Funding Opportunities

The COM Office of Community Engagement will support community engagement through a number of funding opportunities.

Program Grants

Innovation Week

The COM Office of Community Engagement teams up with the Office of Innovation to support one community-focused initiative/program. Dubbed “the start-up model,” the winning team receives $15,000 towards their innovation with the larger goal being for them to further pursue continued relationship and growth with the community partners after the grant period has ended. Students are encouraged to participate. Learn more about the Innovation Week start-up model grant.

Dream Maker Grant

Are you a student with a dream of doing something, but you need funding to get started? We are here to help! The Office of Community Engagement announces the first round of dream-maker grants for students aiming to be involved in a community-focused project, including research, new program development or existing program expansion. Grant amounts range from $2000-$4000 given once with the potential for re-application the following year. More on Dream Maker Grants.

Educational Training & Conference Grants

The MUSC Office of Community Engagement is pleased to offer opportunities on a rolling basis for travel grants up to $2,500 each to MUSC students. The goal of the awards is to assist recipients in their educational endeavors relating to community engagement, social medicine, health equity and social justice. Travel awards can be used to support conference attendance including registration/tuition, cost of posters or materials used for presentations, hotel and travel.

Learn more about Educational Training & Conference Grants.

Research and Academic Support

The MUSC Office of Community Engagement is pleased to offer opportunities on a rolling basis for research-related activities to MUSC College of Medicine students. Funding is awarded in the amounts of $2000-5000, one time, and to be used within the span of 1-year (12 months). The goal of the research awards is to assist recipients in their research or research-related academic endeavors which must meet one or both of the following criteria to qualify for funding support from our Office:

  1. Research primarily relating directly to our main focus areas of community engagement, social medicine, health equity or social justice.

  2. Research in which there is a community partner organization serving a contributing role in the study team. Roles may include being partners in designing the study or having staff roles in implementation of the study. Communities serving simply as a site of operations (e.g., the building where research occurs) or subjects of the research do not meet this qualification.

We have opted to structure the research awards in this way to encourage bidirectional engagement and facilitate a stronger voice in our community partners as this has been traditionally absent in academic-community partnerships. Please note that applications in which the involved community does not have an active role besides being the subject of the research are less likely to be funded as compared to studies that do have the community playing a more active role. While we encourage the inclusion of varied communities in important research in order to broaden our collective understanding of multiple life-affecting conditions, our office has chosen to preferentially support initiatives that specifically include community input beyond serving solely as subjects.

Allowable use of funds

Research awards can be used to support the purchase of materials or software necessary for research practices, support of resources/supplies within the community itself that pertain specifically to the research study, as well as conference attendance including registration/tuition, cost of posters or materials used for presentations, hotel and travel. Funding CANNOT be used for salaries or stipends to community-based members who are not on staff at MUSC.

Funding will be awarded to the Principal Investigator or presenting student who will work with either their department finance administrator/grants administrator or the College of Medicine Dean’s Office for utilization and access to the funds.

Award Cycle Dates & Deadlines

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis without deadlines EXCEPT for requests covering costs of conference attendance in which case inquiries must be submitted at least 2 weeks PRIOR to the conference/travel occurs for review and notice of approval. Applications for support of research that have already begun will be considered if it meets the other requirements outlined above.

Important Notes for awards concerning travel or conference attendance:

  • Proposals must be for a future conference/travel. Funding for retroactive activity and travel are not considered. Applications for support of conference attendance travel or associated presentation costs received after the deadline (2 weeks prior to the event/training) will not be accepted.
  • Funding to cover airline and registration for meetings can be covered by our office prior to the event i.e we can process your registration and airline ticket. Coverage of other travel costs, food and lodging occur after the event has occurred and student awardee has presented receipts for reimbursement.
  • The award of a travel/educational support grant does not constitute approval of the proposed trip.
  • Before funding is released, awardees will need to comply with MUSC travel policies. If overseas travel is involved awardees will need to provide documentation of approval from the International Travel Oversight Committee (ITOC).
  • Request review and approval by initiating the process in the Student and Resident Travel Registry as appropriate.

Award Information and eligibility

  • Preference is given to students applying for the first time, and those not receiving additional funds for coverage from another COM grant.
  • The amount of awards is determined by the amount of funding available at the time the selection process occurs and is based on the volume of strong applications.
  • Proposals for research support are reviewed by the COM Associate Dean for Community Engagement and/or the Community Engagement Advisory Board.
  • Students must be enrolled actively in the MUSC College of Medicine and free of restrictions for travel (if applicable) or attendance/participation in optional non-curricular activities. 
  • Faculty serving as PIs must be free of any restrictions to conduct research at MUSC and meeting all requirements as outlined by the IRB if indicated.

Application Process

Students must complete and submit the application form to the Office of Community Engagement. Forms should be completed online, printed then scanned as a pdf and sent to  Dr. Donna Kern, kerndh@musc.eduApplication is not complete until you submit the form via email. Completion of the Google form alone will not submit it for review.

Evaluation of applications will be based on the following criteria:

  • Requests for research support will be evaluated based on how closely the research reflects the focus areas of the Office of Community Engagement and the degree of involvement by the community involved in the research.
  • Requests for coverage of travel, conference attendance or presentation materials will be evaluated based on how closely the research reflects the focus areas of the Office of Community Engagement.


Award Requirements 

Funds must be used within 12 months of award date.

Principal Investigators of funded research proposals will be required to submit a 12-month final report including summary information on the research itself as well as utilization of awarded funding.

Students utilizing requested funds for presenting at a conference will be required to submit an abstract of their research presented and/or a copy of their poster for our reference library.


Please direct inquiries related to this funding announcement to: 

Dr. Donna Kern, Sr. Associate Dean for Medical Education