WFI Research Projects

One of the ways that we enact the WFI’s mission — communication as central to the creation of positive social change — is through the funding of research grants. These awards support the projects of Communication scholars and practitioners at Villanova University and across the world, projects examining communication, its impact on the world around us and its ability to create social change and social justice. We hope, through these grants, to help support the kinds of communication-focused research needed to engage the complexities of social change and social justice.

There are currently two types of funding opportunities available to communication scholars and practitioners through the WFI.

Grants to Support Innovative Scholarly Research

Each year, the WFI provides funds to support research conducted by scholars at Villanova and institutions across the world. Although we do not limit our grants to a specific methodological orientation or subdisciplinary focus, all projects supported by the WFI have two things in common: they make communication the primary, and not secondary, focus, and they engage communication in terms of its impact on the world around us, its ability to create social change. The funds awarded can be applied to the hiring of graduate assistants, acquisition of resources, travel, and/or any other appropriate research related expenses. All submitted proposals will be judged on the basis of quality, originality, and fit with the mission of The Waterhouse Family Institute.


Applications for 2015/2016 Research Grants are due Tuesday, May 5, 2015; funds will be available beginning in early June, 2015.

* WFI Grant Announcement-Promotion Guidelines.pdf
Communication guidelines for successful WFI grant applicants
* WFI Call For Grants 2015-16.pdf
Includes description of the program, eligibility criteria, and instructions for preparation of proposals
* WFI Call for Grants REPORT.pdf
For successful WFI Grant recipients: instructions for reporting on progress to the WFI Director

For 2014/15, the WFI awarded nine competitively-selected research grants, to support projects from Communication scholars working across the globe. For a more detailed description of the 2014/15 Grant Recipients, click here.

For information on previous years’ grant recipients, please click on one of the links at left.

CMM/WFI/ISI Fellow Awards

In addition to sponsoring research grants, the WFI is pleased to be collaborating with the CMM Institute for Personal and Social Evolution and the Institute for Social Innovation at Fielding Graduate University. Since 2011, our institutes have co-sponsored a Fellow Awards Program, recognizing outstanding communication scholars and/or practitioners for projects that demonstrate the power of communication to make better social worlds.

A Fellow is a distinguished scholar and/or practitioner who is recognized for:

  1. demonstrating a unique understanding of what it means to take and apply a “communication perspective” and
  2. finding creative and impactful ways of using a “communication perspective” to address real-world challenges.

The number and nature of these awards varies each year, and the three sponsoring institutes rotate as hosts for the awards ceremony.

Our institutes have selected three Fellows for 2013/14! Their work was featured on October 18, 2014 at the CMM Learning Exchange in Oracle, Arizona. Click here to learn more about the 2013/14 CMM/WFI/ISI Fellows!

For 2012/13, Fellows were awarded in two different categories, and were awarded as part of Fielding Graduate University’s summer session meetings. For 2011/12, Fellows were awarded for outstanding projects in five different categories. These inaugural awardees were recognized as part of the Hearts and Minds International Film Festival, an event hosted by the WFI at Villanova University on April 13-14, 2012.

The application deadline and instructions for 2014/2015 Fellow awards will be announced in late November 2014.

Dr. Emory Woodard

Dr. Emory Woodard, Associate Professor, Department of Communication, Villanova University--recipient of the first WFI-sponsored research grant for his project on YouTube as a vehicle for social justice.

Dr. Emory Woodard and YouTube research