Faculty Funding

Engaged Undergraduate Research Grants

Enhance student discovery and learning through community-engaged research

What’s New This Year

  • Proposals are accepted for both emerging and established community-engaged research or scholarship programs
  • Applications no longer require dean’s signature
  • Selection committee will now consider opportunities that include undergraduates in all phases of community-engaged research and scholarship
  • Selection committee will now consider opportunities to involve community partners in more traditional undergraduate research


When undergraduates do traditional research, they discover new ways of thinking, learning and working with faculty and fellow students. By creating new opportunities or expanding the number of students involved in existing research that is community-engaged, Engaged Undergraduate Research Grants further enhance the student experience and its potential impact on partners and their communities.

Engaged Undergraduate Research Grants are intended to support:

Pathways for undergraduate students to be involved in the development of new community-engaged research strategies, planning and implementation

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 to address issues of public concern

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

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

Opportunities that promote access to all stages of community-engaged research for all Cornell undergraduates

Engaged Undergraduate Research Grants are not intended to support:

Investigators/scholars working with an individual student


Proposals may be submitted by active Cornell researchers (faculty of any rank) with emerging or 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.

Funding and Benefits

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.

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.

Participating undergraduates will be invited by OEI to join student-focused trainings and workshops to receive guidance on community-engaged research methodologies, principles and practices.

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. Annual progress reports are required to incorporate 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Financial reporting will be required as part of the annual renewal report.


Application Submission and Notification

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 via the online application form.

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

  1. Program title
  2. Succinct summary, to be shared publicly, describing the project context, public purpose, and what the project team will be doing
  3. 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)
  4. Names of team members and their department(s), programs and college(s)
  5. Narrative bios or CVs of investigators/scholars comprising the team
  6. Signature endorsements from chair or supervisor of the lead scholar/investigator
  7. Identity of community partner(s)
  8. 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 (for sample community partnership agreements that can help clarify this process, email the Office of Engagement Initiatives)
  9. 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 (e.g., for-credit course, 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 practices that sustain students’ critical reflection 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, as appropriate.
  10. Budget and budget justification aligned directly with the budget categories listed in the application

Renewals – for current Engaged Undergraduate Research Grant recipients

For programs currently funded by an Engaged Undergraduate Research Grant, applicants will submit a renewal report 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 about Cornell student employment and federal work-study is available at studentemployment.cornell.edu/policies.
  • Staff support:
    • functions that are essential to the operation and execution of the proposed student research opportunities
  • Community partner support:
    • expenses incurred by community partners that are directly related to their participation in the student research experience and that support community partner capacity to effectively partner in and maximize the benefit of community-engaged research.

* While this mechanism is intended to support 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 T/TT faculty team members;
  • post-graduation wages or travel costs for student;
  • 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.

Selection Criteria

Applications will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  1. Strength of the research/scholarship environment(s) in which undergraduates will work, including the existing research/scholarship program and the planned student-focused activity(ies)
  2. Clear collaborative role of community partner(s) and undergraduates in the research
  3. Description of the intended benefits of the research to the community(ies) of interest
  4. Strategy for assessing learning outcomes for students and impacts for community members
  5. Number of students expected to participate in the research, including strategy for inclusion and access to this opportunity
  6. Strength of supplementary programming, trainings, coursework and opportunities for students to publish and/or present findings/scholarship
  7. Feasibility that the community-engagement opportunity for students can be sustained 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