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Community-Engaged Health Research Fellowships

Vice President and Associate Provost for Research and Graduate Studies
Center for Community Engagement

Through the Community-Engaged Health Research Fellowship program we aim to significantly enhance the capacity of Lehigh faculty to conduct research that involves direct, reciprocal community engagement in the realm of health and to offer high quality service-learning experiences for students. The program is open to all members of the faculty.

For each faculty Fellow who receives an award, the program

  • supports conduct of community-engaged health research,

  • supports development of the Fellow’s capacity to undertake future community-engaged research and service learning projects and to serve as an advisor and mentor to colleagues, and

  • may support offering of service learning experiences for students under the Fellow’s leadership.

Community-engaged research is a process carried out by and between academic researchers and non-academic community partner(s) that creates and disseminates knowledge with the combined goals of contributing to the disciplines and strengthening the well-being of the community. In short, the research project must be a shared endeavor of the academic and community partners, each of whom must have a substantial role in planning and conduct of the research and interpretation, dissemination and translation of results. A reciprocal, trust-based relationship with the community partner is essential and the project should build further upon that relationship.

As used here, health research includes all research on promotion and maintenance of physical and/or mental health, including research on prevention and reduction of diseases, research in the natural sciences related to disease and mechanisms thereof, research on the reduction of health risks or to transition research advances to community use, epidemiological and behavioral studies, and development of new technologies.

This specific opportunity is best for members of the faculty who have projects conceived and community partnerships established.

The fellowship will provide

  • a grant of up to $10,000 to cover the direct costs of conduct of the research.

  • faculty salary of up to 25% for one semester, contingent upon

    • dedication of a minimum of 25% effort to the research project during this time period, and

    • use of the realized salary savings, coincident with or subsequent to the research project, to
      (a) cover additional direct costs of research, and/or
      (b) to cover documented departmental costs of reducing the faculty member’s classroom teaching obligations, and/or
      (c) support an experiential learning program for students that is closely related to the research topic, which may be organized independently or may utilize (with the Fellow’s own funding) the paradigms of established programs such as Mountaintop, Grants for Experiential Learning in Health, Global Citizenship Capstone, IDEAS Capstone, etc.

With the intent of developing personal capacity for conduct of community-engaged research and related scholarship of service learning, and as preparation to support colleagues, each Fellow will devote time in-residence with the Center for Community Engagement. Each Fellow will

  1. Participate in professional development on service-learning, community engagement, and community-engaged research skills (e.g. workshops,  review of current literature in relation to the Fellow’s project, etc.).

  2. Work with the Center for Community Engagement to identify ways in which their research relates to or helps to clarify strategic priorities in the region.

  3. Be prepared to initiate or further develop academic-community research partnerships in accord with the values and ethics of reciprocal community engagement.

  4. Be prepared to develop experiential and service-learning experience(s) for future implementation in for-credit activities.

To allow time for Fellows to arrange for focusing their efforts on the research project and other components of the fellowship, fellowships may be scheduled to begin in Spring 2017 or in Summer or Fall 2017. Summer salary, however, cannot be provided. Fellows will work with the Center for Community Engagement to arrange the timing of their professional development activities relative to conduct of their research projects and associated experiential education programs.

How to apply

Applications should follow the following format. Submit as a single pdf file by email to

  1. A cover page including a descriptive title for the project and the applicant’s name and departmental affiliation and the signatures of the applicant and the applicant’s department chair or dean (required if the applicant is a department chair).

  2. A description of the research project of no more than two pages. Identify the research question that the study will address and describe the approach to be taken to addressing the question. Describe the origin of the research question, e.g., in background literature, in the applicant’s prior work, in public or other data sources, etc., including whether the question was identified by the applicant, by community members or in collaboration with community members, etc. Describe the roles of the applicant and other Lehigh faculty, students and staff, and of community partners in the planning and conduct of research and interpretation and dissemination of results.

  3. Identification of community partners. Identify the community partners involved, providing evidence that necessary trust relationships, congruence or complementarity of goals, and commitments have been established.

  4. A description of the associated experiential learning program, if any, limited to one page. Describe the anticipated student experience and its relationship to the research project. The experiential learning program may take forms established by existing programs such as Mountaintop, Grants for Experiential Learning in Health, Global Citizenship Capstone, IDEAS Capstone, etc. (with costs borne by the Fellow’s budget), as a for-credit course, or another format devised by the Fellow.

  5. Budget, including

    1. Research budget including necessary student stipends and staff salaries, supplies and materials, and travel for conduct of research. Employee benefits should be included in salaries and stipends. The fellowship will provide up to $10,000 in direct costs, optionally supplemented by salary savings as described below. Graduate student tuition may be reimbursed from salary savings if it cannot be covered by other sources.

    2. Budget, if any, for necessary costs of an associated experiential learning program.

    3. Budget, if any, to cover documented departmental costs of reducing the faculty member’s classroom teaching obligations. The department chair’s or dean’s signature on the cover page will signify that this cost is correct.

    4. Use of salary savings. The Fellowship will provide for 25% of the Fellow’s salary, with employee benefits, for one semester. The fellow must commit that effort to the research project during that time. The Fellow’s college is expected to return salary savings to supplement the research project budget (item a), fully fund the experiential learning program (item b), and/or cover costs of reducing classroom teaching obligations (item c).  Provide a summary of how salary savings will be distributed among the the three.

Pennsylvania Department of Health funding

Because funding is being provided by the PA Department of Health (DOH), awardees will be required to collaborate with personnel in the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs on sections of the university’s mid-December submission to the state. The state requires that investigators obtain IRB approval for human subjects research at the time of the mid-December submission. Fellows will be required to submit progress reports to the DOH and to respond to reviewers’ comments on those reports.


Applications will be reviewed by the Vice President and Associate Provost for Research and Graduate studies in conferral with the Director, Center for Community Engagement and the Deans of the applicants’ colleges.

Selections will be made based upon

  • presentation of a research plan consistent with the principles of community-engaged research as defined above, with emphasis on reciprocity, i.e., anticipation of important outcomes for both the academic researchers and the community partners,

  • readiness of the investigators to undertake the project including clarity that the requisite community partners are in place or can be readily established,

  • conformance with the definition of health research provided by the PA Department of Health (recited above),

  • prospects for expanding our capacity for community-engaged research and learning, including potential of the experiential learning program (if proposed) to grow students’ understanding of reciprocal community engagement, growth of quality community partnerships, and prospects for the Fellow to contribute dissemination of expertise among the faculty.


Application submission by email to - November 4, 2016

Awardees notified - November 11, 2016


Please address questions by email to

Office of Vice President and Associate Provost for Research and Graduate Studies • Lehigh University • 27 Memorial Drive West, Bethlehem, PA 18015 • (610) 758-5212