The Center for Integrating Research and Action (CIRA)

  • NC

About Us

The Center for Integrating Research and Action (CIRA) at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill is an initiative that brings together university-based researchers/activists with community-based leaders to collaborate on producing knowledge and strategies to advance social justice in North Carolina and beyond.

CIRA is an initiative of faculty and graduate students primarily in the UNC-CH College of Arts & Sciences to link university resources with community development and well-being in North Carolina and beyond. Beginning in 2003, the group decided to be proactive in developing--with on-going feedback from community-based organizations--ways of collaborating on research that contributes to action in communities. Since then the CIRA Center has helped to incubate several CIRA Collaborations wherein UNC-CH teams of researchers work with the leaders and members of community- and regionally-based organizations on major social problems including the promotion of sustainable development, the reduction of poverty and its ill-effects, and the expansion of participatory democracy.

The CIRA model holds that community and regional organizations, through their efforts to promote social change, develop general and place-based knowledge of poverty and other social problems. This knowledge is necessary for effectively addressing social problems and can be supported by the contributions of university teams with complementary knowledge and skills. The idea is to integrate the work of researchers with the actions of communities to achieve positive social change toward just and sustainable communities and toward the expansion of democratic input.

CIRA seeks to incubate and support the efforts of university/community partnerships and contributes to academic debates and public issues. CIRA develops community-supportive research methods and enables community planning and learning processes.