead and indirect costs (IDC);
  • tuition;
  • salary for team members (named on application);
  • salary for consultants;
  • capital projects;
  • equipment.

No-cost Extensions

Grant holders will have the opportunity to apply for a one-year, no-cost extension with justification.


Proposals will be peer reviewed. Applications will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  1. Clarity of the goals and specific aims of the research
  2. Relevance of the aims to community-engaged learning and research in the Cornell environment
  3. Scientific merit, feasibility, and/or innovativeness of the research approach and methods
  4. Experience and expertise of the investigators to carry out the research with the time and resources available
  5. Dissemination plan that is appropriate to the audiences for whom the research is most relevant


Note: The 2017 application deadline has passed.

Proposals must be submitted using online forms provided, and include the following information, within the space limits described on the form:

  1. Research title
  2. Names of research team members and their department(s) and college(s)
  3. Narrative bios or CVs of scholars/investigators comprising the team
  4. Signature endorsement(s) from department chair or director of the lead scholar/investigator
  5. If appropriate, identify and supply letter of collaboration from the community partner(s) describing the role that the partner expects to play in the collaboration
  6. Abstract/summary: executive summary of the proposal that describes the goals; specific aims and approach; and potential benefit of findings to student learning and well-being, faculty research/scholarship, and/or communities
  7. Narrative that includes:
  • long-term goal(s) for the research;
  • specific aims for the project;
  • approach and methods that will address these aims;
  • relevance of research to community engagement in the Cornell environment and beyond;
  • plan for publishing and disseminating findings;
  • description of roles and contributions of collaborators on the project.
  1. Researchers should consult Cornell’s IRB regarding required approvals to study human subjects; ethical considerations should be described in the proposal and IRB approvals or exemptions must be obtained before funds will be transferred
  2. Budget and budget justification aligned directly with the budget categories listed in the online forms