Community & Interdisciplinary Research Groups


To form a community of people who share similar interests to build research teams for the future. We are dedicated to supporting community-engaged research done in multidisciplinary research teams.

CIR History

There are several trends in the research environment that are growing interest, and two of those trends are community-engaged research and multidisciplinary research teams.
Community-Engaged Research involves researchers and community organization leaders teaming-up. Leaders of local organizations identify needs within their communities, and researchers contribute their expertise to meet community needs.
Multidisciplinary Research Teams include researchers from various disciplines who share a common research interest and have complementary skill sets.
The Council for Interdisciplinary Research Grants (CIRG) was formed under the Center for Children and Families in 2006 to facilitate networking and collaboration among faculty across the University interested in issues involving children and families. CIRG was housed in the School of Social Work and lead by Nancy Chavkin from 2006 to 2017. In the Fall of 2017, CIRG was renamed to reflect the make-up of its members and its purpose and vision going forward. The new Community and Interdisciplinary Research Groups (CIRG) is housed in the McCoy College of Business. CIRG hopes to bring researchers out of their silos, working not only as research teams but also engaging community organizations and local governments.

At this time, CIRG is focused on four research themes: Community Health, Education Policy and Outcomes, Food Systems and Policies, and Urban Innovations and Sustainability. Researchers and community leaders interested in each theme will meet four times a year to form collaborations, create goals, and remain active in research. Theme descriptions are below.

CIRG is guided by an advisory council listed below. Anyone interested in obtaining more information or to attend a CIRG theme meeting should contact Yvonne Natoli (

CIRG Advisory Council

• Kay Hetherly

Strategic Research Initiatives Coordinator, Office of Research and Sponsored Programs

• Andrea Hilkovitz

Research Coordinator for External Fellowships, Graduate College

• Evan Humphries

Research Associate/Lecturer, Ingram School of Engineering

• Jana Minifie

Director, Service-Learning Excellence Program, Barshop  Professor Excellence in Entrepreneurship, McCoy College of Business

• Yvonne Natoli

Research Coordinator, McCoy College of Business