Student Funding

Engaged Graduate Student Grants

Build research or scholarship that engages with communities


To enable Ph.D. students to initiate or build research or scholarship that is community-engaged, or to develop strategies for incorporating community engagement into existing research and scholarship.

In addition, proposals are welcomed that would develop or execute strategies for “Broader Impacts of the Proposed Work” of an NSF grant, a public engagement component of an NIH grant or work in the public humanities.

Engaged Graduate Student Grants are intended to support any of the following:

Research and scholarship with direct relevance to the doctoral dissertation

Additional training or supportive learning experiences that are relevant to community-engaged research or scholarship

Engaged Graduate Student Grants are not intended to support:

Course development

Undergraduate research

Supplement to exceed basic nine-month graduate stipend

New research initiatives for faculty members

Research that is not central to the dissertation


Individual Cornell Ph.D. students in any graduate field are eligible to apply.

Applicants must have registered their special committee chair with the Graduate School. Successful proposals will have direct oversight by the special committee chair or be endorsed by the chair with an alternate committee member identified as partner with the student, as is appropriate to the discipline.

Collaborating Ph.D. students need to submit separate applications that use the proposal narrative to highlight the partnership.


Awards will be up to $15,000.

Grant awards have a one-year duration and are not renewable. Funds will be transferred to a dedicated account assigned to the special committee chair.

Grant awards are intended to provide additional resources to advance dissertation-related research and scholarship, or may be used to support additional training or supportive learning experiences that are relevant to community-engaged research or scholarship. Awards are not intended to replace graduate students’ primary funding.

Expectations and Deliverables

  1. Students and special committee chairs will join a university-wide cohort of grantees and will participate in at least one discussion per semester with the cohort. These meetings will be convened and facilitated by the Office of Engagement Initiatives and will provide an opportunity to share learning and experiences, identify foundational knowledge that would be useful to others pursuing community-engaged graduate work, identify challenges to graduate study involving community engagement and other matters of interest. Other opportunities will be offered to students throughout the year.
  2. Students will seek and secure opportunities to publish and present findings at conferences.
  3. A final report, on a template provided by the Office of Engagement Initiatives, will be due within two months of the termination of the grant.


Prospective applicants are encouraged to consult with the Office of Engagement Initiatives at any time during the application process.

Call for Proposals
Sept. 2017
Application Deadline
Feb. 2, 2018
Notification of Awards Mid-March 2018
Earliest Start Date for Approved Awards
Early April 2018


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

  1. Project title
  2. Names of applicant and special committee chair
  3. Names of graduate field, department and college of applicant and special committee chair
  4. Narrative bios, biosketches or CVs of applicant and special committee chair (two-page maximum per person)
  5. Letter of support from one referee that addresses the student’s potential for success in their field of study as well as the potential impact and significance of the community-engaged research proposed in the application. To maintain confidentiality, letters must be submitted by the referee directly to with the name of the applying student in the subject line. Submission deadlines will be enforced, so students are encouraged to give ample notification to their referee.
  6. Signature acknowledgement from the special committee chair and director of graduate studies (DGS)
  7. Community partner(s) information
  8. Letter(s) of collaboration from the community partner(s), including a résumé or LinkedIn profile of the key contact, description of the role that the partner expects to play in the collaboration and how they will interact with the student. If the original letter of collaboration is in a language other than English, please provide a translation.
  9. Abstract: executive summary of the project that describes its rationale, key features, goals and intended benefits to research/scholarship of the student and community partner(s)
  10. Narrative that includes description of:
    • objectives, project and timeline;
    • benefits to community partner(s);
    • the relationship of work to thesis research;
    • supplementary programming, trainings or coursework that prepare the student for community-based research (e.g., instruction in IRB processes, responsible conduct, relevant research methods, collaborative practices and ethics, (co)publication, data ownership and management or sharing products of the work);
    • plan for student to publish and/or present community-engaged research.
  11. Budget that outlines the student and community support costs (not to exceed $15,000 overall)
  12. Budget justification that is aligned directly with budget categories
  13. Statement regarding any other current or pending grant applications, or funding sources that support the student’s a) dissertation travel, b) research funding and/or c) stipend


A detailed budget and narrative justification must be submitted with the application.

Applicants should make their case for the use of funds most appropriate to their need.

Allowable Expenses

Potential uses of grant funds include:

  • partial or summer stipend and tuition for the graduate student;
  • student insurance;
  • support for the student’s project;
  • support for presentation or publication of findings; and/or
  • to support participation of the community partner(s).
Unallowable Expenses
  • overhead or indirect costs (IDC)
  • salary for faculty
  • external consultant fees
  • speaker or speaker series travel, fees, honoraria
  • capital projects
  • equipment (refer to Appendix B in the University’s Capital Assets policy.)
  • supplement to exceed basic nine-month graduate stipend
No-cost Extensions

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

Selection Criteria

Proposals will be evaluated by a committee comprised of members of the graduate faculty and staff from the Office of Engagement Initiatives. Applications will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • qualifications and potential of the graduate student for success in Ph.D.-level scholarship and research;
  • likelihood that the project will contribute substantially to the academic and career trajectory of the applicant;
  • 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;
  • clear understanding of the intersection of community engagement with knowledge creation that is particular to the applicants’ field(s) of study;
  • merit and soundness of the project plan, including aims, timeline and work proposed;
  • strength of supplementary programming, trainings, coursework and plan for student to publish and/or present their work;
  • quality of letters of reference.

Previous Recipients

Questions about your project?

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


Phone: (607) 254-4240

All other Student Funding