Community-University Engagement Support (CUES) Fund

UPDATE: Notice of Intent deadline has been extended to September 18, 2019. CUES NOI form is now available!

Application Deadline: October 18, 2019
All applicants must submit an NOI to be eligible.

Fostering community engagement is a central priority in UBC’s new strategic plan (Shaping UBC’s Next Century). The Community-University Engagement Support (CUES) fund is designed to foster and support community-university engagements with diverse communities by offsetting costs for community partners who are collaborating with or seeking to collaborate with UBC partners on research, teaching or learning projects.

CUES is jointly sponsored by UBC Community Engagement, Vice-President External Relations, and the Vice-President Research & Innovation to deepen the relevance and public impact of UBC research and education, support the translation of research into action and strengthen university engagement and collaboration with local communities, particularly those who have been historically underserved, marginalized and/or excluded.

A total of $500,000 is available for this competition. Funds will be awarded directly to community partners and are intended to support new or established UBC-community partnerships via two funding streams:

CUES funds for exploring new community-university partnerships

  • Up to $15,000 per project (min. $7,500)

CUES exploration funds support new community and university partnerships who are building new relationships to promote diverse perspectives and approaches and accomplish shared goals. These funds are specifically designed to help new and innovative partnerships get off the ground by ensuring partners have the necessary time and resources to build trust, define shared interests, identify knowledge gaps and shared goals and to design collaborative research, teaching or learning projects.

CUES funds for sustaining community-university partnerships

  • Up to $30,000 per project (min. $15,000)

Many community-university partners are currently engaged in high quality collaborative research, teaching and learning projects. In recognition of the work of community partners, CUES funds for sustaining community-university partnerships help to fill resource gaps experienced by partners who have already been working collaboratively and want to do more. In doing so, CUES funds for sustaining partnerships can be used to keep a partnership afloat, activate the results of previous collaboration and drive the work to have more direct impacts in partnership with communities.

* Please note that the direct costs of research are ineligible expenses for all CUES fund streams.


All CUES proposals will be evaluated by an adjudication panel that will use two sets of criteria in their review. These criteria are designed to assess the overall strength of your proposal based on the activities and outcomes you have proposed and how well each component of your application aligns with the principles of community engagement.

1. Project Activity & Outcomes Criteria

All CUES applications will be assessed based on the overall strength and viability of the activities and outcomes you and your partner have proposed. The CUES review panel will use the following criteria to evaluate your proposal:

Criteria Sub-criteria
Community need

Community-Identified Need

  • Directly addresses a well-defined community-identified need
  • Exchange of resources between partners demonstrates that equitable engagement is considered throughout proposal

Common, Shared Purpose

  • UBC and community partners have jointly identified a common, shared purpose for building a relationship or partnership
  • Mutual benefits of a new relationship or partnership for community and UBC partners are clearly identified and explained
  • Proposal reflects the needs, priorities and interests of diverse communities that may be affected

Partnership capacity & responsiveness

Partnership and Project Viability

  • Detailed project timeline clearly identifies all relevant activities
  • Community and UBC partners are committed to establishing or maintaining a sustainable relationship or partnership
  • Community and UBC partners have the necessary resources to engage in relationship-building activities

Responsiveness to Community

  • Recognizes community context and capacity to engage in relationship-building activities and identifies specific ways to address potential challenges
  • Identifies an approach for responding to changing community contexts that may affect capacity to build an equitable relationship

Community impact

Promising Plan for Community Impact

  • Impacts and benefits of a new relationship are clearly articulated for community partners and communities and linked to proposed activities and outcomes
  • Presents a detailed, community-driven approach for assessing and demonstrating the value of relationship-building activities

Partner and Community Involvement

  • Strong indication that community and UBC partners co-developed the proposal with community impact as a priority
  • Strong commitment to engage with communities who have been historically disadvantaged, marginalized and/or excluded
  • Regular involvement of community partners and communities will support community-level relationship-building and decision-making

* Guiding questions and detailed scoring rubrics will be provided in the applicant guides to help co-applicants consider each of the criteria above.

2. Principles of Community Engagement Criteria

In addition to the above Activities and Outcomes Criteria, all proposals will be assessed based on alignment with the following principles of community engagement:

The applicants demonstrate how they will work collaboratively towards a common purpose and exchange resources (i.e. time, materials, expertise, capacity, knowledge/skills, etc.) as demonstrations of their commitment to building trusting, equitable relationships between and amongst co-applicants and communities.

Flexibility and Openness
The applicants articulate how they will actively invest in the co-creation and/or exchange of diverse knowledges and remain aware of and responsive to changing contexts and priorities in the community, including risks that may arise during the project period or after its completion.

The applicants articulate how they will engage in clear and honest dialogue and decision-making between partners and with communities who are involved in and/or affected by the proposed work.

Diversity and Inclusion
The applicants demonstrate a strong commitment to seek out, listen to and learn from communities who have been historically disadvantaged, marginalized and/or excluded and to actively recognize, respect and value diverse knowledges, experiences and contexts.


  • All CUES fund proposals must be co-signed by at least one UBC partner and one community partner (funds are available to community partners who are actively working with faculty, student or staff at UBC Vancouver or Okanagan campuses).
  • UBC partners must be current faculty, student, or staff.
  • Community partners must be either registered charities or other qualified donee.
  • Eligibility limited to one application per community-university partnership or collaborative project. Applicants who have co-signed on a CUES application may co-sign or otherwise support another application if that proposal is associated with a different partnership and collaborative project.
  • All approved projects must be co-led by a UBC faculty, staff member or student and a local community partner (in either Vancouver or Okanagan regions) throughout the entire project period.
  • CUES project periods cannot exceed 18 months from the date of receipt of funding. Extensions of up to six months may be considered on a case-by-case basis.
  • International partnerships are not currently eligible for support through CUES.

How to apply

  1. Submit Notice of Intent
    Deadline: September 18, 2019
    All applicants must submit an NOI.
    NOIs will not be reviewed. They are an administrative requirement to be considered for CUES funding.

  2. Submit application
    Deadline: October 18, 2019
    Application packages will be provided in the coming weeks. Stay tuned for updates.

Past recipients

View the 10 partnerships awarded last year.


What is a CUES community partner?

Community partners must be registered Canadian charities or other qualified donees.

For the exploring new relationships stream, community partners are those community organizations who have initiated early conversations about possible engagement and/or partnership with UBC faculty, students, and/or staff and who are willing to co-create, review, and sign-off on a CUES project proposal.

Community partners for the CUES sustaining existing partnerships stream are those eligible organizations who have collaborated previously with UBC faculty, students, and/or staff and who are willing to co-create, review, and sign-off on a CUES project proposal.

At this time, international partnerships are ineligible for funding.

How will my CUES application be reviewed?

A CUES adjudication committee will be assembled to review all applications including a mix of UBC faculty and staff and community representatives to ensure the perspectives and knowledges of evaluators reflect the diverse group of CUES co-applicants. The review panel will meet in person to finalize rankings of proposals and make recommendations for funding.

The CUES review panel will adjudicate all eligible CUES proposals based on two sets of evaluation criteria: Project Activity and Outcome criteria and Principles of Community Engagement criteria. Please see the Criteria Tab on the CUES website and your CUES applicant guide for more information about CUES evaluation criteria (CUES applicant guides will be provided by UBC Community Engagement.

Do I have to submit a Notice of Intent and a complete application form to be eligible?

Yes. All applicants are required to submit a completed Notice of Intent (due September 18, 2019). Applicants who successfully submit an NOI by the August deadline will be invited to complete and submit a CUES proposal (due October 18, 2019).

Please review the funding criteria in the application guidelines documents to ensure your project is eligible.

Does this fund include UBC Okanagan?

Yes. All UBC campuses and sites are eligible to apply for CUES funding.

How many applications will be supported per stream?

A total funding envelope of $500,000 is available for the 2019 intake. The review panel will have discretion to use funds to support the highest quality proposals selected from all streams. There is no guarantee of funding for an equal number of applications from each stream.

Will there be another round of CUES?

CUES is currently in the second year of a 4-year pilot. Following the 2019 intake, we will be continuing the program annually until 2021.

The outcomes and learnings from this pilot will determine if a case can be made for a sustainable fund in the future. To support our efforts to make this case, we will be asking applicants, recipients and reviewers for their feedback to improve this funding program.

Do you accept electronic signatures?


How does the funding work?

CUES funding is designed to be disbursed as a grant directly to community partner organizations. Funds will be distributed in two instalments (75 per cent initially, with a 25 per cent reserve that will be released following the first round of reporting).

Successful applicants will receive notice of award by January 2020 and will be asked to submit an invoice from the community organization that will receive the funds. All funded activities must take place within 18 months of the funding being received.

Can we apply to more than one funding stream?

Each partnership may only apply for one funding stream. It is possible for either the community organization or the UBC faculty, student or staff member to be involved in a different proposal, so long as that proposal and partnership are not associated with any other application.

Can funds go directly to an individual? Or to a UBC faculty or unit?

Funds must go to a community partner organization with an eligible GST, BN or Tax Exemption Number. Please contact us before submitting your application if this poses a serious problem for your partnership.

Can we use funds to hire a UBC student?

CUES is not a funding program to support UBC student placements in community settings that are part of a mandatory or elective degree program (i.e. where a student is hired in support of program completion), and it is not a sustainable resource that can be relied upon to fill structural or ongoing needs for student placements.

Student placements with an employer or host organization require support to protect the rights and interests of both student and partner. Several UBC programs are devoted to providing those supports.

CUES is designed to recognize the role of community partners in collaborative community-university projects. Project teams can use CUES funds to hire personnel who are best suited to support project activities. In rare, the most experienced and qualified personnel may be students at UBC (i.e. where is a student is determined by the community partner to be the most eligible candidate for the position, but not because of their affiliation with UBC).

If you would like to consider this as a possibility in your application, please contact us to discuss.

How may funds be used?

CUES funding streams have different sets of eligibility and budgeting requirements. Please refer to the application guidelines for the stream you are interested in.

What are the reporting requirements?

CUES funding agreements include three stages of reporting: (1) an initial budget report due by no later than six months after funding is received—after which the remaining 25 per cent of reserved funds will be released; (2) a project progress report due no later than one year after funding is received; and, (3) a final report of all project activities and outcomes no more than three months after the project completion date.

CUES recipients will also be asked to attend a gathering within one year of the project completion date, and may be asked to participate in events to share the story of their work.

Deliverables and expectations for all streams are intentionally flexible in recognition of the varied project types and capacities that are supported through community-university partnerships. Download the application package for each stream for more information.

How can I use the applicant guide as we co-develop our proposal?

The CUES applicant guides are designed to share all the information you will need to co-develop your application. These guides contain important information about who can apply and how, reminders about important deadlines, an overview of eligible/ineligible expenses, and the CUES evaluation criteria.

To help you navigate the CUES criteria, we have included detailed scoring rubrics and sets of guiding questions to help you consider and address the criteria as you co-develop an application.

Each guide is specific to each stream, so be sure to use the version that is designed for your funding stream.

Contact us

If you have any questions, please email Ryan Brown. Due to the high volume of inquiries at this time, please note that it may take a few days to respond to your questions.

Ryan Brown
Advisor, Community Engagement

Submit a Notice of Intent

All applicants must submit a Notice of Intent. NOIs will not be reviewed. They are an administrative requirement to be considered for CUES funding.
Deadline: Sept. 18, 2019.

Go to NOI form

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