Submit an Idea for Funding

Do you have the next great idea?

What do we support?


Research Papers

We offer student scholarships and faculty stipends to devote adequate time to research that furthers our mission. 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).


Conference Presentation

We have funds available to cover travel for the purposes of presenting research findings at student and professional conferences.


Campus Engagement

We offer support to individuals who organize activities like research/educational seminars, workshops, public lectures, reading groups, study away trips, and other intellectual activities that explore ideas and key issues of the day through civil, informed, and fruitful discourse.


Community Engagement

We support outreach activities that increase community understanding and engagement with issues of economic development, public policy, and free enterprise.


Who is eligible to apply?

Western Carolina 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.


What topics does CSFE support?

We encourage all types of submissions. Previous awards have covered a broad range of topics that relate, in some way, to economic development and the role of free enterprise in a flourishing society. Prospective applicants are encouraged to submit proposals that engages national and global issues, while also establishing relevance for the state, the Western region, and our local communities.


How do I apply?

Applications can be submitted at any time by emailing

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 biographical sketch of each student/faculty applicant.
  • 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 areas of support (the descriptions above), and the proposal’s alignment with our mission. Any funding decision will be made after the initial evaluation. Maximum project duration is one year. Distributed funds must be used in compliance with the Center’s Bylaws, WCU, and UNC system policies.

Questions and clarifying discussion in advance of submitting are welcome via email.