Community-University Engagement Support (CUES) Fund

Application Deadline: Oct. 23, 2019 (new date)
Only applicants who submitted an NOI are eligible to apply.

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 community and university partners 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.

Eligible activities may include relationship-building or planning meetings, networking events, needs assessments, consultations, co-development of partnership agreements, and other activities that allow co-applicants to explore and build new community-university relationships and partnerships.

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.

Activities may include piloting community-level program or service implementations, developing or delivering community-level training, co-producing guides or decision-making tools, evaluating impact from previous collaborative projects, or other activities that drive positive change and impact in the community through community-university partnerships.

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

Principles of Community Engagement

The Community-University Engagement Support (CUES) Fund helps to foster and support principled engagement between UBC faculty, students or staff and diverse communities, by offsetting costs for community partners who collaborate with or are seeking to collaborate with UBC on research, teaching or learning projects.

The promotion of principled community engagement is foundational to CUES. It is expected that co-applicants can demonstrate how their work together is in alignment with principles of reciprocity, flexibility and openness, transparency, and diversity and inclusion:


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

Flexibility & Openness

The co-applicants actively invest in the co-creation and/or exchange of knowledges between diverse communities and remain aware of and responsive to changing contexts and priorities in the community, including risks that may arise during a project or after its completion.


The co-applicants engage in clear, honest dialogue and decision-making between partners and with communities who are involved in and/or affected by their work.

Diversity & Inclusion

The co-applicants seek out, listen to and learn from communities who have been historically disadvantaged, marginalized and/or excluded and actively recognize, respect and value diverse knowledges, experiences and contexts.

Evaluation Criteria

A CUES adjudication committee will be assembled to review all applications and include 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 principles of community engagement (reciprocity, transparency, flexibility and openness, and diversity and inclusion) are foundational to the CUES program and guided the development of evaluation criteria.

All CUES proposals will be evaluated by the CUES review panel using the following criteria:

  • Community Need
  • Partnership and Project Viability
  • Community Impact

Criteria Sub-criteria
Community Need

Community-Identified Need

  • Directly addresses a well-defined community-identified need
  • Exchange and pooling of resources and contributions by partners demonstrates that equitable engagement is considered throughout the proposal

Common, Shared Purpose

  • Proposal clearly explains how each partner will be able to achieve respective goals/mission through a common, shared purpose
  • Mutual benefits of a new relationship or partnership for community and UBC partners are clearly identified and explained

Partnership & Project Viability

Partnership Viability and Project Feasibility

  • Detailed project timeline clearly identifies all relevant activities
  • Co-applicants articulate a clear commitment to maintain a strong, sustainable relationship or partnership, including any potential next steps, activities or spin-off collaborations
  • Proposed outcomes are reasonable and achievable, and co-applicants describes milestones and deliverables within a defined timeline and a budget that is appropriate and justified

Responsiveness to Community

  • Identifies potential challenges related to community context and capacity to engage, and proposes solutions
  • Identifies an approach or mechanisms for responding to any changing community contexts that may affect capacity to equitably engage

Community Impact

Promising Plan for Community Impact

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

Project Relevance and Community Involvement

  • Co-applicants clearly demonstrate how project activities and outcomes are relevant to the community
  • Strong commitment to engage with communities who have been historically disadvantaged, marginalized and/or excluded
  • Co-applicants include a detailed plan for regular involvement of community partners and any communities who may be interested in or affected or impacted by proposed activities and outcomes

Project Eligibility

  • 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 registered Canadian charities or other qualified donees. Please check with the finance or administrative team at the partnering organization to confirm that they can fulfill this requirement.
  • 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.

Eligible Expenses

Funding is intentionally flexible to support the different costs that are associated with community engagement activities. Below are examples of eligible and ineligible expenses:

Eligible Expenses
Expenses must be directly 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

Ineligible Expenses

  • CUES funds are not intended as a replacement for other sources of research funding and may not be used to cover the direct costs of research (for example, costs associated with data collection or analysis, or academic conference presentations).
  • CUES funds may not be used to cover any administrative or core costs/expenses for partner organizations such as office equipment, salary costs associated with an organization’s daily operations or programming).
  • Costs of alcohol are not eligible

How to apply

  1. Submit Notice of Intent
    Deadline: September 18, 2019
    NOI deadline has passed. Only those who submitted an NOI are eligible to apply.
    Note that NOIs are not reviewed. They are an administrative requirement.

  2. Submit application
    Deadline: October 23, 2019
    Application packages will be provided in the coming weeks. Stay tuned for updates.

CUES Proposal Requirements

All eligible co-applicants are required to submit a co-signed application by October 23, 2019. Completed applications will include the following:

Section (page length) Proposal Details to Include

Project Team Information

(1 page)

  • Names, contact information and signatures for co-signing UBC and community partners
  • Names of additional project partners
  • Sign-off by faculty representative (for UBC student co-applicants only)

Project Description

(2 pages)

  • Project/partnership goals
  • Community needs/priorities to address
  • Approaches to engagement
  • Previous related engagements or activities

Project Activities, Outcomes and Impacts

(1 page)

  • Proposed activities to be undertaken
  • Expected outcomes from the project
  • Expected community-level changes that will result

Statement of Partnership

(1 page)

Each co-applicant will be asked to offer a statement of partnership that indicates the following:
  • Interest in working together
  • Anticipated activities/roles
  • Resources needed for partner involvement
  • Strengths/knowledge partners bring to project
  • Previous related work or engagements that is relevant to proposed work
  • Overview of plan to manage project funds, incl. partner responsibilities
  • Evidence of related formalized community-university relationships, e.g. a partnership agreement, memorandum of understanding or agreement, etc. (not required for Explore stream)


(1 page)

  • Expense items (description)
  • Projected costs, with detailed breakdown by expense item ($)
  • Project activities supported, by expense item (description)
  • Total projected cost for proposal ($)

Hyperlinks are disabled in the CUES application form text fields (as well as other formatting including bold, italics, etc.).

Co-applicants who would like to include hyperlinks are asked to create a hyperlinks reference document, which can be sent as a separate attachment with your completed proposal.

References in the attached hyperlinks reference document should use the following format:

Author Last Name(s), First Name(s). “Title of Article or Webpage.” Title of Website, URL

EXAMPLE: UBC Community Engagement. “Community-University Engagement Support Funding.” The University of British Columbia,

To cite in the body of the proposal, indicate either of the following in parentheses:

  • Last Name of First Author
  • Title of Article or Webpage

Co-applicants may omit any information in the reference style, as needed. Please let UBC Community Engagement know if the suggested style is not possible in your proposal.

We are very sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.

Expectations/Deliverables for Recipients

Funded CUES partnerships are required to produce three deliverables. Project teams are also asked to share information about any products, activities and events related to their CUES funding and to participate in a flexible engagement opportunity. All reporting requirements are flexible to match the needs and capabilities of community-university partnerships.

Deliverable Purpose Options

Invoice & Letter of Agreement (LOA)

To confirm agreement for use of CUES funding by both UBC and community partners

To request and receive initial installment of CUES funding (75%)

LOA to be signed by both partners and emailed to UBC Community Engagement. LOA and invoice must be submitted immediately following notification of approval to finalize and disperse CUES funding.

Invoice to be emailed to UBC Community Engagement within 30 days of notice of approval.

Interim Project Meetings with UBC Community Engagement (2)

CUES recipients to arrange 2 interim meetings with UBC Community Engagement.

Interim Meeting 1
Meeting 1 to focus on early assessment of funding allocations and project activities completed to-date. Following meeting, UBC Community Engagement to approve release of remaining CUES funds (25%).

Interim Meeting 2
Meeting 2 to focus on early assessment of key activities and outcomes achieved and to identify key challenges and need for additional supports.

Interim project meetings with UBC Community Engagement to be arranged with applicants based on availability and preference of community-university partners (e.g. in-person, by-phone, etc.).

Meetings to be scheduled based on length of proposed project (e.g. for 18 month projects, meeting 1 to take place approximately 6 months following the project start-date; meeting 2 to take place at approximately the 1-year mark following the project start-date.

Final Project Feedback: Outcomes & Impacts

Final Project Feedback to describe:

  • The original aims of the project
  • Who was involved in the implementation activities and why
  • Whether implementation plans/activities were successful (outcomes) and what needs have been addressed or met (impacts)
  • How CUES funds were used to support these outcomes and impacts

Funded partnerships will be asked to indicate a preferred format for Final Project Feedback (template to be provided).

Written submissions are preferred, but alternative arrangements can be made, including in-person meetings, teleconferencing, etc.

Final Products Developed

UBC Community Engagement to be notified of any final publications, reports, event materials, audio/video productions, etc. We want to share these as examples of what can be supported using CUES funds.

We want to hear from you about the key products and events that you will support using CUES funds.

We also ask that you include UBC or UBC Community Engagement logos or invite UBC Community Engagement team members to events, as appropriate. Please indicate in your application any relevant products, materials, or events that will be developed or held.

End of Year Engagement

Applicants may choose to select one or both options:

  • CUES Project Story, shared via UBC communications channels, including the UBC website and social media
  • Annual CUES Gathering (as a presentation, workshop session, etc.)

UBC Community Engagement to coordinate end of year engagements.

Indicate in your proposal if you would be interested to share the story of your project and/or attend a future CUES gathering.

UBC will use information to promote CUES and create toolkits or other resources for future applicants.

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, as required under the Income Tax Act. This requirement means recipients must be able to provide a verifiable and registered status number.

The best way to confirm whether a community partner can fulfill this requirement is to check with the finance or administrative team at the organization, who would use this information as part of their tax reporting and financial processes.

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 cases, the most experienced and qualified personnel may be students at UBC (i.e. where 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 Holly Kim. Due to the high volume of inquiries at this time, please note that it may take a few days to respond to your questions.

Holly Kim
CUES Program Manager, Community Engagement

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