Community Assistantship Program

Community-based research enables community organizations to see new perspectives on issues and to obtain the right information to make informed, data-driven decisions.

Program Goals

The Community Assistantship Program (CAP) connects Greater Minnesota communities to the University of Minnesota through community-driven, applied research. The research and technical needs of organizations are matched with student research assistants to carry out community-defined and -guided projects. CURA works with organizations selected for the program to create shared understanding and action based on the results. 

The goals of the program are to support place-based and community-based organizations to create impact in the following areas:  

  1. People and Places - Builds the leadership and power of low income communities, communities of color, immigrant communities, seniors, people with disabilities, youth, renters or other historically excluded communities in a neighborhood or specific geographic area. Addresses a community issue, need or opportunity.
  2. Organizations - Supports the capacity of community-based, neighborhood or other place-based organizations to more effectively and equitably engage and involve the diversity of their community in the leadership of their organization. Makes neighborhood or other place-based organizations more representative of the communities in which they work.
  3. Collaborations - Builds strong networks and relationships within and/or among diverse cultural or geographic communities.
  4. Systems - Expands the influence of community members on neighborhood systems, practices, initiatives and policies that lead to greater racial, social and economic equity.

Selection Criteria

We select grantees for CAP based on the following criteria: 

  1. Clear problem or opportunity statement 
  2. Clear definition of who the research benefits and how. Projects benefiting low-wealth communities and communities of color receive priority.
  3. Clear description of how affected people will be involved in the process.
  4. Clear description of how will the results be used and what will their impact be.
  5. Other partners and context

Project submission

We are partnering with the Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships (RSDP) at the University of Minnesota Extension program to help coordinate project submission and selection. 

Links and resources