Community-University Engagement Support (CUES) Fund

Get up to $25,000 to support community-university partnerships and projects.

The Community-University Engagement Support (CUES) Fund awards up to $25,000 to support community-university partnerships that benefit communities across the province and advance collaborative research, teaching, and learning. 

Paid directly to community partners, funding removes financial barriers and prioritizes reciprocal, inclusive engagement so all communities — especially those that have been and continue to be underserved, marginalized, or excluded — can benefit. 

The fund helps applicants develop new or existing community-university relationships and especially welcomes applications from collaborative projects that advance: 

  • Equity, diversity, and inclusion  
  • Indigenous engagement and reconciliation  
  • Health innovation and community wellbeing  
  • Sustainability and climate action  
  • Teaching, learning, and research excellence 

The CUES Fund is jointly administered by UBC Community Engagement and the Office of the Vice-President, Research and Innovation

Applications are currently closed

The fund is expected to open again in September 2023. Funding is open to BC-based community partners and UBC students, faculty and staff.

Click here to jump to application FAQs.

The CUES Fund in action

The CUES Fund is unique in the Canadian post-secondary and research funding landscape, in that it provides funding directly to community partners. Since 2017, the fund has awarded $1,759,222 to 83 different community groups — including 32 Indigenous communities and organizations — and university partners from 10 different faculties across UBC Vancouver and Okanagan campuses.


Who can apply?

Each CUES application must include two applicants who are the main points of contact for the proposal:

  • a co-applicant that represents an eligible BC-based community partner
  • and a co-applicant that is a current UBC faculty, staff, or student at either Vancouver or Okanagan campuses

Eligible community partners should be a registered charity or qualified donee listed by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). If the community partner co-applicant is not a qualified donee, a community organization that is a qualified donee or a UBC department may be permitted to act as a financial intermediary. If you know who may act as a financial intermediary for your project, please indicate this in your application.

If additional partners beyond the two co-applicants will be involved in the proposed work, please indicate this in the “project description” and “partnership/relationship” description sections in the online application form.

The CUES fund is not able to support projects outside of Canada.

Who receives the funding?

CUES funding is paid directly to the community co-applicant. In cases where a community partner is unable to accept a grant, funds may be disbursed to the partnering UBC department or unit or other qualified donee.

What are the CUES fund criteria?

Strong CUES applications will address the following criteria:

  • Articulates a well-defined, community-identified opportunity, priority area, or need
  • Embodies our principles of engagement
  • And demonstrates how it supports at least one of the university’s institutional priorities:
    • Equity, diversity, and inclusion
    • Indigenous engagement and reconciliation
    • Health innovation and community wellbeing
    • Sustainability and climate action
    • Teaching, learning, research excellence

You can review our evaluation criteria here.

How do I apply?

Applying for the CUES fund is a two-step process.

Step 1: Submit a Notice of Intent (NOI)

All co-applicants are required to develop and submit a Notice of Intent (NOI) to confirm their eligibility and provide a brief description of their proposed work together. The NOI is for administrative purposes only. It is non-competitive and will not be evaluated. Everyone who meets the eligibility requirements and submits an NOI will be invited to submit a full application.

Step 2: Submit a full application

All eligible applicants who submit an NOI will receive an email invitation on October 21, 2022, to submit their full application for the 2022/23 CUES fund. Applications are due on January 3, 2023.

How may funds be used?

Funding is intentionally flexible to support the different costs that are associated with community engagement activities. However, eligible expenses must be related to the proposed relationship and/or partnership-building activities and outcomes. Examples of eligible expenses include:

  • Salary/stipends for project team members supporting relationship and/or partnership-building activities
  • Honoraria for community members, elders, leaders and knowledge keepers or brokers
  • Training or education fees necessary for project team members to fully participate or contribute
  • Program or organizational evaluations or assessments
  • Engagement costs, including travel & accommodation, facilities/space rental fees, for meetings, hospitality, and catering costs
  • Equipment and supplies that directly support relationship and/or partnership-building activities
  • Administrative costs related to running the project or working with a financial intermediary (if necessary); please consult with us before including this budget line item in your application

What can funds NOT be used for?

Funding is not intended as a replacement for other sources of direct research funding or daily operational costs, or as an alternative source of funding for expenses not typically eligible by other research grants. Examples of ineligible expenses include:

  • Direct costs of research, e.g., costs associated with data collection, analysis, or academic conference presentations
  • Administrative or core costs/expenses for community organizations, e.g., salaries associated with an organization’s daily operations or programming or office equipment
  • Costs of alcohol (or related costs such as liquor licenses) 

Do I need to provide a report at the conclusion of our project?

Yes. We ask that all recipients submit a narrative and financial report within three months of the project end date. A template will be provided to all recipients. Alternative forms of reporting such as an interview or site visit will also be considered. Please reach out to us to discuss options.

In addition, CUES recipients are asked to notify us of any materials that were developed with the support of CUES funding. Examples of materials include, but are not limited to, final publications, reports, event materials, and audio or video productions. With permission and in accordance with OCAP (ownership, control, access, and possession) principles, UBC Community Engagement may share these as examples of work supported by the CUES program.

Can I apply to the CUES fund more than once?


When can I expect to receive funding for my project?

We expect all payments to be processed by March 31, 2023.

How competitive is the CUES fund?

The CUES fund is highly competitive. On average, 30% of applicants receive funding.

What is the review process?

CUES fund proposals are adjudicated by a multidisciplinary review panel composed of UBC faculty members, staff members, and local community representatives. All proposals are initially reviewed and scored by three separate reviewers using our evaluation criteria.

A review panel then convenes to finalize rankings of applications and make recommendations for funding. 

If you are interested in joining our review panel, please reach out to Shayla Walker at

Can I use Partnership Recognition and Exploration funding to develop our CUES application?

Absolutely! We recognize that many recipients of the Partnership Recognition and Exploration (PRE) Fund have used PRE funding to build reciprocal relationships between UBC and community partners. Several of these partnerships have gone on to apply to the CUES fund to further develop and grow their projects.

Learn more about the PRE fund and how to apply here.

Still have questions? Contact us at

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