Home » Civic Science » Civic Engagement Microgrant Program » 2019-2020 Microgrant Recipients

2019-2020 Microgrant Recipients

Research!America with support in part by the Rita Allen Foundation awarded microgrants of $1,000 to $3,000 to 15 graduate student and post-doc led science policy groups for a range of civic engagement activities in their local areas. The 2019 Research!America Microgrant awards focus on engaging both community leaders and policymakers in discussions about the broad societal benefits and local impact of scientific research. New this year is the ‘Science Meets Science’ program which funds two awards focusing on building collaborative efforts between STEM scientists and social scientists, bringing an interdisciplinary approach to local issues. (Read the press release)


Colorado State University – “Schmoozing with Scientists: connecting graduate student expertise with Fort Collins policy issues.” Students at Colorado State University are planning a poster session and networking mixer at a local brewery to connect early career scientists with the Fort Collins City Councilmembers and staff around key community policy priorities. To learn more about their projects and the Sustainability Leadership Fellows program, check out their website and blog.

Duquesne University – “Lead in Our Water: A Fact Finding Symposium for Improving Our Community’s Water Quality.” The Duquesne University Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences Association of Graduate Students (BAGS) will invite academics, community experts, policymakers, media, and young scientists to a public forum to gather and share information about water contamination. You can follow them on Instagram @bagsduq or Twitter @BAGSDUQ.

Johns Hopkins University – “Baltimore City Hall Poster Session.” The Johns Hopkins Science Policy Group will host a poster session at Baltimore City Hall for early career scientists at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Nursing, and Public Health to present on science topics relevant to policy. Example topics include suicide prevention research and education policy research. For more information, check out their website here.

Michigan State University – “Spring 2020 Science Policy Series.” The MSU Sci Comm group will organize bi-monthly workshops led by experts at federal, state and local levels to culminate in a spring reception with members of the Governor’s Appointment Office about the dozens of state boards and commissions and how young scientists can be appointed to these positions. Follow them on Twitter @MSU_Scicomm or like them on Facebook!

Mississippi Valley State University – “Deliberative Community Forum.” The Mississippi Valley State University Rural Policy Student Advocacy Group plans to address challenges unique to the Mississippi Delta community by hosting a Deliberative Community Forum which will bring together policymakers, community members, experts and students.

New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology – “Roundtable discussions on cybersecurity with public officials and young scientists.” The Tech Policy Group at New Mexico Tech will host a series of roundtable discussions on cybersecurity including integrative cybersecurity education, cybersecurity-based entrepreneurship in New Mexico, and cybersecurity for health and other sensitive data. This Science Meets Science proposal will bring together STEM and social scientists around the policy and economic implications of the cybersecurity industry in NM. Check them out on Twitter!  @TechPolicyGroup

University of Kansas – “Bridging the gap between science, policy, and community in Kansas.” The University of Kansas Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Graduate Student Organization is planning to host policymakers for a day of lab and field tours to inform them about graduate student research followed by an evening community event later to discuss science and policy in a broad context. For more information, check out their website or follow them on social media @KUEEBGSO  on Twitter or KUEEBGSO on Facebook.

University of California, Berkeley – “Scientific Ethics: We Can, but Should We?” The Science Policy Group at Berkeley will host a series of events to explore ethical questions surrounding discoveries made in the lab including the potential benefits and drawbacks to society. The topics will include plant-based meat alternatives, wildfires, CRISPR gene editing, and artificial intelligence. This Science Meets Science project brings together STEM students with graduate students in law, journalism, and public policy. For more information, check out their website or follow them on Twitter @UCB_SciPolicy!

University of California, San Francisco – “Scientists in Sacramento.” The Science Policy Group at UCSF will host a series of workshops in preparation for a trip to Sacramento to discuss medical research with local lawmakers. The workshops will focus on policy memo writing in general and building one-pagers for the Sacramento discussions. For more information, check out their website or follow them on Twitter @SPGatUCSFClick here to learn more about their microgrant project.

University of Chicago – “Chicago Water Science & Policy: From the Great Lakes to Our Taps.” The forum being planned by UChicago Science Policy Group will explore local policies to protect and maintain water quality in the Great Lakes. The group is planning to conduct hands-on water testing during the event with community members and policymakers. Follw them on Twitter @UCSciencePolicy or like them Facebook!

University of Florida – “Science Matters Policy Memo Competition.” The Emerging Leaders in Science Policy and Advocacy are planning to host their 2nd annual policy memo competition. The competition will start with seminars on selecting a policy topic, non-academic writing and presentation styles along with tailored workshops from experts. A panel of judges will vote on the winning presentation and memo. Check them out on Twitter @ELISPA_UF.

University of Massachusetts Amherst – “The Civic Scientist: Translating your Research Training to Broaden your Impact.” TRISCI at UMass Amherst will host a two-part event featuring an expert panel that will discuss building civic engagement skills. A luncheon between early career scientists, local policymakers, and policy experts will follow to give students the opportunity to implement these skills.

University of Missouri – “Science Briefings on the Missouri Hill.” The MOST Policy Initiative plans to build on their 2019 programs through hosting monthly science briefings at the Missouri state capitol to engage scientists from all career stages to discuss their research on topics such as biotechnology, rural healthcare, and flooding infrastructure in 2020. The University of Missouri was also a previous Research!America microgrant recipient , as part of the 2018 Bipartisan Civic Engagement Inititaive. In  For more information check out their website or follow them on Twitter! @MOSTSciPol


University of Wisconsin-Madison – “Science Fair for Adults.” The Catalysts for Science Policy (CaSP) will host a free community science fair at the Madison Children’s Museum to include a poster session designed to engage policymakers on students’ research programs.  The event will also feature a policymaker panel to discuss how they consider science when writing policy and DIY science experiments for all ages. For more information visit their website or follow them on Twitter @CaSP_UWMadison! To learn more about their event, please check out their event page or the Madison Children’s Museum event page.

Virginia Tech – “Big Lick of Science Podcast.” The Virginia Tech Carilion Student Outreach Program has started a new science-focused podcast, “Big Lick of Science” named for Roanoke, Virginia’s colloquial name in reference to the high levels of salt that attract wildlife to Roanoke’s natural springs. The group plans to produce a bi-monthly podcast to communicating science for easy access to a wide audience. The group plans to invite policymakers, local community leaders and scientists to discuss community issues. Check out their websiteFacebook, and Instagram, or follow them on Twitter! To listen to the Big Lick of Science Podcast, check them out on Spotify or Apple podcasts.