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Applied Research Fellowship Application


WCMER is seeking Applied Research Fellows from WCMER member institutions to engage in applied research projects related to: Extension programs; delivery methods; organizational models; professional development in nature; social, economic, or environmental issues; or challenges or opportunities in metropolitan[1] communities. WCMER Applied Research fellowships are to support specific, time-bound projects with the expectation of durable scholarly products produced.  WCMER Applied Research fellowships are available for WCMER Platinum Members.


As the population of the U.S. moved to metropolitan areas, so did many of the most pressing national societal challenges. Cities and metropolitan areas are a mixture of cultures, attitudes, norms, and beliefs that have woven together to create a distinctive metropolitan culture for each city or metropolitan area. Urban challenges are enormously complex with no simple solutions (Beaulieu & Cordes, 2014; Boyer, 1996; Harriman & Daugherty, 1992; Urban Task Force, 1996).  The WCMER was established to support its member institutions in improving the connections between Extension and metropolitan decision makers.  The goal of the Center is to help Extension better align programs and program delivery with the needs, issues and interests of their metropolitan constituencies, by engaging in applied research, and offering professional development to Extension personnel.

WCMER Topics

During the establishment of both the WCMER and the National Urban Extension Leaders (NUEL), there was consensus that metropolitan programming is occurring but it was unclear whether it was a) uniquely developed for metropolitan communities, and b) if these perceptions were informed by or informed research.  With this as a backdrop, a WCMER research fellow conducted an extensive literature review of peer-reviewed articles, reports, factsheets, and other appropriate literature and organized findings by topic and program areas.  A WCMER webinar discussed the process and findings.

Over 2,000 unique articles were found (an unexpectedly large number).  While these articles were assigned into broad categories: general reference materials; agriculture/food systems; natural resources; health, nutrition & families; 4-H/youth development; and community & economic development, no assessment of the quality of the resources were made at this time.  This applied research project was only to collect existing resources.

The WCMER is looking to fund up to three (3) WCMER Applied Research Fellows to conduct further applied research utilizing this database for scholarly products, such as review articles or meta-analyses on specific subjects (e.g. urban food systems, engaging millennials, etc).

Funding and Timeline

  • Up to three (3) $5,000 fellowships will be funded in FY 20.
  • There is no application deadline; applications will evaluated as received and awards made until all funding is distributed.
  • Projects must be completed by June 30, 2021.

[1] The terms urban, metropolitan, or city can be used interchangeably to refer to densely populated areas.