Application deadline: Friday, May 26th, 2023

The UCSB Blum Center invites proposals for student research in the area of cooperative economics, as part of a new initiative to promote scholarly and public understanding of the principles, practices, and prospects for cooperative enterprise on the Central Coast of California, in the U.S., and worldwide. This initiative has been made possible by generous support from the family of Dr. U.S. Awasthi.

Cooperative economics encompasses a broad spectrum of collaborative endeavors, from the communal practices and empowerment strategies of indigenous communities to the support and exchange networks developed within the contemporary mutual aid movement. It is also the basis of a vast field of formally established cooperative enterprises. These are organizations owned and democratically controlled by associations of people who come together to meet their shared economic needs in ways that contribute to community and social well-being. Cooperatives of varied size and scale have come to play a significant role as operators of grocery stores, housing communities, financial institutions, and worker-owned companies, as well as in agricultural production. They are based on values of democracy, equity, accountability, and self-help, and prioritize the needs of members over the maximization of profit. There is a rich tradition of cooperative endeavor in movements for racial and intersectional justice. 

We encourage proposals that explore cooperative economics from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, and focus on topics related to the establishment, operation, and sustainability of cooperative enterprises, the cultural and political contexts within which cooperative economic arrangements have been pursued, and whether and how cooperatives have contributed to the well-being of the communities they serve. We also welcome proposals that center racial and intersectional justice. Funding is available for undergraduate and graduate student research projects as well as for faculty-directed research that employs undergraduate and/or graduate student research assistants. 

Budgets and Allowable Expenses

Undergraduate and graduate students may request up to $2,000 to support original research projects. Eligible expenses include costs related to original data collection, field work, or archival research; software and/or small equipment required for the proposed research; data acquisition; transcription; and research supplies. Grant funds may not be used for the costs of tuition, fees, or insurance; student salaries; participation in conferences or trainings; or non-expendable equipment. Proposals for individual grants must be accompanied by a letter of support from the student’s faculty mentor or graduate advisor. If your project involves human subjects, please be sure that you are in compliance with University guidelines, including Institutional Review Board approval.  

Faculty may request up to $4,000 to support the costs of employing undergraduate and/or graduate students as research assistants in ways that facilitate student participation and provide mentorship in research related to cooperative economics. 

Timetable and Research Symposium

The grant period for these awards is July 1, 2023 -June 30, 2024. Funds will be provided in the form of authorized direct payment and/or reimbursement of allowable expenses with appropriate receipts. Award recipients will present their research at the Second Annual Blum Center Cooperative Economics Research Symposium in spring 2023. 

The Second Annual Cooperative Economics Research Symposium will be held on Monday, May 22nd, 2023. Please use this link to view the list of 2022-23 award recipients. 


Graduate student applicants must be registered at UCSB at the time of application and for the duration of the project. Student proposals must be accompanied by a letter of recommendation from the student’s faculty mentor or graduate advisor.

Required Application Materials

Applicants must submit the application materials listed below as a single PDF:

·      A brief project description (maximum 750 words) discussing the project’s objectives, central research questions, approach and methodology, contributions and outcomes, and relevance to the themes outlined in the call for proposals.

·      A detailed budget

·      A curriculum vitae (no longer than 2 pages)

·      A letter of reference from the applicant’s faculty graduate advisor indicating support for the proposed research (if applicant is a graduate student)

·      Verification of IRB approval or pending approval (if required)

Zoom Information Sessions

Wednesday, April 26th @12:30pm

Friday, May 5th @12:30pm

Zoom Link

password: coopecon

Submit Application

Submit your application file as a single PDF using the following Google Forms:

Students: Application Link

Faculty: Application Link

Proposals are due by Friday, May 26th, 2023 at 11:59PM PST.

Additional Questions

Please contact Nick Cohen: