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UCCRI Application Guidelines

The Urban Collaborative Community Research Initiative

The Urban Collaborative Community Research Initiative (UCCRI) was established in 2021 with funds from the Julian Grace Foundation to support interdisciplinary, community-engaged research projects aimed at addressing key challenges faced by cities, especially—but not limited to—health equity, environmental justice, transportation, and sustainable urban development.

Grants up to $25,000 for up to twelve months of work will be awarded in the spring quarters 2021 and 2022. Interdisciplinary teams of Urban Collaborative faculty, staff, and students are encouraged to apply for funding for research projects co-designed with community partners and external colleagues. Ideally, these grants will be used to accelerate early-stage research projects that have the potential to win larger external grants as they mature.

Application Timeline

The application timeline for academic year 2020-2021 is outlined below and the maximum award is $25,000. Note that you are strongly to attend the informational meeting on Friday, May 14 from 3:00-4:00 PM and review the FAQ before applying.

Stage Date
Call for Proposals and Application Guidelines posted May 10
Online Application opens May 17
Online Application closes (application deadline extended) June 6
by 11:59 PM
Award notifications June 14


To be eligible for funding, projects must be interdisciplinary and co-designed by faculty in the Urban Collaborative and a community partner organization; it must also create opportunities for LAS students to participate as researchers on the team.

  • The Principal Investigator (PI) must be a tenure-line LAS faculty member who is either in one of the programs or centers affiliated with the Urban Collaborative or contributes at least one course in the academic year of application (i.e. currently 2020-2021) to one of the Urban Collaborative’s majors, minors or graduate degrees.
  • The Community Partner organization must be a non-DePaul domestic or international non-profit, governmental, or non-governmental entity.
  • Additional subject matter experts may include full-time or adjunct faculty from across DePaul as well as researchers or practitioners external to the university.
  • Faculty with experience working with external organizations in an academic context, or who have experience in community-based research are particularly encouraged to apply.

Application Requirements

Application requires submitting an online application between the application’s opening date (May 17, 2021) and closing date (June 6, 2021, at 11:59 pm).

The application requires the following items, each of which is described in detail below.

  1. Curriculum Vitae, Contact and Organizational Information for all Research Team Members
  2. Project Narrative and Workplan (no more than 1000 words)
  3. Budget & Budget Narrative
  4. Letter of Support from Community Partner
  5. Letter of Support from Principal Investigator’s Chair/Program Director and additional endorsements, if applicable

All CVs and Letters of Support submitted via the online application should be uploaded in PDF format.

For all DePaul Faculty Team Members, provide the following via the online application form: name; faculty status (tenure-line, term, or adjunct); phone; email address; home department/program name; and Chair/Director’s name, phone, and email address. Please indicate who will serve as Project Lead.

For Community Partners, provide the following via the online application form: name; organization name, address, and website URL; Executive Director’s name, phone, and email address. If the partner organization will be contributing a team member as an active researcher, please also provide that individual’s name; title; phone; and email address.

For all Non-DePaul Team Members, provide the following via the online application form: name; title; organization; phone; email address; home department/program name; and Chair/Director’s name, phone, and email address.

Enter or copy/paste a narrative that describes the team’s research project. The Project Narrative and Workplan should be no longer than 1000 words, and use the following structure:

Project Title

Project Start and End Dates: Start date must be no later than September 2021 and end date no later than September 2022.

Overview: Describe the basic details of the project, the community partner, and how the project addresses a key challenge faced by cities.

Project and Community Engagement: Describe the existing relationship between the faculty and the community partner organization, the origins of the project, and how it will create deliverables of value to the partner organization and/or the public they serve.

Team-Member Roles and Qualifications: Describe the role that each member of the team, including the community partner and student researchers, will play in executing the project, including their qualifications to perform the proposed work (subject-matter expertise, prior relevant experience, prior relevant research projects, etc.)

Anticipated Student Experience: Describe how your student researcher(s) will benefit from working on this project. Address the ways that the student will work with the team and the opportunities they will have to engage with the community partner organization.

Anticipated Timeline: Identify your project’s timeline and anticipated plan of work.

Potential Challenges, Questions, and Needs: Describe any potential challenges or problems you anticipate with this project.

Key Objectives & Measurable Outcomes: Identify your project’s key objectives, measurable outcomes, and success criteria.

Projects involving human or animal research subjects must receive IRB approval before UCCRI funding can be authorized. A description of the proposed research and the consent forms must be submitted to the Institutional Review Board for the Protection of Human Subjects or to the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee. The relevant committee(s) will review the research protocol and will notify both the principal investigator and the LAS Research Committee of their decision. For more information on either the IRB or the IACUC review process, please visit the website of the Office of Research Services.

The budget will follow the template format in the downloadable UCCRI Application Guidelines. Applicants should enter a list of budget items under the year that they are requesting along with their estimated costs. A budget narrative explaining and justifying each line in the budget should also be entered.

Eligible Expenses:
Expenses that can be covered by the UCCRI may include, but are not limited to:

  • DePaul Faculty
  • DePaul Research Staff
  • DePaul Students
  • Non-DePaul Subject Matter Experts (including staff of the Community Partner)
  • Travel to research sites (travel restrictions permitting)
  • Supplies and equipment
  • Support for activities related to data collection (e.g. survey development, participant incentives, and focus groups)

All expenses must adhere to relevant DePaul guidelines. As you build your budget, please keep in mind:

Course Releases: One tenure-line DePaul faculty (typically the Principal Investigator) may have 1 course release per academic year on the UCCRI grant.

Summer Salary: All DePaul faculty on the team may be paid up to 1 month summer salary from the UCCRI grant; however, summer salary or research expenses that are covered by grants or payments from other sources (internal or external) cannot also be funded by a UCCRI grant. However, the UCCRI grant can be held at the same time as another grant, provided the funds do not cover duplicate work. In no case may a grant from this program, combined with other grants or salary, result in more than two summer salary units.

Student Researchers: Student researchers should be paid at an hourly rate per campus student employment guidelines & pay categories. As you build your budget, please follow guidance from the Office of Student Employment.

Fringe Benefits: The budget should include as a line item any fringe benefits associated with personnel salaries. Fringe benefits must be assessed on all summer salary for faculty, as well as on student wages. Per university guidelines, the rate for faculty is 10% of summer salary; for students, it is 7.65% of total wages. For students, "summer" runs from the day after graduation through the day before the start of autumn quarter.

Professional Services: This includes all contracted services or time provided by external subject matter experts or organizations, including the community partner.

Funding Restrictions: All awarded funds must be used in the year for which they were budgeted. Special extensions from the duration of the approved UCCRI project proposal and/or carry-over funds that are not expended during the period of the award must be approved by the Dean of LAS.

Please contact Associate Dean Margaret Storey ( with questions on how to build your budget.

Upload a 1-2-page, single-spaced Letter of Support (PDF format) from the Community Partner organization, either written by or co-signed by the organization’s Executive Director. If the Executive Director is a member of the Research Team, the Board Chair may write or co-sign the letter.

The Letter of Support should address the following:

a. Why is the organization interested in collaborating on this project with DePaul?
b. What, if any, prior relationship exists between the organization and the other members of the research team? Has the organization worked with DePaul or other      higher education entities in the past?
c. What will the Community Organization do to support this research project?
d. What might the proposed partnership, project, and relationship bring to the organization and its mission?

In the event that a course release is being requested by the Principal Investigator (PI), the application must be supported by a confidential letter of support from that faculty member's Chair/Program Director (the person who writes one’s annual review). Please provide the following submission URL to that individual, so that they may provide an endorsement directly to the application system:

The letter of support should address the following:

a. Please explain the value and significance of this community-engaged research project.
b. Do you support funding this project? Why or why not?
c. Please explain how you will address the instructional needs of your unit in response to the requested course release for the grant.

Letters of support are due one week after the application deadline. Applicants are very strongly encouraged to alert their chair or director early in the process of their intent to apply for a course release through a UCCRI grant.

If the PI is currently serving as a Chair or Director, the recommendation letter should be written by the Dean of the College.

Recommendation letters and endorsements may be uploaded by the Chair/Program Director directly by 11:59 pm on June 7. All letters and endorsements are confidential and will not be shared with applicants.

Review Process

All applications will be reviewed by a committee of faculty from the Urban Collaborative Advisory Council.

Download UCCRI Application Guidelines
Application Now OpenSubmit Chair/Director Letter of Support