Small Grants Program

The School of Cities’ Small Grants Program supports knowledge mobilization and translation, public policy engagement, curricular innovations, and other activities that address urban issues and contribute to efforts that make cities more sustainable, prosperous, inclusive and just. Examples include, but are not limited to, public engagement events and initiatives, community-informed interventions, organizing conferences and symposia, art practice and creative pedagogies, and teaching & learning activities.  



The School aims to reflect the diversity of people and communities of the local urban region. It is especially committed to the active participation of under-represented and equity-deserving groups, Indigenous, Black, immigrant, racialized, LGBTQ2S+ people and people with disabilities

The School reflects a global sense of urbanism, with attention to the interplay between local and global contexts and the relationships and networks that shape a sense of place. Locally, its scope includes the cities and metropolitan areas that comprise the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. The School’s core values will inform its partnerships. It seeks meaningful collaborations with its partners, recognizing that communities and their members are not sites or objects of research, but actors, co-creators, and collaborators in knowledge-making projects. 

The School of Cities is focusing on the topics of climate and justice in cities and belonging, migration and thriving. Thus, we particularly welcome projects addressing the intersection of urban vulnerability and climate change and adaptation and creating a sence of thriving through belonging and migration , however, all applications will be reviewed and considered. 


Criteria & Eligibility

Maximum of $5,000 per initiative, with the majority of awards ranging from $1,000-$1,500; 

Individual faculty and staff members, and recognized UofT student groups, are eligible to apply; 

For current student applicants, University of Toronto department, program, recognized student group, faculty member or other formal university organization must also be a co-sponsor (can be non-budgetary). This grant is not meant to fund individual student research projects; 

The initiative must focus on knowledge mobilization and translation, public policy engagement, curricular innovations and activities that address urban issues; 

Eligible expenses: research assistance, graphic design, writing, hosting/technology expenses, room rental, catering, event promotion, travel expenses, honorariums for guest speakers, field trips. Other expenses to be approved on a case-by-case basis; 

Priority given to initiatives that are public, accessible and/or free of charge; 

Funds can be accessed a maximum of once per year by each applicant or co-sponsor; 

Funds must be spent within 6 months of the grant award; 

Funds must be disbursed to U of T financial accounts (via direct transfer) or recognized U of T student group bank accounts (via cheque), only. 


Expectations of Recipients 

Acknowledgement of School of Cities support on digital and/or print media;   

Following the conclusion of your initiative, provide a 300-word post-event narrative and summary of outcomes and engagement data – a report template will be provided. 


Application Process 

Applications will be bundled and assessed in the first week of each month, and decisions will be announced by the second week of each month; 

All successful initiatives receiving funding and/or support will be promoted by the School of Cities; 

Please fill out the form below to apply for SofC Small Grant Funds (opens in a new window):


Non-budgetary Requests  

Partner with the School of Cities to have your event/initiative promoted on the School of Cities website and through the School's social media and other communications only (no financial support).


Frequently Asked Questions


  1. Can individual students apply for a Small Grant?  

    Individual current (Active Full-time or Part-time status) students who have a co-sponsor (can be non-budgetary) in the form of a University of Toronto department, program, University recognized student group, faculty member, or other formal university organization are welcome to apply for a Small Grant. Individual students must remain active in order to access funds. Please include the contact information for your co-sponsor in the application.  

  1. Can alumni apply for a Small Grant?  

    At this time, the Small Grants program is only reviewing applications from current students with formal university organization as a co-sponsor, current staff and faculty members, and recognized U of T student groups.  


Content/ logistics

  1. Does my project/initiative have to focus on the School of Cities 2021 theme of climate and justice in cities to be considered?

    While we particularly welcome applications addressing the intersection of climate change, urban vulnerability and adaptation, all applications on urban focused topics will be reviewed and considered.  

  1. How complete does my project/initiative concept need to be to apply for a Small Grant?

    Your project/initiative should be ready for execution at the time of application.  

  1. My project/initiative will be starting before a decision is made by the School of Cities. Can I still apply for a Small Grant?

    Yes. We understand timelines for decisions and transfer of funds may not match project timelines. However, please ensure alternate funding sources are secured before incurring expenses and that all expenses comply with University of Toronto policies. 

  1. What are the timelines for project completion? 

    Funds must be spent within 6 months of the grant award. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis.  

  1. Are there any geographic limitations on my project?

    No. Projects/initiatives can take place in any geographic region or in virtual format. Eligible expenses must comply with University of Toronto policies. 

  1. Can I apply to the Small Grants program to fund individual research activities?

    No. These funds are not intended to support individual faculty or student research activities, but rather the outcomes of such activities as they relate to knowledge mobilization and engagement and curricular innovation.

  2. Can I re-apply to the Small Grants program with an initiative that was not selected?

    Yes. However, please ensure any new application meets the eligibility requirements and/or specifically responds to the feedback given in the initial decision.  

  3. Can I submit multiple applications to the Small Grants program?  

Please apply with one project/initiative in mind.  



  1. How are the funds disbursed? 

    School of Cities Small Grant Award funds are either disbursed to recipient’s home department or to a U of T recognized student group, and not an individual person. 

  1. What if my project does not use all of the funds granted?  

    Remaining funds are to be returned to School of Cities. Please contact for assistance.