Community-Engaged Research Award (CERA) Application Guidelines

Community-engaged research is a collaborative process between universities and various community organizations. The goal of such research is to improve community well-being and to describe, through participatory knowledge creation and creative expression, how this is accomplished. Community-engaged research respects the capacity of all stakeholders to contribute to the development of new knowledge and incorporates them in the design, conduct and dissemination of the different phases of the research process. Community-engaged research is founded upon the principles of social responsibility, respect, reciprocity, democratization of knowledge creation, and social and/or ecological justice.
Lakehead University has a long history and reputation of excellence in community engagement, regionally, nationally and internationally. Lakehead University’s commitment to social justice is a stated priority in the University’s Strategic Plan. We believe that by working together we can make a positive difference and contribute to a more sustainable, just and healthy society.
Through this prestigious award, Lakehead University aims to recognize community-engaged research projects, along with the researchers, students and community partners who have made those projects possible. The Community-Engaged Research Award will be given annually to individuals/teams of Lakehead University faculty members, students and community organizations in recognition of a community-engaged research project they have conducted that has had a positive and/or transformative impact. Although this award recognizes both the project and the researcher(s) who conducted it, evaluation is based on the impact of one specific project, rather than on a researcher’s overall research program. The project should be at a point (i.e., completed or near completion) where evidence of impact can be demonstrated.
Tenure-track and tenured Lakehead faculty members, along with their students and community partners, are eligible for this award.
For the purposes of this award, community partners are defined as any partner that is not another post-secondary institution or private sector institution. This includes grassroots, not-for- profit, and public sector organizations.
Application Process and Deadline:
Applications should be submitted by March 15, 2023 by 11:59 pm through the ROMEO research portal. Applications are welcomed from full-time faculty members on behalf of their research teams (including students and community partners). Application packages will include the following documentation:
1. Form to be completed in ROMEO which includes a plain language summary of 150-200 words describing the objectives and impact of the project, and a description of how the project meets the evaluation criteria described below.
2. Letters of support (minimum 1; maximum 3). Letters can come from the community organization(s) and/or research participants; there is also an option of including a letter from (a) student(s) who conducted research and/or did service learning as part of the project. The letters of support should address the evaluation criteria below.
3. Additional evidence of recognition that the applicant wishes to submit in support of the application (Maximum 3 items).
For further information regarding the Community-Engaged Research Award, please contact Anne Klymenko at 807-343-8010 Ext. 8223 or by email at
Presentation of the Award:
A Selection Committee will be established to review submitted applications. The Selection Committee will include representation from full-time faculty members and community organizations that have previous experience in community-engaged research. The award will be presented during C2UExpo 2023. If there are no suitable applications in any given year, the award will not be presented.
A $500 award will be presented to the Principal Investigator. In addition, a $500 award will be presented to the community partner to further their research capacity- building activities. Certificates will be presented to the entire team. Where there are multiple community partners, the research team will decide which organization will receive the award.
Evaluation Criteria:
Community Partnership & Involvement (40% weighting)
• To what degree were community partners involved in: generation of the research question, project design/development of methodology, data analysis/interpretation of results, and/or implementation/dissemination of results?
• How has/have the partner(s) been involved in decision-making?
Demonstrated Positive Impact on Community (40% weighting)
• Do the aims of the research meet community needs? How?
• Has participating in the research project had a positive effect on the community partner(s) and/or the people they serve?
• What is the potential of this research project to have a sustainable impact and/or to grow into new research directions?
Capacity Building (20% weighting)
• Does the project increase the capacity of the community partner(s) to engage in research activities?
• Does the project increase Lakehead University’s capacity to carry out community-engaged research?
• Does the project foster student engagement with community-engaged research methods and/or community service learning?
• Does the project involve the mentoring of early career researchers, community researchers, collaborators, or highly qualified personnel?
• Has the project attracted external funding to support CER either through Lakehead or the partner organization (i.e., SSHRC Partnership programs, Trillium, etc.)
Important to Note:
1) In evaluation, emphasis will be put on enhanced capacity of the community partner to conduct research; enhanced capacity within Lakehead University will be considered secondary.
2) If service learning is a significant component of the researcher’s work, student involvement may be weighted more heavily to recognize its importance to the project/program of research.