Enhance your data capacity

 The Community Research Assistantship (CRA) program application process has completed for the 2019-2020 academic year. Next round of applications coming summer 2020.

The Community Research Assistantship (CRA) Program places DIP-trained graduate research assistants from the University of Southern Maine in community organizations to support their applied research and evaluation efforts. Through this program, community organizations are able to enhance their data capacity with a fully funded graduate assistant who can focus exclusively on their evaluation work. Graduate students get the opportunity to work with an outside partner, receive professional development and mentorship with the DIP, and develop applied research and program evaluation skills in the social sector.

How does this work?

  • Interested community organizations and graduate students apply for a graduate research assistantship. For more information about the application process, go to the “Community Organizations” or “Students” boxes below.
  • The DIP selects a final number of student and community organization applicants and pairs them based on their merit, interests, and skills/experience.
  • With DIP support, the selected host site and community research assistant (CRA) establish a project(s) that will be the primary focus of their work for the year.
  • To finish the year, CRAs present on the results of their work and submit all agreed upon deliverables to their host site and the DIP.


Timing and Investment

  • The placement spans the academic year (September-May; 30 weeks in total)
  • Community research assistants work 10 hours each week and receive a $4,800 yearly stipend plus a $2,000 scholarship.
  • The stipend and scholarship costs are covered by the Data Innovation Project.


DIP Support and Resources

Throughout the program, DIP staff will:

  • Function as liaison between community research assistant (CRA) and community organization and offer technical assistance and supervision when needed.
  • Facilitate monthly peer group meetings for CRAs.
  • Deliver 3-4 workshops for CRAs to support their project work.
  • Invite host sites to attend any DIP workshops and events free of charge while they are hosting a CRA.


Successful Project Examples

  • Evaluation plan and data collection systems improvement for a Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Program.
  • Facilitation of aligned performance measurement across multiple programs and data dashboards to support continuous quality improvement and external reporting of a health access organization.
  • A data development plan to better understand the racial disparities of Native youth in the foster care system.
  • Primary research on the relationship between client supports and number of episodes of care at a community detoxification program.