ESDI Summer Design Intensive

Download the Summer Design Intensive Flyer (PDF)

The Engaged Scholarship Development Initiative (ESDI) is a yearlong program designed for faculty, staff, postdoctoral scholars and graduate students who want to learn how to implement engaged scholarship, connect with other engaged scholars, and advance their own work. The initiative features a series of professional development workshops that culminate in a Summer Design Intensive.

About the Summer Design Intensive

Co-designed and co-facilitated with Homewood Children’s Village, individual scholars or project teams can participate in the Summer Design Intensive. Participants come into the Summer Design Intensive with an idea for an engaged scholarship project that they hope to undertake in the coming year. Through various facilitated sessions, participants will refine and advance their project ideas.

After completing the Summer Design Intensive, each project will have: 

  • Clearly articulated project goals, including what new knowledge and/or practice the project will yield. 
  • List of key collaborators and project contributors. 
  • Consideration of the model(s) of participation that best suit the project goals and agreements/ground rules for collaboration unique to the project. 
  • Understanding of the ethical challenges that may be present within the project and plans for addressing ethical challenges. 
  • Project logic model or theory of change. 
  • List of potential funding sources that could support the project. 
  • Articulated set of academic and public products that will best disseminate the new knowledge/practice coming from the project.

Project Funding

Project teams will be eligible to receive up to $3,000 in project funding upon completion of the Summer Design Intensive and will be considered “Engaged Scholarship Summer Design Fellows.” 

Each participating project is eligible to receive up to a $3,000 project award determined according to the budget submitted as part of the application. This award can be used for various purposes, described below. The project budget can be revised as a result of new understanding gained at the Summer Design Intensive but finalized by June 15 of 2021. The project award will be transferred to one Pitt unit this fiscal year, from which it can be disseminated as necessary among partners during the next fiscal year, July 1, 2021 – June 30, 2022.

Possible uses include: 

  • Supplemental pay for project team members for time spent planning the project.
  • Project funds to cover project expenses including hardware, instruments, software, project supplies, communication materials such as a website, and professional services from outside vendors.
  • Stipends to pay student research assistants or project workers.


We invite individual scholars or project teams to participate in the Summer Design Intensive. Project teams should have at least one Pitt faculty, postdoctoral scholar, or graduate student but may include collaborators beyond Pitt. We will limit the cohort to 12 participants or project teams (max 4 people per project team). We anticipate reserving up to 3 slots for graduate students and their project teams and up to 3 slots for postdoctoral scholars and their project teams.


  • March 29, 2021: Summer Design Intensive Application Released
  • May 3, 2021 at Noon (ET): Applications due (extended)
  • May 14, 2021: Applications are notified of acceptance to the Intensive
  • June 7 -10, 2021: Summer Design Intensive, tentatively scheduled 9 a.m.–12:30 pm ET each day 

Applications will be submitted via Competition Space. The information offered below provides applicants with an overview of what they will be expected to complete in the Competition Space system. 

Application Requirements

  • Name(s) and affiliations of all project team members who will be participating in the Summer Design Intensive (a maximum of four team members can participate).
  • Project Description (500 word max): What are the goals and activities of the project? Note: This will be revised as a result of new understanding gained at the Summer Design Intensive.
  • Collaboration Description (250 word max): Note: this will be revised as a result of new understanding gained at the Summer Design Intensive.  

Review Criteria

Applications will be reviewed and scored based on the following criteria: 

  • Feasibility – Project goals and activities are appropriately articulated and able to be undertaken during the 2021-22 year. Please keep in mind that some project activities may need to be undertaken virtually, dependent upon the University’s COVID-19 risk posture.   
  • Collaboration – Project demonstrates a commitment to collaboration as evidenced by the inclusion of university and community partners and/or articulation of the role of collaboration in plans to be undertaken in the coming year. 
  • Urgency and Need – Project will take place in the coming year (2021-2022) and will benefit the community and the university. 
  • Engaged Scholarship – Project exemplifies or strives to exemplify Engaged Scholarship: Engaged scholarship seeks to discover new knowledge through activities that collaboratively generate, exchange, or apply academic and community knowledge and practices through reciprocal partnerships among members of the University and members of the broader public.

Upon Acceptance:

  • Agreement to participate in a follow-up report-out as part of the 2022 Community-Engaged Scholarship Forum: All award winners will be required to participate in a session at the 2022 Community-Engaged Scholarship Forum in which projects report-out on their progress including new insights gained and challenges encountered during project implementation.  
  • Letter of Support from Advisor, Supervisor, Department Chair, or Dean: Upon acceptance to the Summer Design Institute, participants will be asked to secure a letter of support from their relevant supervisory leadership (advisor, supervisor, department chair, dean, board chair, etc.). Engaged scholarship extends one’s work beyond solitary scholarship; it involves a wider range of collaborators and products than might be typically found in academia or community-based work. Developing collaborations and partnerships takes time that may not be typical of other research and practice agendas. Letters of support should indicate that the supervisor is supportive of the applicant participating in the Summer Design Intensive (including the time needed for pre-work) as well as their support for the applicant to undertake the engaged scholarship project in the coming year. Need help articulating the value of engaged scholarship to your relevant supervisor? We can help and are happy to meet with applicants as needed.
  • ESDI Requirement: Before beginning the Summer Design Intensive, all team members from accepted projects will need to complete, at minimum, the first two modules of the ESDI: Engaged Scholarship 101 and Ethical, Anti-Racist, and Decolonial Approaches to Engaged Scholarship. The materials and workshop recordings from these modules can be accessed via the ESDI Canvas Site

Lina Dostilio, Associate Vice Chancellor for Community Engagement:

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