UMass Boston

Public Service Grant Program

The Public Service Grant Program to promote community engaged scholarship of the University of Massachusetts Boston supports community engaged research and creative activity resulting from a partnership between faculty or research staff members and community groups or members, broadly conceived. Scholarship is community engaged when it involves reciprocal partnerships and addresses public purposes. Scholarship is community engaged when faculty, research staff, students, community-based organizations, government agencies, policy makers, and/or other actors work together to identify areas of inquiry, design studies and/or creative activities, implement and evaluate activities that contribute to shared learning and capacity building, disseminate findings and make recommendations or develop initiatives for change.

The purpose of this grant is to build the capacity of campus members to engage in authentic, collaborative research partnerships for public benefit and to provide incentives that foster and stimulate the conduct of community-engaged scholarship and creative activity. The grant supports community-engaged scholarship and creative activity that leads to commonly recognized scholarly outcomes.  For example, community engaged scholarship can be published in academic venues like peer-reviewed journals and university press books, but such products are not the only outcomes. Community engaged scholarship also produces publicly relevant results in the form of reports, exhibits, multimedia presentations, installations, policy briefs, court briefings, legislation and other public products; and can lead to outcomes such as changes in policy and practice, legislative action, enhancing community capacity, and contributing to public discourse.

Furthermore, the university is a 2015 recipient of the Elective Classification for Community Engagement from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, a 10-year award made to “institutions that have made extraordinary commitments to their public purpose.” The Carnegie Foundation defines community engagement in this way:

Community engagement describes the collaboration between institutions of higher education and their larger communities (local, regional/state, national, global) for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity.

The purpose of community engagement is the partnership of college and university knowledge and resources with those of the public and private sectors to enrich scholarship, research, and creative activity; enhance curriculum, teaching and learning; prepare educated, engaged citizens; strengthen democratic values and civic responsibility; address critical societal issues; and contribute to the public good.

Changes reflected in this FY25 program are the result of a collaboration of VPR/ORSP with the Office of Community Partnerships.

Deadline: Applications must be submitted via Kuali Proposal Development by Monday, April 1, 2024, at 5:00 PM EST. Contact your Departmental Research Administrator for further guidance.

Awards Announced: ~June 1, 2024

Maximum Award: $7500

For additional information, please contact

Eligibility to Submit a Proposal

Current UMass Boston faculty or research staff members are eligible to submit a proposal for consideration. Single or multi-PI applications are eligible, including non-UMass Boston senior personnel (unfunded collaborators).

Application and Submission Information

Applicants are required to submit Proposals through Kuali Proposal Development (PD). Applicants must contact their Department’s Research Administrator for assistance in submitting their application. 

Download the Kuali Internal Funding Programs Guide (also called: Aggregator Internal Submission Guide).    

By using UMass Boston’s online portal, all department-related signatories, such as Dept. Chairs and Deans will be sent notifications to approve proposals electronically. PI’s, and CO-PI’s, will also be sent notifications to confirm Financial Conflict of Interest.

Excluding the ORSP Budget Workbook, the following attachments must be completed and saved as PDFs for your Internal Submission. 

Checklist of Submission Items

  1. ORSP Budget Workbook found on the All Forms page.
  2. Budget Justification
  3. Abstract
  4. Project Narrative
  5. Biosketch(es)
  6. Current and Pending Support
  7. Letters of Collaboration (if applicable)

Budget Guidelines

Project Period: 07/01/2024 to 12/31/2025

Max Award amount: $7,500

No indirect costs or F&A on any application

Use the ORSP Budget Tool found on the All Forms page. Keep this attachment in excel format.

Request only those items indispensable to the project and not available through one’s department or from other funding sources. 

Allowable budget items:

  • Graduate & Undergraduate research assistants
  • Community partner expenses/Stipends for community partners
  • Required supplies and materials
  • Technical and/or administrative support above and beyond standard departmental resource
  • Travel costs that are necessary to conduct the research or creative activity

Unallowable budget items: 

  • Course buyouts, salaries, or additional compensations for PI or Co-PIs
  • Travel to present results of research or creative activity
  • Capital equipment

Budget Justification

The accompanying budget justification must explain each item requested in this budget – maximum 2 pages, with a font size no smaller than 12.


Abstracts are a maximum 1 page, with a font size no smaller than 12. Please include the following;

  • A succinct project description and summary of the proposed work which should be informative to other persons working in the same or related fields
  • If applicable, briefly describe the interdisciplinary or multi-disciplinary nature of the proposed project

Project Narrative

Narratives are a maximum of 4 pages, double-spaced, with a font size no smaller than 12. 

This is the core of the proposal describing the project for which funding is being requested. The applicant must be as clear as possible, remembering that the review committee will represent various disciplines and program areas and will not necessarily have strong expertise in the subject matter of the proposal. 

The project narrative will be evaluated based on the following elements: 

  • Significance of the proposed project
  • The primary target audience of the proposed project
  • The collaborative partnership with community organizations, agencies, and/or members
  • Project goals and objectives with a timeline for accomplishment 
  • Set of activities that will be used to carry out the proposed project
  • Anticipated outcomes of the proposed project
  • Plan for follow-up and evaluation to determine that the project will build community capacity in the area addressed


A Biosketch is needed for each PI and Key Personnel – maximum 3 pages. Further instructions are on the Biosketch Template found here.

Current and Pending Support

PI’s and all Key Personnel must each complete the Current and Pending Support form found here.

Other Attachments

Letters of Collaboration – Letters of collaboration should be limited to stating the intent to collaborate and should not contain endorsements or evaluations of the proposed project.

Letter of Collaboration Template found here.

Review Process and Committees

Each Internal Funding Opportunity has its own Review Committee. Each committee is comprised of university faculty and research staff members, and, if feasible, community partners drawn from various disciplines, program areas, and community perspectives will review all proposals.  

The Public Service Grant Program to promote community engaged scholarship final funding and award decisions will be made by the Vice Provost for Research. The committee will evaluate, score, and rank each eligible proposal according to the following merit criteria:

  • Significance
  • Approach/Project Design
  • Innovation
  • Goals and Objectives
  • Project Outcomes
  • Investigator(s) Qualifications

Award Management

Awards are administered by the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs in accordance with established university fiscal procedures and policies relating to the conduct of sponsored programs. The anticipated project period will be 18 months from the start date.  All budget expenditures and project activities must occur within the project period. 

The following conditions are made to all awards and must be adhered to by each recipient:

  • A final project report must be submitted via email by the project end date, summarizing grant activities, expenditures, and outcomes. Please access the ORSP internal grants page to access the most up-to-date final report template.
  • One copy of submitted or published papers and/or reports, or artifacts or descriptions of creative public products as described in the grant guidelines e that result from the project activities must be emailed when they become available.
  • All publications resulting from the grant project and all narratives associated with exhibitions or performances of works resulting from the grant project must acknowledge the assistance of the Public Service Grant Program to promote community engaged scholarship of the University of Massachusetts Boston.