Funding community-based participatory research: lessons learned

J Interprof Care. 2004 Nov;18(4):428-39. doi: 10.1080/13561820400011792.


The California Breast Cancer Research Program (CBCRP) was created to fund innovative breast cancer research specifically addressing the needs of women in California. Beginning in 1997, the Program launched the Community Research Collaboration (CRC) Program, a Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) program intended to foster community-researcher collaboration on all aspects of the research process, essentially placing the community in the center of the research paradigm. The CBCRP conducted a process evaluation of the CRC Program to assess success and identify areas for improvement. The evaluation included community-researcher collaborations and the award process. The evaluation identified successes that speak to the effectiveness of the collaboration concept: empowering women to formulate and initiate research; involving underserved and hard-to-reach populations; addressing important and useful research questions; increasing communities' skills and expertise, and enabling lasting collaborations. The greatest weakness identified was the involvement of the broader community (beyond the group/organization involved) in these projects. The evaluation identified strengths in CBCRP's award process, including technical assistance and feedback, the emphasis on collaboration in the review process, and awarding funds directly to community groups. Barriers included: power imbalances due to the community's lack of experience in the dominant research funding culture; funding limits and award delays; and the increased service demand beyond the funding limits of the award that is created. The CBCRP has been able to incorporate many of the evaluation findings to improve the CRC Program.

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Research / economics
  • Biomedical Research / organization & administration*
  • Breast Neoplasms*
  • Community Participation / economics*
  • Community-Institutional Relations / economics
  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Patient Selection
  • Program Evaluation
  • Research Personnel / economics
  • Research Support as Topic / organization & administration*