Submit an Idea for Funding

Do you have the next great idea?

Call for Project Ideas

Revised: November 2019

What do we support? 

We support student and faculty research and engagement projects that have positive community impacts.

  • Support Areas: As a University Center, we support student and faculty projects from all departments and disciplines on campus. Our mission is to help better understand the role of free enterprise in a flourishing society. Therefore, we assign preference to projects that relate in some way to issues of free enterprise, well-being, economic development, public policy, and other areas of applied research that have positive community impacts. We welcome proposals that engage issues in North Carolina, the WNC region, and our local communities, while also establishing national and global relevance.

Student and Faculty Research Projects

We offer support for personnel and expenses related to student and faculty research projects in our support areas.

  • Pre-Doctoral Fellows Program: This special program supports students who seek to enter a doctoral graduate program and pursue a career in research. Students spend 5-10 months in an apprentice-like program, working on a research topic for presentation and publication while researching and applying to doctoral programs.
  • Research Grants: We provide scholarships, faculty stipends, and summer funding for students and faculty to devote their time to research in our support areas. We also offer general support including data, supplies, software, equipment, surveys, training, submission fees, and other items as necessary for qualified proposals. Preference is given for student-faculty joint projects that combine peer-reviewed publication (scholarly impact) with educational, public policy, or other broader implications (societal benefit).
  • CSFE Issue Briefs: Have you recently published an academic piece that you would like to give wider exposure? Consider authoring a CSFE Issue Brief. The goal of this series is to convey to the general public the current scholarly wisdom on important and timely issues, and to do so in plain language for non-academic enjoyment. Hence the motto, “Hard Research, Easy Reading”. You can browse our list of issue briefs here. If you’re interested, drop us a line at and we will send you our author guidelines to continue the discussion.


Student and Faculty Engagement Projects

We support student development activities and outreach projects that enhance student and community engagement with our support areas.

  • Study Away: Support for travel to short-term opportunities such as seminars and workshops at other campuses, to study and network with others in the field.
  • Campus Engagement Grants: Support to individuals and clubs who organize on-campus activities like research/educational seminars, contests, student development projects, public lectures, reading groups, and related activities.


Who is eligible to apply?

WCU students and faculty from any major/department, teams that include off-campus co-applicants, and WCU-recognized student organizations/clubs are all encouraged to apply.


How do I apply?

Applications are considered on a rolling basis and can be submitted at any time. Please email us with a single PDF file attachment at Applications must include:

  • A project narrative (maximum of two pages) that describes the purpose and motivation, anticipated impact on the target audience, a timeline and plan of activities, clear expression of the anticipated deliverables, and a brief biographical sketch of each student/faculty applicant. The narrative should address how the applicants perceive their project’s connections to our support areas.
  • A single-page proposed budget with starting and ending dates, line item justifications, and an overall rationale for the requested funding.

Once received, applications will be evaluated on a rolling basis by our Director, invited reviewers (especially for large projects), and the Center’s Advisory Board. An initial evaluation will assess how well the submission fits with our support areas. Maximum project duration is one year. Distributed funds must be used in compliance with the Center’s Bylaws and policies of WCU and the UNC system. Questions and clarifying discussion in advance of submitting are welcome at