AmeriCorps provides research grants to institutions of higher education to:

  • Increase the nation’s understanding of civic engagement and the importance of strengthening civil society and civic infrastructure in America,
  • Identify effective strategies for national service and increase the evidence base of AmeriCorps’ programs for the purpose of optimizing the agency’s effectiveness in improving lives and strengthening communities, and
  • Support researchers with innovative research methods such as participatory research to identify and tackle community priorities.


Research grants address knowledge gaps and develop innovative methodological approaches to researching national service, and volunteering. 

2022 National Service and Civic Engagement Funding Opportunity
  • Build on prior research funded by AmeriCorps or propose new lines of research that build the field of volunteering and civic engagement especially in the context of COVID.
  • Broad categories include: studying volunteers and volunteer management, understanding and measuring civic engagement, volunteering, and national service at varying geographical levels, understanding civic infrastructure and how it strengthens communities, or research focused on national service programs’ interests
2018 Community Conversations Research Competition
  • Using a participatory research approach to engage people within their communities to identify, understand, and address societal issues. In addition, exploring the use of national service to assist in tackling community-identified priorities.
2017 National Service and Civic Engagement Research Competition
  • Defining and measuring civic engagement at the community level
  • Understanding individuals’ motivations for and behaviors of civic engagement throughout the lifecourse
  • Researching the impacts of civic engagement, volunteering, and national service for individuals, families, and communities
2015 National Service and Civic Engagement Research Competition
  • Researching the economic benefits of national service, volunteering, and civic engagement
  • Developing innovative methods to measure these concepts at various geographic levels


Eligibility Requirements

The Office of Research and Evaluation Award competitions are only open to accredited institutions of higher education who have DUNS numbers and are registered in the System for Award Management (SAM). The institution of higher education (the legal applicant for this competition) will submit an application from a “Program Director” (i.e., Principal Investigator). The legal applicant must select one or more academics, researchers, and postdoctoral researchers who will actually be conducting the research on behalf of the legal applicant.

The Program Directors (i.e., Principal Investigators) can include academics, researchers, and postdoctoral researchers with a track record in their field or as required by the competition. If the competition allows funding dissertators, the dissertator’s advisor will serve as the official Program Director on the application.

Responsibilities and Expectations of Grantees

If awarded, the grantee will be presented with Terms and Conditions that specify the responsibility and expectations for the grantees and AmeriCorps. This will include conducting the research and other activities specified in the proposal, timely submission of progress reports and financial reports to AmeriCorps, copies of data collection instruments, and a final research report(s). The final report should be of publishable quality and must include the major sections of an academic journal article. Other expectations for the grantee include participating in in-person or virtual grantee meetings, webinars, or other presentations.

How to Apply

When funding opportunities are available, AmeriCorps will release a Notice Of Funding Opportunity (NOFO). Once a NOFO is released, our Research and Evaluation team will hold a technical assistance call to provide a general overview of the funding opportunity and allow time for questions from potential applicants. The NOFO will specify the funding priorities, activities to be funded, instructions on how to apply including additional documents required, the criteria for which each application will be evaluated, an application deadline and timeline. From the time the NOFO is released until the deadline, AmeriCorps will post Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) submitted by interested applicants.

For questions about research grant programs, newsletters, and other communications and activities, please email the Office of Research and Evaluation.