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.


Join us for an informational webinar, Jan 31 at 2pm. We’ll provide an intro to community based research, highlight some examples, and go over grant eligibility, funding conditions, and how to apply. Recording will post here shortly following the event.

Community-Based Water Research Grants: Application Webinar
Time: Jan 31, 2023 02:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 971 9655 4347
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Application deadlines are Feb. 15, 2023, and April 1, 2023. Two rounds of funding are available in 2023. 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.

Budget form: Click here to access the Budget Form. You will upload this document using the Qualtrics application form.

Letters of support: Upload documentation of partners’ support or willingness to participate using the Qualtrics 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 upload a brief justification of the need to pursue funding to identify and connect with community partners.

NOTE: Combine letters of support into a single file for upload to Qualtrics or send multiple files to

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

For more information, contact

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Eligible applicants

UW-Madison faculty, staff or graduate students

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 Community Engagement Commitments
  • 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
    • Alternately, an applicant may provide strong justification for the need for an initial effort to identify and connect with community partners


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.

Conditions of Funding

Staff who will be conducting grant-supported work must:

  1. Attend an orientation session that will include training on cultural humility, understanding power dynamics between campus and community, and how to utilize the support resources available through the Morgridge Center.
  2. Complete a training module provided by Morgridge Center staff on preparing your university research team to work in communities.
  3. Share their work at the Water@UW-Madison Fall Art & Poster Session in late November 2023. You may present a poster, lightning talk, creative performance, multimedia presentation, or any other suitable demonstration of project experiences or outcomes.
  4. Complete all grant-funded work, including the submittal of a brief project report by Jan 1, 2024.