Faculty Funding

Undergraduate Engaged Research Grants

Enhance student discovery and learning through community-engaged research


When undergraduates do research, they discover new ways of thinking, learning and working with faculty and fellow students. By expanding the number of students involved in research that is community engaged, Undergraduate Engaged Research Grants further enhance the student experience and have a positive impact on partners and their communities.

Undergraduate Engaged Research Grants are intended to support:

Opportunities for undergraduate students to conduct community-engaged research with experienced researchers and scholars

Strong collaborative environments for students and opportunities for them to work in teams

Additional training or supportive learning experiences that are relevant to the research or scholarship

Research and scholarship environments that are highly likely to be sustained beyond the period of the funding

Opportunities that promote access for all Cornell undergraduates

Undergraduate Engaged Research Grants are not intended to support:

Investigators/scholars working with individual students

Graduate student research

For that, see Engaged Graduate Student Grants.

Activities that will be unsustainable beyond the period of the funding


Proposals may be submitted by active researchers (actively tenured/tenure-track faculty or academic staff) with established community-engaged research or scholarship in any field of study.

Researchers and scholars appointed in centers, institutes, programs, extension divisions, museums and laboratories at Cornell may participate, or lead, provided that necessary academic oversight of students is incorporated into the plan.

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


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

Grants will not exceed $25,000 per program for one year, with opportunity for renewal for one additional year based on documentation of progress. Maximum $40,000 in total funding over two years.

Grant holders will have the opportunity to apply for a one-year extension with justification. Any funds remaining at the end of the approved grant period will be returned to the Office of Engagement Initiatives.

Expectations and Deliverables

  1. Faculty participants will be convened once per academic year to share their work, experience and practices, and discuss approaches to overcoming challenges.
  2. Participating undergraduates will join one student-focused discussion and be expected to present their final product in a public forum of the faculty member’s choosing.
  3. Annual progress reports are required to incorporate narrative descriptions of student participation, student evaluations of their experiences, contributions of the community partner to the student research experience, as well as the benefit to the community partner and achievement of research and learning goals set by the applicants. Reports will summarize scholarly publications, other grants or reports that incorporate student contributions (including links or electronic copies when applicable) and will summarize presentations made by students supported by the program. Financial reporting will also be required as part of the annual renewal report.


Application Submission and Notification

Prospective applicants are encouraged to consult the Office of Engagement Initiatives at any time during the application process. Proposals — including applications for renewal — will be peer reviewed and selections made by the leadership of the Office of Engagement Initiatives.

Call for Proposals
Sept. 2018
Application Deadline
Jan. 21, 2019
Notification of Awards Late February/Early March 2019
Earliest Start Date for Approved Awards
Early April 2019


Proposals must be submitted via the online application form.

New applications will include the following, within the space limits described on the form:

  1. Program title
  2. Abstract: executive summary of the proposal that describes its rationale, key features, goals and intended benefits to students, faculty research/scholarship and community partner(s)
  3. Names of team members and their department(s), programs and college(s)
  4. Narrative bios or CVs of investigators/scholars comprising the team
  5. Signature endorsements from dean of the lead scholar/investigator
  6. Identity of community partner(s)
  7. Letter of collaboration from the community partner(s) describing the role that the partner expects to play in the collaboration, expected benefits and how they will interact with students
  8. Narrative that includes:
    • rationale for the configuration of the team, including roles of members;
    • target student population (class year(s), major(s)) and number of students anticipated for inclusion in the proposed program;
    • research program’s aims;
    • role the partner(s) play(s) in the research, the proposed role of partner(s) in the student research experience, and the expected benefit to the community(ies) and/or partner(s);
    • description of the student research experience and desired learning outcomes and level of achievement;
    • description of the vehicle for student research (i.e., for credit, work study, honors thesis, other), how access for all students will be promoted, and when the opportunity will be available (e.g., during the academic year, summer, or winter sessions, throughout the year, other);
    • description of programs, trainings, workshops or courses that prepare students for community-engaged research as well as practices that sustain their reflective process during the experience;
    • expectations for students to present or publish findings/scholarship;
    • plans for sustaining the community-engagement opportunity for students beyond any single cohort of students and beyond the period of the funding support.
  9. Budget and budget justification aligned directly with the budget categories listed in the application

Renewals – for current Undergraduate Engaged Research Grant recipients

For programs currently funded by an Undergraduate Engaged Research Grant, applicants will submit a renewal report (available here) which includes documentation of progress on the status of their current grant, in addition to anticipated funding needs.


Allowable Expenses

  • Student support:*
    • travel, meals and lodging associated with research conducted off campus;
    • direct costs incurred by students while conducting research;
    • participation in conferences, workshops;
    • costs of publication;
    • systems that support the student research experience (software, enrollment in online training, etc.);
    • wages for students (work study, other). Information and policies for student employment and federal work-study.
  • Staff support:
    • functions that are essential to the operation and execution of the proposed student research opportunities;
    • staff must be existing and not newly hired for this purpose.
  • Community partner support:
    • expenses incurred by community partners that are directly related to their participation in the student research experience.

* While this mechanism prioritizes the involvement of undergraduates, the inclusion of graduate students in a mentorship or supervisory role may be appropriate. Funding to support graduate student involvement will be considered with proper justification.

Unallowable Expenses

  • overhead and indirect costs (IDC);
  • tuition;
  • salary for team members (named on application);
  • salary for consultants;
  • capital projects;
  • equipment (refer to Appendix B in the University’s Capital Assets policy).

Selection Criteria

Applications will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  1. Strength of the research/scholarship environment(s) in which students will work, including the existing research/scholarship program and the planned student-focused activity(ies)
  2. Clear collaborative role of community partner(s) in the research and description of the intended benefits of the research to the community(ies) of interest
  3. Strategy for assessing learning outcomes for students and impacts for community members
  4. Number of students expected to participate in the research, including strategy for inclusion and access to this opportunity
  5. Strength of supplementary programming, trainings, coursework and opportunities for students to publish and/or present findings/scholarship
  6. Plan for sustaining the community-engagement opportunity for students beyond any single cohort of students and beyond the period of the funding support

Previous Recipients

Questions about your project?

Contact the Office of Engagement Initiatives. We’re here to help.

Email: engagedcornell@cornell.edu

Phone: (607) 254-4240