Community Engagement Studio Award

Call for Applications




To provide investigators with a 1-time service that elicits input from community members to inform research development and execution for a specific research project. This award does not confer actual dollars to the awardee, but rather provides a service valued at approximately $3,500.





Community input can increase the quality and relevance of research, improve recruitment and retention for clinical trials, and inform community engagement sections for grant proposals, but enhancing public participation is one of the central challenges facing clinical research activities today. Engaging community members, patients, caregivers, community health providers, advocates and policy makers in research is complex. Many researchers are not equipped to identify, recruit, convene, and engage these stakeholders, or prepare them for participation in research in an advisory capacity. The CE Studio provides a framework for stakeholders to give immediate feedback to researchers on specific areas of concern before a research project is implemented, or to assist a struggling project.


The UCI Institute for Clinical and Translational Science (ICTS) is pleased to announce a new call for Community Engagement Studios Awards. Recipients of the award will have CE Studio-trained ICTS administrators plan, organize, conduct, and follow-up a personalized CE Studio for any study in which community input could inform improvements in the study (or grant proposal) development, design, recruitment, retention, and/or dissemination activities.



The UC Irvine Community Engagement Core of the ICTS has a prime directive to bring together academic researchers and community members to improve community health and healthcare through community-engaged research. CE Studios were developed by the Vanderbilt Institute for Clinical and Translational Research’s Community Engaged Research Core to help researchers work directly with patients and other community stakeholders in a way that is culturally sensitive and observes community priorities, values, and needs. The Vanderbilt team has trained community engagement navigators across the Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) consortium to conduct CE Studios at their home institutions, including navigators at UC Irvine.


The CE Studio can be a valuable experience for researchers at any stage in the research process. Faculty, post-docs, fellows, and graduate students who are interested in receiving feedback from their population of interest on the relevance and feasibility of their research ideas have reported positive impacts on their projects and proposals. The CE Studio provides a structured forum to gain valuable patient or community insight, and has the potential to transform the way community and academic researchers work together. In a CE Studio, members of the researcher’s population of interest (i.e., patients, caregivers, providers, community organizations, etc.) serve in a consultative role, and thus are considered community experts.



CE Studio Process

1.    CE Studio navigators meet with the researcher to identify points of discussion with community experts and develop the facilitator’s guideline questions

2.    CE Studio navigators identify and invite community experts (N=10-12) to the CE Studio meeting, which is typically held at a location in the community (this can take the navigators a month or more to accomplish)

3.    At the start of the CE Studio, the researcher gives a concise presentation (~10 min) about the project and poses pre-determined questions to the community experts

4.    The discussion that follows is guided by a neutral facilitator, trained in CE Studios and oriented to the study and guideline questions, to elicit authentic and constructive feedback

5.    One CE Studio lasts about two hours, and the community experts are compensated for their time and expertise

6.    A written report with key recommendations, a conversational summary, and written remarks from experts is provided to the researcher following the CE Studio



What a CE Studio May Provide

CE studios have a very specific structure with very specific goals, and it is important to understand what an investigator may and may not receive from this service.


A CE Studio may assist with:

·        Access stakeholders from various settings, without the complexity of scheduling multiple meetings

·        Identifying potential patient or community partners to enhance the implementation of the research

·        Addressing potential barriers and challenges related to recruitment and retention

·        Assessing feasibility and appropriateness of the project for the patient population or community

·        Gaining feedback on cultural and linguistic appropriateness of research documents (e.g. recruitment materials, consent documents, surveys)


A CE Studio may NOT assist with:

·        Gathering data for a publication

·        Generating information that is generalizable

·        Enrolling CE Studio participants into research



Eligible Projects

Eligible projects for a CE Studio include any research project along the translational spectrum, T0 – T4, with an aim to improve human health and wellness. Any UCI investigator is encouraged to apply, including those currently or previously funded by the ICTS.  



Application Should Include

        Researcher/PI name

        Researcher contact info (email, phone number)

        Name of project

        A 250-word abstract of the research noting the study aims and the problem the research will address

        Purpose of the CE Studio, such as:

-          Grant proposal or protocol development

-          Study design

-          Recruitment and/or retention

-          Materials review (e.g. recruitment materials, study documents, protocols)

-          Dissemination of study results

        Stage of the study, such as:

-          In development (writing proposal or protocol)

-          Active (not yet recruiting)

-          Recruiting

-          Completed (disseminating results)

        Study population of interest (e.g. age, race/ethnicity, disease, pairs such as mother/daughter dyads, income range, etc.)

        Your timeline for having a CE Studio organized for your project

-          Need it ASAP

-          The sooner the better, but we can wait a bit

-          Not urgent

-          There is a deadline associated with this project (e.g. grant proposal)

        1-2 questions to ask the community experts

        IRB approval status, if applicable (non-human subjects research, exempt, submitted (review pending), approved)

        Biosketch for PI



Review Criteria

1.    Likelihood of project to benefit from the CE Studio

-          Alignment of questions posed with the capacity of the CE Studio

2.    Likely impact or translational potential of the research project

3.    Likelihood of locating and recruiting community experts specific to the project


The CE Studios program at UCI is new. Our goals are to conduct one CE Studio within three months of the application deadline and to complete up to three CE Studios the following 12 months.


For more information, please contact Robynn Zender (rzender@uci.edu) or Adrijana Gombosev (agmobose@uci.edu).


Click here to apply for the CE Studio Award


APPLICATION DEADLINE: Friday, July 20, 2018


Notification emails for receipt of proposal: A notification email indicating the receipt of your application will be sent within 24 hours of submission. If you do not received an email, please contact Robynn Zender (rzender@uci.edu).