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Tisch College Community Research Center

The Tisch College Community Research Center (TCRC) supports research projects undertaken jointly by community members in partnership with Tufts faculty and/or students.

Research we support must involve a formal community partner and produce valuable scholarship while yielding knowledge useful to the community, with a special but not exclusive emphasis on Tufts’ host communities of Somerville, Medford, and Boston’s Chinatown. Likewise, priority is given to researc focused on redressing issues of social inequity. Research topics may include education, health, the economy, housing, and the environment. The TCRC is run by a steering committee of community members and Tufts faculty, and is directly supported by funding from Tisch College.

Recent Opportunities

  • The 2021-2022 SEED grant request for proposals is no longer accepting applications for the current year. These one-year seed grants are awarded to Tufts and community partner research teams who are collaboratively investigating critical community concerns, leveraging participatory and action research approaches. For more information about next year’s program, please contact TCRC Director, Elaine Donnelly at

About Community Research

Community-based participatory research (CBPR) is an approach to research in which community partners are involved in all aspects of the study, including deciding on what research to do, being listed as investigators, being in the budget on grant proposals, serving on the study team during the research, and helping to disseminate findings—including serving as co-authors on publications. CBPR is one form of community engaged research (CEnR) that we frequently support; some other forms of research that involve less intensive work by the community partner will also be considered for TCRC funding.

Criteria and Eligibility

The TCRC is interested in research from any field of inquiry; we have supported projects in public health, the social sciences, and the humanities—and would consider any other area. We will also consider a wide range of research methodologies as long as they are well-aligned with the goals of the research partnership. For example, CEnR and CBPR studies often use interviews and focus groups (or other qualitative, or non-numerical approaches) that are often particularly useful for new areas of research that are still figuring out exactly what the issues are and how to study them. Other CBPR and CEnR projects use quantitative methods (numerical data from surveys, analysis of data from existing studies, and collection of original objective data such as blood samples or measurements in the environment).

Any community-based organization that is working with a Tufts researcher may apply for funding. Qualified Tufts researchers are usually faculty members, but may include other instructors, as well as post docs or graduate students. If students are playing a leading role, however, they must be supervised by a faculty member. If the collaboration involves faculty from an institution other than Tufts, there must be a Tufts faculty person leading the project. Only tax-exempt organizations or those with tax-exempt sponsors are eligible to apply.

You can read more about eligibility and other aspects of the TCRC's structure in the committee's bylaws.

Meet the Director

Elaine Donnelly

Director, Tisch College Community Research Center
Phone 617.627.4099

Elaine directs the Tisch College Community Research Center (TCRC), a resource that supports community-based research across all disciplines. Before joining Tisch College, Elaine’s professional and research experience focused on cross-sector partnerships, educational equity issues for low-income students, service learning, entrepreneurship, and community development. She has a Ph.D. and M.S. in Public Policy from the University of Massachusetts Boston, an M.Ed. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and B.A. from Boston College.

Featured Research

  • CAFEH Report Cover

    The Community Assessment of Freeway Exposure and Health (CAFEH), the signature study of the Tisch College Community Research Center, is a series of community-based participatory research projects that have partnered with local communities to learn abou…

  • Cultivate Your Food Economy Image

    The Tisch College Community Research Center (TCRC) provided seed funding for Cultivate Your Food Economy: Community Tools and Data for Building a New Food Economy, a 2013 project of the Tufts Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planni…

  • The Tisch College Community Research Center (TCRC) provided seed funding to the Asian Task Force Against Domestic Violence (ATASK) to explore different cultural definitions of empowerment as described by advocates and clients, and to investig…

2020 TCRC Annual Review

Read about the Tisch College Community Center's challenges and accomplishments in 2020.

TCRC Newsletter

Read a new digital newsletter from the Tisch College Community Research Center with news, updates, and opportunities related to community-based research at Tufts and in our host communities.