CO+RE: The Community + Research Partnership Program


CO+RE, a pilot program supported by the University of Illinois Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation, is intended to foster and extend community-campus partnerships and civic scholarship. CO+RE engages substantive research, creative practice, and community needs and interests, generating responsive and ongoing relationships with our local communities. These research and creative partnerships will demonstrate an abiding interest and involvement in reciprocal community-to-campus and campus-to-community relationships. Projects supported by this program recognize local knowledge producers, the needs and interests of our communities, and materially affect the lives of East Central Illinois residents through sustainable, equitable partnerships.

CO+RE is dedicated to “community and university engaged research and creative practice – designed to invest locally and model globally.” The CO+RE program encourages projects that engage a range of approaches and fields: creative, scientific, humanistic. Cross-disciplinary project teams will be given priority. However, all projects that meet the criteria will be considered.

This program will support up to five projects that demonstrate the following criteria:

  • Equitable, viable, and diverse community and campus partnerships. Project teams must consist of members from both settings, with each serving in equitable fashion. Demonstration of this equity in the proposal is critical.
  • Evidence of the need for the project. What is motivating the partnership? What communities are the stakeholders? What communities will the work depend on – and subsequently impact? How will it do so?
  • Articulation of the needs of the project. What will the funds enable teams to accomplish, and how will the funds be allocated to meet those goals? How will the plans be executed?
  • Evidence of reciprocity must be explicit within the project aims and results.
  • Explanation of student involvement and training. How will the project engage and maintain student involvement and interest? What will students gain from this work? How will these relationships be fostered and maintained? There must be a clear and planned pathway for student involvement.
  • Articulation of markers for success at the project outset and how the team will determine project success.
  • Clearly stated measures to sustain the ongoing work of the project.
(Note: A “team member” or “collaborator” is someone considered to be a co-owner of the project and generative part of the team, not someone who provides services on a “work for hire” basis.)


Up to five projects will be selected by a committee representing community and campus members. Awarded applications will be eligible for increased funding for two subsequent years, totaling three years of support. Subsequent stage applications must meet the program criteria. The stages of support are as follows:

  • Stage 1: Foundation funding of up to $20,000.00 to either launch a new or boost an existing program.
  • Stage 2: Implementation funding up to $30,000.00 to continue demonstrated success and ramp up. Applicants must have successfully completed Stage 1 to be eligible for Stage 2.
  • Stage 3: Sustaining funding up to $50,000.00 to support a successful program for longer term.
  • Applicants must have successfully completed Stage 2 to be eligible for Stage 3.


At the conclusion of each stage the team must submit a “milestone report” detailing how the aims of the project were achieved: the process of the research investigation; the participants; how the project/research has responded to the needs of the community; and what have been the outcomes to date. The report must address both successes and setbacks, especially if these affect planning and implementation for subsequent stages of support.

If the report is satisfactory to the selection committee (described below), teams will then be notified that they are eligible to apply for the next stage of funding. These applications must demonstrate the success of the previous stage; offer a reasonable plan for continuation; articulate the aims of the collaboration that will continue the work of the team; and establish the next set of goals. Each team must document its work in a medium they deem appropriate for their own use and for the historical record of their work. This will be shared with the selection committee in the review for subsequent rounds.

The above process will precede each round. Teams can apply for the next level of support once they have demonstrated that the project is worthwhile to them and succeeding on multiple levels.

Subsequent stage (2 & 3) applications must meet the program and reporting criteria.

Application Guidelines:

Applications must be submitted electronically via
Applicants must submit PDFs of the following documents:

  • Statement of purpose that describes the needs and aims of the project and clearly articulates the research component (5 pages maximum, single space, 12-point font).
  • Brief biographies of all members of the team (maximum 250 words each).
  • A statement on the team and why they are the right people for the project. Faculty and Community members must demonstrate experience in working within the proposal area. (500 words maximum)
  • Project timeline.
  • Detailed budget and budget justification.
  • For work with human subjects, IRB approval will be required before beginning.
  • Letters of commitment from stakeholders.

Deadline: The application must be complete and submitted no later than 5pm (CDT) on Friday, April 10, 2020. No extensions or exceptions will be entertained. The selection committee will only consider complete applications.


Applicants will be notified via email the week of April 20, 2020 of the success or decline of their proposals. Awarded proposals will be announced to the team, at the completion of the committee’s decision-making process. Award announcements will also be made via campus and community listservs.

Selection Committee:

The selection committee comprises three community members and three University of Illinois members. Members will serve for three years to see the funded project teams through the full cycle of the program.

(Community members are compensated nominally for their time served on this committee. University members are not additionally compensated; their participation is considered service.)


  • University of Illinois faculty and staff with 50% -100% appointments, engaged in research (broadly defined) and/or creative inquiry as part of their professional responsibilities, are eligible to apply. (This includes tenured, tenure-line, specialized faculty, and academic professionals).
  • University and community members must demonstrate experience in working within the proposed area.
  • Projects must be located in communities within a fifty-mile radius of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.