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Clinical and Translational Science Award—Community-Based Research Small Grants Program: September 30
September 11, 2007, Volume 54, No. 3

Increasingly, active community participation in research is being recognized as essential to improving health outcomes in diverse populations. Community-based participatory research (CBPR) is a collaborative process between individuals from the community or community-based organizations and academic investigators and has the following features:  (1) the community is acknowledged as the primary unit of identity, (2) efforts are developed and implemented to enhance the existing strengths of the community, (3) collaborative relationships between the academic institution and community partners are fostered throughout the entire research process, and (4) knowledge that is gained through the partnership is translated into specific action. A key goal of CBPR is to enhance a community’s ability to address important health issues through the development of effective interventions that can be maintained over time.  Ideally, community stakeholders are actively involved in all phases of the research. Relatedly, community-based research includes studies that are conducted in community settings. 

One of the goals of the Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) at the University of Pennsylvania is to partner with community stakeholders on research efforts. To foster community-based research at Penn, especially studies that use a participatory framework, the Community Engagement Core within the CTSA will fund two pilot projects up to $20,000 each (total costs) for research that is conducted in community settings or uses a participatory research framework and actively involves community stakeholders in the conceptualization, design, implementation, and evaluation of a study.   Priority will be given to applications that use a participatory research framework. Funds can be used to support salary for academic investigators, support for community collaborators, data management, supplies, and small equipment.  Funds may be used to support research designed to collect data that will inform future interventions or studies that evaluate the effects of a newly developed intervention. Funds may not be used to support travel or to supplement projects that are currently funded. 


  • All faculty, fellows, and residents from Penn and CHOP are eligible to submit applications. Applications submitted by fellows or residents must be endorsed by a faculty member with experience in community-based or participatory research who will be responsible for the study.
  • For projects that use a participatory framework, a community collaborator (individual or organization) must be included as key personnel and provide a commensurate level of support.  At a minimum, community stakeholders must have been actively involved in developing the specific aims for the study and should play an active role in collecting data, interpreting results, and disseminating findings.
  • Existing or newly developed academic-community partnerships may be supported with pilot funds.  For projects submitted by existing partnerships, funds can only be used to support new projects that have not been previously funded.  For projects that involve a newly developed partnership, there should be evidence that activities have been completed to establish the partnership.
  • Applications should also include a description of the relevant community or communities.
  • Manuscripts and presentations from research supported through this award should acknowledge the Penn CTSA.

Selection Criteria

  • Applications will be evaluated by a panel of reviewers and will be scored using the methods at NIH.
  • Applications from investigators with a background in any scientific or clinical discipline may be submitted; however, preference will be given to applications that are likely to lead to federally-funded peer-reviewed research and those that have  or are likely to have a significant public health, scientific, or clinical impact.

Application Procedures

  • Applications are due on September 30, 2007.  The funding period for each award will be from November 2007 through July 2008.
  • Applications should include a cover letter, abstract, budget justification, and a 5-page description of the project in the following format: Specific Aims, Background, Community Involvement, Research Design and Methods, Strengths and Limitations, and Implications.  All text should be single-spaced, 11-point Arial font, and .5 inch margins throughout.
  • Progress reports for each funded project will be due on June 2, 2008.
  • Applications should be submitted electronically to Chanita Hughes-Halbert, Ph.D. at Chanita@mail.med.upenn.edu.
  • Questions about the Community-Based Small Grants Program should also be directed to Dr. Hughes-Halbert.
Almanac - September 11, 2007, Volume 54, No. 3