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Submissions for 2018 will be accepted from March 1 to May 1, 2018.

Small Research Grants

Each year, ACCU offers a maximum of five small research grants to facilitate research projects that advance understanding of Catholic higher education in the United States. Projects that provide new information or develop data-gathering tools or methodologies regarding the assessment of Catholic mission and identity are especially welcome. Read descriptions of projects awarded 2017 Small Research Grants.

As projects are completed, researchers are asked to prepare an article for Update, a white paper for the ACCU website, or a research paper to be submitted to the Journal of Catholic Higher Education.

Grants for individual projects may range up to $2,500. The money will be used toward any legitimate research expense and may be combined with grants from the researcher’s home campus. Student projects (seminar papers, thesis, dissertations) conducted primarily to fulfill requirements of a class or a degree program are not eligible. Applicants must be employed as faculty or staff at an ACCU member institution. Priority will be given to those who have not received an ACCU small research grant in the past.


Proposal Criteria

Appropriate projects will:

  • Advance understanding of an aspect of Catholic higher education
  • Include a common good outcome
  • Be of interest and applicable to a variety of campuses, not just one
  • Employ sound methods of data gathering and analysis
  • Use quantitative or qualitative methodologies
  • Be practical and of an appropriate scale to the grant available


Application Components

Cover Sheet: List the title of the project, primary sponsor and contact information, amount requested, and a 100-word description of the project. An administrative contact (grants officer or business office administrator) must be identified. The cover sheet must be signed by the sponsor and the administrative contact.

Narrative: Please provide a description of the research problem/challenge and its significance to Catholic higher education, how the project expands our understanding of an aspect of Catholic higher education and who in Catholic colleges and universities will find the research of interest, a description of the source of data, the methods of analysis to be used, and the final product to be produced, and the research timeline to fit within the parameters of this grant. Please limit the narrative to two pages (single-spaced).

BudgetProvide an itemized list of proposed expenditures (stipends, travel, teaching materials, fees, etc.). Support from other sources should also be listed if a project’s total cost is expected to exceed $2,500. Given the small size of the grant, it is expected that institutions will not assess overhead charges. Funds will be released only when the project is completed and the summary report has been received.

Evaluation Rubric

  • Important, well-conceived research idea
  • Focuses on aspect(s) important to Catholic higher education
  • Topic likely to interest audience beyond the home campus
  • Proposal is complete and clearly presented
  • Projected project is realistic in scope relative to research resources
  • Expenditures focus on appropriate research costs
  • Data gathered/analyzed sufficient to proposal
  • Researcher(s) appear to have expertise needed to execute project.
  • A concrete research product will result

Allowable Expenses

Grant funds may be used for the following expenses:

  • Payment of charges for access to existing data
  • Purchase of software
  • Hiring of student research assistance
  • Data-gathering costs such as duplicating or small payments to study participants
  • Purchase of library services
  • Salary support for the researcher

Should a human subjects review be necessary, the researcher must obtain the review from the institutional review board of his or her home campus. Projects may be provisionally accepted when the human subjects review is in process.

Applications for the Small Research Grants program must be submitted electronically as either a Word document or in PDF form. Submissions for 2018 will be accepted beginning on March 1, 2018, and no later than May 1, 2018. Awardees will receive notification by mid-May. Applicants should feel free to contact ACCU to help shape the project or ask about expenses not listed above. Proposals will be reviewed by a 3- to 5-person panel. Final project summary reports are to be submitted to ACCU by no later than October 31, 2018. Those receiving grants agree that ACCU will have the first option to publish a brief report (typically 1-2 pages) of the project in its Update newsletter within 12 months. Alternately, a summary of the research will be available in the research section of the ACCU website. Researchers are also encouraged to submit their studies to the Journal of Catholic Higher Education for consideration. Publication in other arenas should acknowledge ACCU support.

Please address questions or comments to rsawyer@accunet.org.