Faculty Funding

Grants for Faculty Research on Engagement

Researching why community engagement matters


Grants for Faculty Research on Engagement incentivize faculty inquiry into the impact of community-engaged teaching, learning and research, including student learning outcomes, community benefits, instructional innovation, policy change and more.

The proposed research should be relevant to the applicants’ field(s) of study and contribute to the evidence base for the impact of community-engaged approaches. The Office of Engagement Initiatives welcomes programs of nascent inquiry, novel research or the deepening of existing theories that are team-based, collaborative and/or cross-disciplinary.

Grants for Faculty Research on Engagement are intended to support any of the following:

Research projects that aim to advance understanding of the impact of community-engaged learning, teaching and research on students, partners, staff, faculty and/or society

Research that contributes to policy change, advocacy or dialogue that impacts higher education, workforce development or K-12

Infrastructural projects (e.g. improving data collection, system interfaces) at Cornell that will enable the types of research described above

For examples of studies that address these various elements of research on community engagement, please refer to the journals and past recipient information posted below:

Grants for Faculty Research on Engagement are not intended to support:

Development of courses or curricula

If you’re developing a community-engaged curriculum, check out the Engaged Curriculum Grants.


Cornell researchers and scholars (faculty of any rank) in any field of study may submit proposals.

Researchers and scholars appointed in centers, institutes, programs, extension divisions, museums and laboratories on any Cornell 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.


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

Grants 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.

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

At the end of the approved grant period, grantholders will return remaining funds to the Office of Engagement Initiatives.

Expectations and Deliverables

  1. Grantholders will submit a report that summarizes progress in achieving the aims of the research project, including scholarly publications, other grants or reports (including links or electronic copies when applicable). Financial reporting is required.
  2. Grantees will provide documentation and evaluation of the partnership, including community partner voice and feedback. Grantees may use a Partnership Assessment Tool of their own devising or one of those provided by the Office of Engagement Initiatives.
  3. Faculty participants will be invited to participate in events hosted by the Office of Engagement Initiatives.


The application is currently closed. For updates on the application process, check back here periodically or subscribe to our email update.


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

  1. Project 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. Succinct summary, to be shared publicly, describing the project context, public purpose and what the project team will be doing
  7. Abstract: executive summary of the proposal that describes the goals; specific aims and approach; potential benefit of findings to student learning and well-being, faculty research/scholarship, and/or communities
  8. Narrative that includes:
    • long-term goal(s) for the research;
    • specific aims for the project;
    • approach and methods that will address these aims;
    • the audiences for whom the research is most releveant;
    • relevance of research to community engagement in the Cornell environment and beyond (i.e., scholarship in the disciplines, profession, higher education);
    • plan for publishing and disseminating findings;
    • description of roles and contributions of collaborators on the project.
  9. Ethical considerations. Researchers should consult Cornell’s IRB regarding required approvals to study human subjects, as IRB approvals or exemptions must be obtained before funds will be transferred
  10. Budget and budget justification must align directly with the budget categories listed in the online application form


We encourage applicants to work with their department’s business administrator or budget director in the development of their proposal budget.

Allowable Expenses
  • Logistical support:
    • travel, meals and lodging associated with research conducted off campus;
    • direct costs incurred while conducting research (e.g., software, data acquisition, lab materials);
    • participation in conferences, workshops or seminars;
    • costs of publication and other information outreach.
  • Salary support:
    • support for staff functions (e.g., administrative and clerical services) that are essential to the operation and execution of the research;
    • wages or salaries for undergraduate or graduate students or post-docs. Information about Cornell student employment and federal work-study is available at studentemployment.cornell.edu/policies
  • Community partner support:
    • Budget relief or expenses incurred by community partners that facilitate their participation in the research.
Unallowable Expenses*
  • overhead and indirect costs (IDC);
  • tuition;
  • salary for T/TT faculty named on application;
  • salary for consultants;
  • post-graduation wages or travel costs for students;
  • capital projects;
  • equipment over $5,000 (refer to Appendix B in the university’s Capital Assets policy), unless properly justified as being critical to the sustainability of the research.

* Projects proposing student travel to a country determined to be an “elevated risk destination” by the International Travel Advisory and Response Team (ITART), must obtain ITART pre-travel approval per Policy 8.5. Contact intlsafety@cornell.edu.

Selection Criteria

Proposals will be peer reviewed and selections made by the leadership of the Office of Engagement Initiatives. 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 university environment
  3. Scholarly 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 seeks to reach and influence colleagues in the researchers’ discipline, as well as in the field of community engagement

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