Call for Proposals

Our mission is to support research, engagement, and thought leadership on issues pertaining to economic development, public policy, and free enterprise in North Carolina, the region, and beyond.



In pursuit of this mission, the Center seeks to support student-faculty research projects that result in peer-reviewed publication, conference presentation, and other professional development opportunities for Western’s students and faculty. We seek projects that engage national and global issues while establishing relevance for the state and region, and projects focused solely on North Carolina and our western counties. 

Explore the parameters for your proposal below along with details of how to apply. We look forward to speaking with you.

Areas of Support 

CSFE supports WCU student-faculty projects from all majors and departments and invites proposals in four main areas.

  1. Research Papers: Student scholarships and faculty stipends to devote adequate time to research, as well as general support including data, supplies, software, equipment, surveys, training, submission fees, and other items as necessary. Preference for student-faculty joint projects that combine peer-reviewed publication (scholarly impact) with educational, public policy, or other broader implications (societal benefit).
  2. Conference Presentation: Travel funds to present research findings at student and professional conferences.
  3. Campus Engagement: Support to 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.
  4. Community Engagement: Support for outreach activities that increase community understanding and engagement with issues of economic development, public policy, and free enterprise.


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.


Proposed projects should fall in one of the above areas of support.

Topics should relate in some way to economic development and the role of free enterprise in a flourishing society. Research topics are invited to also discuss implications for public policy. Proposals can engage national and global issues, while also establishing relevance for the state, the Western region, and our local communities.

To Apply 

Applications can be submitted at any time using this web form and are reviewed on a rolling basis.

Please prepare a maximum two-page project narrative 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. Also include a single-page proposed budget with starting and ending dates, line item justifications, and an overall rationale for the requested funding.

Questions and clarifying discussion in advance of submitting are welcome.


Applications will be evaluated by the CSFE Director in consultation with invited reviewers and the CSFE Advisory Board. An initial evaluation will assess closeness of fit with the descriptions above, and also assess the project’s contribution to the Center’s mission. A funding decision may be made after this initial evaluation.

For large projects, expert reviewers will be invited. Maximum project duration is one year. Funds must be used in compliance with the Center’s Bylaws, including WCU and UNC policies.

Examples of Project Ideas:

  • Peer Reviewed Publications. Research papers targeted at journals in the respective disciplines.
  • Publications for the Public. White papers, issue briefs, infographics, editorials, videos, podcasts, blogs, and other ways of communicating research findings to broad audiences, including students and leaders in media, education, business, and public policy from across the state.
  • Research Presentations. Present research findings at professional and student research conferences, or at a research seminar at other universities and research organizations.
  • Intellectual Events. Organize seminars, workshops, guest speakers, debates, panel discussions, reading groups.
  • Study Away Grants. Individual and club travel to seminars, workshops, conferences and other events that deepen and further student education.
  • Engagement Activities. Organize community events or outreach activities around themes of economic development and free enterprise.
  • Education. Host a seminar for educators in the areas of economics, civics, and financial literacy.
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