NRT Community-Engaged Design Projects

NRT graduate students work in interdisciplinary teams with community partners to address challenges

A core element of the CASBBI NRT experience is participation in a year-long community-engaged design project. Interdisciplinary teams of NRT graduate students are immersed in community settings, challenging the traditional hierarchies between researchers and participants by engaging community stakeholders as full participants in the research process. Teams work with community partners and stakeholders to:

  • identify challenges and needs within a community,
  • formulate a research question, and
  • engage in participatory design to develop and test ecologically-valid solutions.

Are you or an organization that you work with interested in partnering with the training program? Click here to learn more. 

For Potential Community Partners

The CASBBI NRT program connects teams of graduate students with community partners to conduct a year-long research project. The goal of these projects is to develop solutions that directly address urgent community needs. 

Our network of partners is essential to the success of our NRT program. If you are interested in working with the NRT program, please contact Siddhartha Sikdar, Director of the NRT Program, at

Benefits to partnering with the CASBBI NRT program

  • Have a voice in shaping research and outcomes relevant to the communities you serve
  • Connect with Mason graduate students from different disciplines who are interested in developing solutions relevant to community needs
  • Establish a pathway to George Mason University for aspiring scholars in your community
  • Grow and expand your network to include professionals in other sectors

Ways to be involved

  • Participate in informational interviews with the NRT students to help them understand the complex dimensions of the problems faced by the communities you serve
  • Connect students to others in your network who might be willing to share their perspectives on community needs and potential solutions
  • Brainstorm with the students to help them identify workable solutions or approaches 
  • Do you have another idea for how to partner with the NRT to solve problems that are important to you? We’d love to hear it! Please contact Siddhartha Sikdar, Director of the NRT Program at


Disclaimer: Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.