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Center for Citizenship & Social Justice

Community-Based Research Grants

Program Guidelines

The Community-based Research (CBR) Grants program provides up to $1,000 for faculty and community partners to implement projects that address social issues locally and abroad.


The Community-based Research Grants program goals include:

  • Stimulating engagement and partnership efforts between the University and broader community;
  • Addressing a wide variety of community issues and priorities;
  • Identifying, connecting and sustaining university and community assets;
  • Facilitating empowering and sustainable solutions for public problems;
  • Increasing the scope of public scholarship and learning opportunities for faculty at WKU.

 Statement of Eligibility

Faculty or members of the community can initiate projects, however, a WKU employee must serve as the principal investigator. Funds may be used for WKU personnel costs (staff/student stipends, etc.) and project expenses. WKU state discretionary spending policies apply. Ability to demonstrate matching funds and/or in-kind support is encouraged. Interdisciplinary projects are also encouraged.

If you are planning to submit a community-based research proposal and would like to consult prior to submitting the application materials, please contact Leah Ashwill, Director, WKU Center for Citizenship & Social Justice, at 270-745-3217 or leah.ashwill@wku.edu.

Click HERE for the application

Application Deadline for 2017-18:  February 2, 2018

Applications should be submitted in PDF format to leah.ashwill@wku.edu by 11:59pm on February 2, 2018. 

Required Criteria

1. Community Partner

The community constituent will:

  • Bring needs and assets to the partnership
  • Be active in developing project idea, planning, setting goals/outcomes, determining use of funds, implementing project, evaluating, and reporting

2. WKU Ethos

  • Partnerships will align with WKU mission, vision, and strategic goals

3. Sustainability

Projects will:

  • Prioritize long-term benefit or impact
  • Identify underlying systemic issues and processes that contribute to the project focus
  • Improve a community’s capacity towards self-sufficiency
  • Discuss potential for replicable outcomes (where appropriate)

4. Assessment process

Projects will:

  • Have clear, measurable project outcomes
  • Include an evaluation mechanism 


Application Description (UP TO $1,000)

Community-based research grants support community-based research (CBR) projects that benefit the community in effective and significant ways, while furthering scholarly knowledge and academic impact.

The community-based research model is the preferred approach for CBR grant research projects. Community-based research (CBR) involves all partners in each phase of the research process and recognizes the unique strengths that each partner brings to the project. Participatory or collaborative community-based research takes place within the community and in collaboration with community partners who participate in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of the project. Ideally, CBR involves all partners in the research process from beginning to end, but the realities of work in the field show that negotiated participation, as part of the collaboration process, can produce variation in intensity or participation. Community partners can be established organizations, informal community groups, or individuals from the community. Rather than a one-way relationship in which the researcher holds all the knowledge and power and is perceived as having more expertise than community members, community-based research is a two-way relationship in which community knowledge is sought, appreciated, and valued.


The WKU Center for Citizenship & Social Justice awards community-based research grants for projects that include efforts to:

1. Build upon community strengths, to identify community assets and to empower community members as a byproduct of the research process,

2. Focus, generally, on meeting information and analytical needs of society's most economically, politically, and socially marginalized groups and communities,

3. Actively involve community partners as co-investigators on an equal basis with university-trained scholars (and students) in each step of the research,

4. Disseminate results and findings in multiple ways, for example, through academic journals, popular press, community meetings, foundation reports and publications, university and community forums.




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 Last Modified 12/5/18