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Community-Engaged Research Fellowship Program

The CTSI Community-Engaged Research Fellowship. Program provides training and a mentorship network to scientists (e.g., early and mid-career faculty) across the Penn State campuses interested in advancing their community-engaged research expertise. Community-engaged research includes the active involvement and participation of community stakeholders in the research process, such as recruitment/retention strategies, survey development, or dissemination of research findings across an array of audiences (e.g., scientific and general public). Stakeholders can include communities and their members, patients, clinicians, researchers, purchasers, payers, industry, hospitals and health systems, training institutions and policymakers, among others. The degree of stakeholder involvement in research is typically determined beforehand and falls on a continuum of possibilities, from collaborating fully in all aspects of the research process to being involved in a targeted part of the study.

The fellowship is for:

  • early and mid-career researchers desiring an experiential learning experience and mentoring in the science and practice of community-engaged research; or
  • researchers already engaged in time- and resource-demanding community-engaged research who wish to expand their expertise

This one-year fellowship program will fund awardee’s salary support to an equivalent of up to two course buyouts (one per semester) or .10 FTE over the course of the fellowship (July 1, 2023 – June 30, 2024) for study and training in community-engaged research, with the guidance and support of a scientist involved in community-engaged research who has agreed to provide mentoring to the fellowship awardee.

In addition to being mentored and gaining research experience, Fellows will become part of the Community-Engaged Research Core (CERC) team, attending regular team meetings and working with the team on activities and consultations as part of the experience.

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Program Details and Application Process

Eligibility Expand answer

An early or mid-career researcher (faculty member or research scientist) at any Penn State campus is eligible to apply.

Application Expand answer

The application should be no more than four single-spaced pages (at least 11-point size font, at least 0.5 inch margins) and include:

  1. Title of project
  2. Applicant’s goals for the faculty fellowship
    1. Describe the research area, its significance and how stakeholders will be involved. Explain the need for increased stakeholder involvement in the program of research.
    2. Explain why the fellowship is needed to advance the fellow’s research program and how the mentor will assist with it.
  3. Activity plan
    1. Describe the activities planned to be undertaken during the fellowship, how these activities will advance the research/career goals of the fellow and a timeline for research/career goal accomplishments.
    2. Explain how the fellowship will lead to a proposal for external funding
    3. Describe the deliverables that are planned to be accomplished during the fellowship (presentations, publications, grant proposals, etc.)
    4. Mentorship plan: describe the actual activities that the mentor and mentee will do together and provide a general description of the mentee’s research that the mentoring will help advance.
  4. Budget
    1. Submit the cost of two course buyouts (or equivalent) or, where appropriate, particularly for clinicians, cost of 0.1 FTE (up to the current National Institutes of Health salary cap of $203,700) for an entire academic year (12 months); this cost should be confirmed in the Letter of Support from the applicant’s Department Chair.
    2. Mentor research funds, up to $3,000, are available to support the primary mentor’s effort and time; these funds are not available to support the mentor’s or awardee’s projects.
  5. Additional application attachments (not included in the four-page limit)
    1. Applicant’s biographical sketch (up to five pages, following the current NIH guidance)
    2. Mentor’s biographical sketch (up to five pages, following the current NIH guidance)
    3. Mentor’s Letter of Support. The mentor letter should affirm the applicant’s proposed training and mentoring plan, and deliverables, and indicate the mentor’s willingness to serve as a mentor and if they request salary support from the available $3,000 designated for mentor funds.
    4. Letter of Support from the applicant’s Department Chair.
Review Criteria Expand answer
  • Merits of the proposal, including its innovation, significance and relevance to CTSI CERC’s mission
  • Qualifications, commitment and clarity of roles for the applicant and the primary mentor
  • Clarity, rigor and feasibility of the work plan
  • Likelihood of an external proposal resulting from fellowship
  • Strength of institutional/departmental and primary mentor support and commitment
Progress Reports Expand answer

Awardee is required to provide a progress report mid-year (by December 31, 2023) and a final report no later than 30 days after the end of the Fellowship, describing progress made, accomplished deliverables and the plan and timeline for an external grant proposal.

How to Apply Expand answer

Interested eligible researchers should submit their application as one PDF document to no later than 5 p.m. ET on Oct. 24, 2022. The selected fellow will be notified by Nov. 30, 2022. Projects are expected to begin on Jul. 1, 2023, and last for 12 months (through June 30, 2024).

Questions or Comments

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Past Fellows