Community-Engaged Research Grants—Social Impact Collaboratives

A UCLA Strategic Plan Grant Program

To achieve the UCLA Strategic Plan’s goal to deepen UCLA’s engagement with Los Angeles and enhance our research and creative activities, the UCLA Office of Research and Creative Activities and the UCLA Center for Community Engagement are pleased to announce the availability of funding to support Social Impact Collaboratives—new mechanisms for supporting interdisciplinary community-engaged research and creative activities with a focus on working with Los Angeles stakeholders. In particular, Social Impact Collaboratives will co-create knowledge and collaborate on the dissemination and application of their research and creative activities to further equity-achieving social impact in Los Angeles. For the current year, “exploratory” funding will be available to support building new relationships both on campus and with community partners. We anticipate awarding between 5 to 10 grants in our inaugural funding cycle. As of next academic year, 2024-2025, funding will be available for exploratory grants, seed grants, and fully-operational Social Impact Collaboratives.

Purpose and Goals

This funding is designed to address two goals to advance community-engaged research:

    1. Stimulate New Interdisciplinary Community-Engaged Research: To deepen UCLA’s engagement with Los Angeles to support social equity and impact, we seek to move beyond funding more individual research projects and instead support interdisciplinary community-engaged collaborations that can help address persistent equity issues in meaningful and innovative ways. Research collaborations are inherently challenging, whether across departments, divisions or schools due to different disciplinary paradigms, funding limitations, and limited capacity. In addition, interdisciplinary research that centers community needs takes intentionality and time to cultivate relationships with community partners and balance multiple desires and needs.
    2. Incubate Extramural Support: Establishing teams of researchers addressing equity issues in Los Angeles will position faculty, staff, and students with community partners to be competitive for extramural funding, especially for complex funding opportunities through public agencies or foundations. When new calls for proposals are released or when donors and funders approach UCLA, such collaboratives can be positioned to quickly respond to such opportunities.

This funding program seeks to support groups of faculty from different departments, divisions, or schools who want to collaborate on research by partnering with Los Angeles stakeholders to advance equity-achieving social impact work.  We invite collaborative groups to submit proposals that:

    • Support interdisciplinary work across multiple units at UCLA
    • Address a social equity issue in the city or county of Los Angeles
    • Support building or strengthening a sustained relationship with a community partner(s) in Los Angeles
    • Support research and/or creative activities that are mutually constructed and beneficial both for the UCLA researchers and community partners

Shared Learning Among All Participating Social Impact Collaboratives

Faculty representing all funded Social Impact Collaboratives will convene regularly in one broader learning community to:

    • Explore points of convergence across research and creative activities on equity issues in Los Angeles
    • Exchange learning and incorporate best practices on building and sustaining collaborative, interdisciplinary, community-engaged research teams
    • Provide professional development opportunities in such areas as strategic communications and fund development
    • Develop metrics for evaluation of impact

UCLA Downtown 

Funded Social Impact Collaboratives will be encouraged to apply for use of space in the new UCLA Downtown facility at the Trust Building if the downtown location would enhance your access and engagement with community partners and the broader public.

Social Impact Collaborative Grant Information

For more information about the grant, we invite you to explore our website including the following sections:

FUNDING CATEGORIES

Starting immediately, this grant program will fund: 

    • Social Impact Collaborative Exploratory Grants (up to $10,000): This grant focuses on initial relationship building for starting a new collaborative team. See more details below. 

Starting in the 2024-25 academic year, these two additional funding categories will be available, along with ongoing funding for exploratory grants:

    • Social Impact Collaborative Seed Grant (up to $50,000): This grant will support a newly formed or existing interdisciplinary group working with a Los Angeles community partner(s) on an equity-advancing topic to conduct early-stage research and/or creative activity. Seed grants provide an opportunity to test how the research/creative activity collaboration contributes to a theory of change to address the equity issue. 
    • Social Impact Collaborative Full Grant (up to $250,000): This grant will support an interdisciplinary group with a demonstrated track record of work with a Los Angeles community partner(s) on an equity-advancing topic to conduct advanced research and/or creative activity. Proposals at this level have successfully completed one or more research projects or creative activities together, and now seek to expand their scope or scale of work, add new partners, or add a new dimension to their collaborative efforts. At this stage, social impact collaboratives must be able to articulate how the research/creative activity collaboration contributes to a theory of change to address the equity issue. 

Successful grant applicants from this round of funding will have the option to apply for additional funding in subsequent years. Applicants who receive an exploratory grant and who wish to continue their work together beyond initial funding will be eligible to submit in the following funding cycle for a seed grant. Applicants who receive a seed grant and who demonstrate the effectiveness of their collaborative work will be eligible to apply in the next cycle for an additional seed grant or to scale up to a full grant.

Additional details for future funding cycles will be available in Fall 2024. 

EXPLORATORY GRANTS

Social Impact Collaborative Exploratory Grants (up to $10,000):

This category focuses on initial relationship building for starting a new collaborative team, including exploring potential collaboration with internal (UCLA) and an external community partner(s), convening to determine common interests, identifying the equity issue impacting Los Angeles, outlining a scope of work (including research questions) that identifies mutually beneficial goals, and making a mutual decision to proceed to form a Social Impact Collaborative for research and/or creative activity. Exploratory grants should be used to develop how the research/creative activity collaboration contributes to a theory of change to impact the equity issue. 

Priority will be given to:

    • Proposals from early career faculty
    • Proposals involving researchers and/or partners with a history of successfully addressing equity and inclusion in their work
    • Proposals that include first generation college students and/or students with ties to communities affected by the equity issue that the research/creative activity seeks to address

Eligibility

    • Principal Investigators: All proposals require a minimum of two Principal Investigators (PI) from different departments/divisions/schools, and both must be UCLA Senate Faculty. One of the PIs must be designated as the Contact PI, who is responsible for receiving and coordinating communications on behalf of the grant. 
    • Community Partner: A list of potential community partners in Los Angeles (city or county) is required at the time of application. Potential community partners could include non-profit organizations, tribal or community organizations, governmental agencies, and in some cases for-profit entities. In all cases, community partners should be a recognized and credible entity respected for its work in the particular issue area.
    • Additional Team Members: UCLA faculty/staff/students who are not PIs, but will be contributing to the collaborative can serve as team members (ladder faculty, lecturers, adjuncts, other non-Senate faculty such as academic administrators, visiting faculty, postdoctoral fellows, graduate and/or undergraduate students). In addition, individuals without UCLA appointments can join a social impact collaborative team. Additional team members should reflect the interdisciplinarity of the collaborative.

Use of Funds

Funds must be used for direct research and creative activity costs such as personnel, travel, and materials, supplies, and research and creative activity costs supporting the proposed collaborative. 

The following are allowable expenses:

    • Personnel:
      • Community Partners: Compensation of community partners is required.
      • Additional Personnel: Research assistants (undergraduate and/or graduate students). Please note exploratory grants do not support funding for faculty salary support of any kind.
    • Travel: As needed, that is directly related to the collaborative, including site visits to other comparable university-community research projects, etc.
    • Additional Research Expenses: As needed, that are directly related to the collaborative, including software, specialized materials, gift cards, etc.

Proposed activities and expenditures must comply with all applicable university policies and procedures.

APPLICATION PROCESS & TIMELINE

February – April 1st Proposal Consultation

The Center for Community Engagement can provide consultations to support proposal development. The purpose of a consultation is to provide the applicants an opportunity to have any proposal-specific questions answered, clarify the expectations for equitable community-engaged research, discuss community-engaged research in relation to theory of change for social equity issues, answer questions about fundable activities, etc. Consultations are encouraged but not required. To set up a consultation, please contact:

    • Shalom Staub, PhD (Assistant Dean and Executive Director, Center for Community Engagement)
    • Erica K. Yamamura, PhD (Associate Director for Strategic Initiatives, Center for Community Engagement)
February 28th
2-3:00pm (PST)
Information Session
Attending the Zoom information session is encouraged but not required.
Info Session Zoom Recording
By March 15th Statement of Intent to Apply (Required)
The statement of intent submission has closed. Information for the next funding cycle will be available Fall 2024. 
April 15th
11:59pm (PST)
Grant Proposal (Required)

Submit Now

Applicants who successfully submitted a Statement of Intent can now submit their Grant Proposal on InfoReady using their UCLA login credentials.

Updated: June 2024 Grantees Announced
Updated: Summer 2024 Funds Released after completing an award acceptance form.

Award Notification & Post Award Requirements

Applicants will be notified of their outcome of their application by June 2024 (please note the updated notification timeframe). Awardees should plan for all funds to be used by June 30, 2025. After this date, any unused funds must be returned unless an extension has been granted. 

Award Disbursement

Award funds will be transferred to a UCLA account for the awardees. Award funds are to be used in accordance with the submitted budget. Award funds must be used in compliance with all university policies and procedures.

Extension Requests

No-cost extensions to the grant period will be considered on a case-by-case basis and should include a clear explanation for why the work could not be completed during the initial grant period.

Any request for a no-cost extension should be submitted as far as possible in advance of the end of the award period and no later than May 1, 2025. 

Social Impact Collaborative Award Requirements

    • Faculty Learning Community: Faculty representing all funded Social Impact Collaboratives will attend a meeting once per quarter bringing together all grantees in one broader learning community to:
      • Explore points of convergence across research and creative activities on equity issues in Los Angeles
      • Exchange learning and incorporate best practices on building and sustaining collaborative, interdisciplinary, community-engaged research teams
      • Provide professional development with strategic communications and fund development 
      • Develop metrics for evaluation of impact  
    • Advancement and Communications: The grantees will make themselves available to support any relevant promotional and/or media opportunities.
    • Reporting: 
      • Quarterly Progress Report: Provide a brief written progress report at the end of each academic quarter of funding (fall, winter, and spring). As a new grant program, we are interested in assessing our program design. The progress reports will be used for continuous program improvement. 
      • Final Report: A final report (progress narrative and financial report) must be submitted after the completion of the grant. Program staff will provide awardees with additional information regarding reporting requirements and documentation at the completion of the grant period.

TO APPLY

Eligibility

    • Principal Investigators: All proposals require a minimum of two Principal Investigators (PI) from different departments/divisions/schools, and both must be UCLA Senate Faculty. One of the PIs must be designated as the Contact PI, who is responsible for receiving and coordinating communications on behalf of the grant.
    • Community Partner: A list of potential community partners in Los Angeles (city or county) is required at the time of application. Potential community partners could include non-profit organizations, tribal or community organizations, governmental agencies, and in some cases for-profit entities. In all cases, community partners should be a recognized and credible entity respected for its work in the particular issue area.
    • Additional Team Members: UCLA faculty/staff/students who are not PIs, but will be contributing to the collaborative can serve as team members (ladder faculty, lecturers, adjuncts, other non-Senate faculty such as academic administrators, visiting faculty, postdoctoral fellows, graduate and/or undergraduate students). In addition, individuals without UCLA appointments can join a social impact collaborative team. Additional team members should reflect the interdisciplinarity of the collaborative.

There are two required components to apply for a Social Impact Collaborative Exploratory Grant: 

(1) Statement of Intent to Apply (DUE March 15, 2024)

The statement of intent submission has closed. Information for the next funding cycle will be available Fall 2024.

InfoReady Submission Instructions

You must logon to the InfoReady submission system using your multifactor UCLA credentials.

*Please note that you can save your application throughout the process by clicking on “save as draft” on the bottom left of the page

Once you are in the system you will be prompted to input your information, including:

    • Personal details
    • Co-applicant information: You are required to have a minimum of 2 PI’s who are UCLA Senate members. See eligibility requirements for more details.
    • Proposal Information: Title and Keywords
    • Statement of Intent upload as one document (1-2 pages, with 12pt font and 1-inch margins; submit as one PDF or MS Word document):
      • Names and UCLA affiliations of campus partners (A minimum of 2 PI’s who are UCLA Senate Members)
      • Prospective Community Partner Information (contact name, organization, and relationship with the partner): Please indicate if you already have working relationships with these community partners or whether you will be approaching them for the first time.
      • Research Topic/Area
      • Did you attend the information session, review the Zoom recording, and/or have an individual consultation? 
      • Any questions you have regarding the Call for Proposals
    • Add additional email addresses (e.g. Co-PI’s) so that they receive notifications as well [Optional]
    • Acknowledgement
    • Submit your application

We will utilize these statements of intent to apply to assist the Center for Community Engagement in developing an appropriate pool of reviewers and to possibly to connect researchers with similar proposals.


(2) Grant Proposal (DUE April 15th @ 11:59 PM PST)

Applicants who successfully submitted a Statement of Intent can now submit their Grant Proposal on InfoReady using their UCLA login credentials.

The Social Impact Collaborative Exploratory Grant proposal consists of four distinct sections (use subheadings; 12pt font and 1-inch margins; submit as one PDF or MS Word document): 

Proposal (8 pages max)

    1. Cover Page (1 page) 
      • Social Impact Collaborative Overview:
        • Co-PI Information: Name(s), affiliation(s), and email addresses
        • Working title (15 words max)
        • Requested funding amount
        • Abstract for a generalist audience (150 words max)
    2. Narrative (3-4 pages) 
      • Equity Issue: Identify the equity issue that your research and/or creative activity will address. How would your potential Social Impact Collaborative advance equity-achieving social impact in Los Angeles? Please share if and how your proposal aligns to current campus initiatives (e.g. AANAPISI and/or HSI designation for UCLA, Bruins Rising, DataX, Grand Challenges, etc.).
      • Co-PIs and Collaborative Team: Provide a list of the potential collaborating faculty and their unit affiliations and indicate how this group is interdisciplinary. Please discuss your motivation for community-engaged research and how this proposed collaborative fits your individual research agendas. Indicate if you plan to include graduate and/or undergraduate students in this exploratory stage, and if so, how you plan to do that. 
      • Community Partner(s): Provide a list of potential partners and their organizational affiliations. Please indicate if you already have working relationships with these community partners or whether you will be approaching them for the first time.
      • Plan of Work: Identify key activities and milestones with a corresponding timeline, such as exploratory meetings with prospective partners, relationship building activities and events with community partner(s), site visits, discussion of equity issues that translate into research questions, etc. 
    3. Letter of Interest from a Community Partner(s) (1-2 pages): Encouraged but not required.
      This letter should provide background on the relationship with the PIs and the proposed Social Impact Collaborative team. In addition, the community partner letter should address the role they expect to fill in the proposed Social Impact Collaborative, what community knowledge/assets they bring to the collaborative, how their perspective and involvement grounds the collaborative’s work in LA equity issues, and how their participation can contribute to achieving their mission-driven work.  
    4. Budget (1 page)
      Describe your plan to use this funding, including equitable compensation to your community partner(s) for their active participation.

 

NOTE: Reviewers may elect to provide partial funding to a collaborative. Clear budget information and justifications can help reviewers to determine possible partial funding amounts.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How do I request the Zoom recording of the information session?

The Information Session recording can be accessed here .

What’s the distinction between community-engaged research vs. traditional research?

Community-engaged research intentionally values and includes the community partner(s) in every stage of the research and creative activity process as an equal partner. In addition, the research and creative activity creates reciprocal value, meaning it benefits both partners (not just the UCLA researcher).

Are seed and full grants currently available?

Currently only exploratory grants are available. We anticipate the call for proposals for seed and full grants becoming available Fall 2024.

Who do I contact for a proposal consultation?

For questions about funding to incubate Social Impact Collaboratives, please contact either:

Updated April 2024: When will award notifications come out and when will the money be available for use?

  1. Award notifications by end of spring quarter (June 2024)
  2. Funds will be transferred at the start of the new fiscal year: July 1, 2024.

Who do I contact if I’m having difficulty with the online submission system (InfoReady)?

Erica K. Yamamura, PhD., Associate Director for Strategic Initiatives

CONTACT

For questions about funding to incubate Social Impact Collaboratives, please contact either: