The application period has closed.

Deadline: Wednesday, September 30, 2020 at 5:00 PM Central

The University of Illinois Extension and Public Engagement Connection Center (EPECC) announces an opportunity for UIUC researchers and Extension professionals to apply for Extension Collaboration Grants. These grants are designed to fund collaborative work among University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign researchers and Extension personnel. Grants will support discovery and translation of university research into applied information and education that will be disseminated through Extension’s statewide network with the goal of applied use by the target audience. Approximately 19 grants, with total funding of up to $60,000 per project over two years, will be supported.

Purpose of Extension Collaboration Grants

  1. To ignite and strengthen interdisciplinary collaborations among University of Illinois researchers and Extension professionals.
  2. To build sustainable communities of practice that engage in research-based practice and practice-based research that enhances Extension and outreach initiatives.
  3. To foster the development of collaborative, change-oriented projects that solve locally or statewide identified problems that are addressed through interdisciplinary approaches.

About Extension

University of Illinois Extension is the flagship outreach effort of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, with nearly 700 staff and thousands of volunteers who offer educational programs to residents of all of Illinois' 102 counties, and beyond. Extension provides trusted, practical education to help people, businesses, and communities solve problems, develop skills, and build a better future.

More than 1.5 million Illinois residents take part in Extension programs each year, including nearly 200,000 who participate in 4-H youth programs. Each month, Extension web pages draw more than 5 million page views, and people in more than 200 countries access Extension's web-based information.

Extension has identified the following five critical issue areas: Food; Economy; Environment; Community; and Health and is a frequent research lead and collaborator on issues of emerging public concern within these areas. Extension educators in local offices and specialists located on the U of I campus develop and deliver research-based programming locally, in regional venues, and through distance-learning technologies. Extension professionals possess deep knowledge of state and local issues, trusted connections with community partners, and practical expertise in developing and translating research to benefit public stakeholders.


Extension has identified the following five critical issue areas: Food; Economy; Environment; Community; and Health. Extension Collaboration Grant funds are targeted to address these priority issues with collaborative research and outreach. Proposals should describe how the project addresses one or more of these focus areas.

Proposed research and outreach should address locally or statewide identified problems of public importance, i.e. to benefit individuals, groups or communities who do not currently have a formal relationship with a higher education institution but who may have general or vested interests in the proposed project. Projects must be broadly accessible, not proprietary, including those that aim to target policy makers or engage business and industry. Projects that aim to reach undergraduate students as the primary stakeholders or to increase student applications to UIUC are not eligible.

Principal Investigators (PIs) and Co-PIs must hold appointments at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus and be approved by a unit executive officer or administrative equivalent. Individuals with titles including, but not limited to, Assistant, Associate, and Full Professor, specialized faculty with Extension appointments, Extension Specialists, Program Leaders, Regional Directors, County Directors, and Extension Educators are encouraged to submit proposals. Extension Program Coordinators and Community Workers may be included as team members; however, they may not serve as PIs or Co-PIs. Collaborators may be from non-university units and/or stakeholder groups (e.g., non-profit organizations, public agencies, professional associations, hospitals, etc.) but may not serve as PIs or Co-PIs.

To find potential collaborators with Extension, prospective applicants should attend an Extension Collaboration Grant information webinar held June – August of 2020 (view recordings), and/or contact the Extension and Public Engagement Connection Center. 

Award details

Approximately 15 grants, with total funding of up to $60,000 per project over two years, will be supported.

To allow time to identify partners and develop collaborative proposals, the Extension Collaboration Grant Request for Proposals will be pre-released June 1, 2020. Applications will be accepted beginning Tuesday, September 1, 2020, with a submission deadline of Wednesday, September 30, 2020.

Awarded teams are expected to track project progress and outcomes through contact with the grant program manager, a year one progress report, and a final report. Distribution of Year 2 funds is contingent upon satisfactory progress towards the stated project expenditures and research and outreach deliverables. Additionally, awarded teams are expected to participate in a final showcase of their projects in 2022.

Application Requirements

Apply online through the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research, Special Programs.

To apply, you will need:

  • Project title
  • PI(s), Co-PI(s), and/or Collaborator(s) information (names, affiliations, and emails)
  • Supervisor approval (Department Head, County Director, Program Lead, Extension Director)
  • 300-word Abstract
  • 3-page Project Narrative, details below.
  • 1-2 page Budget and Justification. Please be judicious so that as many meritorious proposals as possible may be funded.

Project Narrative

Project Narratives should be no more than 3 pages, single-spaced Times New Roman 11 pt font size with 1-inch margins, and include the following sections:

  1. Statement of Purpose:  for the proposed project, include how it addresses a complex issue within one or more of the five critical issue areas, the public need being addressed, and how your interdisciplinary collaboration enhances a path forward towards a solution.
  2. Research/Project Plan: for the proposed project, identify the research and outreach goals and objectives of the work and how they support Illinois Extension’s mission. Discuss project methods and expected outcomes.  Please explain your team’s plans for sustainability beyond the terms of the grant, e.g. through continued collaboration, additional funding, sustained program delivery, and/or advancing best practices for public engagement and outreach.
  3. Dissemination and Adoption Plan: Identify outreach methods and modes of delivery to public audiences in as much detail as possible, including the target audience(s) or public participants, expected reach, probability of adoption, and feasibility; Dissemination/adoption plans should provide justification that outreach methods are appropriate for the target audience(s) and outcomes, and demonstrate effective use of the Extension network.
  4. Evaluation Plan: Identify metrics and methods to assess the proposed project’s targeted outcomes, process, and/or impact.
  5. Interdisciplinary Collaboration and Action Plan: Identify interdisciplinary knowledge, skills, and abilities of the proposed team and how this collaboration will be impactful towards developing a solution for the issue(s) presented in the statement of purpose. Include an action plan (charts/tables allowed) that explains team member roles and responsibilities, deliverables, percent time allocation, and project timeline that describes or charts completion of the proposed work.


Within the award limit, provide a budget that convincingly justifies the request for funds as evidenced by proposed activities, outcomes, and deliverables, and that is consistent with team member roles and responsibilities. View additional budget guidelines.

Submission Instructions:

Apply online through the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research, Special Programs.

Proposal Selection Criteria

The following criteria will be used by the review committee, comprised of UIUC faculty and Extension professionals, to rate each proposal: View the rubric.

At the discretion of the Director of Extension, top-scoring proposals may be selected to ensure a diversity of collaborations across campus and Extension units and/or to ensure projects address issues across diverse public stakeholders in Illinois.

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