Community-Based Water Research Grants

Water@UW-Madison is pleased to partner with the Morgridge Center for Public Service to offer a new funding opportunity to support community-based water research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Thanks to generous support from the provost, grants will provide up to $10,000 to UW-Madison faculty, staff, or graduate students to design and implement a new community-based research (CBR) project, add a CBR component to existing work, or continue an ongoing CBR project.

Grants may be used to support projects in any discipline that engage with community organizations, public sector entities, or grassroots groups to address water-related challenges. Projects may address any aspect relevant to water or water resources, but are required to detail how they will meet community-identified priorities. Specifically, projects should:

  • Address a community-identified priority or question originating within a community or co-created by researchers and community members working together
  • Include community partners at all stages of the research process according to community interest and capacity
  • Work to build community capacity and provide a sustained positive impact
  • Work toward social change and justice

Researchers are welcome to submit a proposal to address any aspect relevant to water or water resources, including any of the 10 Grand Water Challenges outlined by the Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin. Projects that address issues identified in the Water chapter of the 2021 Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Assessment Report and projects with a strong focus on Environmental Justice are also encouraged to apply. In addition, watershed-based plans, lake-management plans, and river-management plans often document local management objectives and can be useful sources of information on community priorities.

Projects can be at any stage of development. Funding may be used to begin community-based work, continue an ongoing CBR project, or provide gap or bridge funding for an existing project, if additional funding is forthcoming or likely.

Funding cannot be used for faculty salary, but may be used to compensate staff members, undergraduate and graduate student employees, or community partners. Grant funds may also be used to purchase supplies and services necessary for the project. Proposals that use a portion of funding for community partner expenses will be given extra weight.


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Eligible applicants

UW-Madison faculty, staff, graduate students or postdocs

Eligible projects

Proposals are welcome from any discipline with the following stipulations:

  • Project addresses an issue related to water or water resources
  • Project aligns with the Morgridge Center’s Guidelines for Community-Based Research.
  • Applicant has identified one or more community partners
    • The proposal must include documentation of partners’ support or willingness to participate in a letter, email, or other form of communication
    • Alternatively, an applicant may provide strong justification for the need for an initial effort to identify and connect with community partners

How to Apply

Upcoming application deadlines:

February 15, 2024
April 15, 2024 ****NOTE THE NEW DEADLINE!

Two rounds of funding are available in 2024. In each round, allocated funds will be awarded according to project priority until they are exhausted. Applications that fail to secure funding in the first round are welcome to re-apply.

Proposals must be submitted though Qualtrics. You will upload the budget form and any letters of support as additional attachments. We recommend you use the Word document below to prepare your application before entering information into the Qualtrics form.

Application Word document: Click here to access the application word document.

Letters of support: Include letters of support bundled with your application form. Documentation may be provided in the form of a letter, email, or other communication. If you are seeking funding to begin community-based research and do not have community support at this time, please include a brief justification of the need to pursue funding to identify and connect with community partners.

NOTE: Combine application and letters of support into a single file for upload to Qualtrics (e.g. .doc, .pdf or .zip) Alternatively, you may send multiple files to

Application form: Click here to access the Qualtrics application form.

For more information, contact


Additional detail available in our Jan Introductory webinar. Note the dates and deadlines refer to the 2023 program — but the rest of the information is still relevant!

00:00     Introduction
03:29     What is Community-based research?
08:35     How to begin? Getting started with community-based research
13:28     Morgridge Center Commitments: Principles to guide your practice
23:04     Examples of Community Based Research
35:18     Applying: eligibility, conditions and submitting an application

Funding Priorities

The proposal should clearly describe the anticipated benefits to community partners and to the academy. Funding priority will be determined by the degree to which the project addresses an urgent community-identified priority or question, includes community partners in the research process, builds community capacity, and intends to generate results that will be useful to the community. Funding consideration will also acknowledge the degree to which the project validates community knowledge in academic inquiry and adds to our understanding of how to conduct community-based research. Before submitting a proposal, please review the program funding priorities outlined in the CBR grant review rubric.

For Grant Recipients

Acceptance of a grant award includes five conditions:

  1. PI and key members of the research team (at the discretion of the PI) must attend an orientation session covering crucial information related to good practices in community engagement and how to utilize the support resources available at the Morgridge Center, if the team has not already received such training.
  2. Participate and share your experiences at the Water@UW-Madison Fall Art & Science Poster Session in early November the year following your award. You are also encouraged, but not required, to participate in the Water@UW-Madison Spring Symposium and a Morgridge Center “Engaged Scholarship Roundtable” or other professional event in the community-based research space.
  3. Complete and submit the reporting form to by the Jan 01 after you receive your grant award. Download reporting form here: Water@UW-CBWaterGrants_ReportingForm
  4. Water@UW-Madison strives to support a safe, ethical, and supportive environment on- and off-campus. During the conduct of this work, university representatives shall abide by all relevant Univeristy policies including those pertaining to the Responsible Conduct of Research (UW-4021), Hostile and Intimidating Behaviour (UW-5041), Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence (UW-146).
  5. Funding acknowledgements should be included in all publications, presentations and posters, and on other public-facing outputs when reasonable. Acknowledgement may be in text for written products or via clear display of a logo for graphical products.
    1. Text: This work was supported by a Community-based water research grant provided by Water@UW-Madison and the Office of the Provost of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
    2. Logo: Include the University of Wisconsin-Madison logo and the Water@UW-Madison logo