To encourage and support students in accessibility research, CREATE funds minigrants for students who are working on accessibility-related research projects. Projects could be part of a course or be independent research under the guidance of a faculty member. One example of a good use of funding is to pay a participant in a research study who has a disability.

Applications can be submitted at any time, and are limited to $2,000. Typically, it takes a few weeks to receive a decision. If funded, CREATE will pay expenses when they are incurred.

Eligibility requirements 

To be eligible, the student and project must satisfy all of the following criteria:

  • The student must be a registered UW undergraduate or graduate student.
  • The student must be a CREATE Student Member.
  • The project must involve accessibility research.
  • If human subjects are involved, the student must take IRB training
  • The student must have a faculty advisor to help guide the student.
  • The student commits to providing a report with a presentation poster/demo. Any publication that results from the project must acknowledge CREATE.

Use of funds

Grants of up to $2,000 are limited to use for:

  • Compensation for study participants
  • Travel expenses for study participants
  • Funding for interpreting or captioning services
  • Need-based funding to support presentation of an accepted paper at a conference
  • Other justified costs that are not compensation for applicant

Evaluation criteria

  • Student and project satisfy all the eligibility requirements.
  • Student would be a first-time recipient of a CREATE Student Minigrant.
  • Student provides evidence of understanding the disability group that is the target of the research.
  • Project has high potential for publication as a paper or poster at a conference.
  • Project budget follows the limitations above and is justified.
  • Project is well formulated and doable within the proposed timeline.

Reporting requirements

  • Any significant changes must be approved by the Director of Education.
  • Any papers, posters, videos, etc. published from work supported by this funding, whatever the amount used, must acknowledge CREATE with the following: “This work was supported in part by the University of Washington Center for Research and Education on Accessible Technology and Experiences (CREATE).” If space is limited, this short version is permissible, something like “This work was supported by UW CREATE.”
  • Students heavily involved in the work are expected to become active CREATE members (e.g., join Slackjoin CREATE mailing listsattend CREATE events, etc.). 
  • Recipients are expected to submit a short written summary of how the funds were spent a year after receiving the funding, which may be used in fundraising, presentations, and promotional efforts. The report should include the following:
    • A short paragraph describing what was done 
    • A description of stakeholder engagement in the project
    • A list of students and faculty involved in the work

Application instructions

Proposals should be submitted as a single accessible PDF or Word file. See UW IT’s guidance on making documents accessible. Set paper size to A4 or 8.5×11″ paper with .5” margins and use 11 pt. font, single-spaced. Smaller text in figures, graphs, diagrams and charts is acceptable as long as it is legible when the page is viewed at 100%. A specific citation format is not required. Proposal length should be 3 pages or less and proposals should include

  1. Name, email, department or school, faculty advisor
  2. UW student number of student applying for funds
  3. Project title
  4. Project description (typically 1-2 pages)
    • Problem being addressed by the research
    • Any context or background needed to understand the problem
    • Methodology used to solve the problem
    • Plans for publication or other dissemination of results
    • Timeline for the project: start, finish, any milestones
  5. Budget with justification

Submit your proposal by email


Funded student minigrants

Academic year 2022-23

Exploring Virtual White Board Sessions in Mixed Hearing Environments. Led by Sherry Wang, Shaun Kalweit, Xing He, and Minjia Yu from the Department of Human Centered Design and Engineering.  Faculty advisor Daniella Kim.

Quantifying the Control of Children using Adapted Ride-on Cars: A Comparison of Steering Profiles. Led by Mia Hoffman and Daniel Campos Zamora from the Department of Mechanical Engineering.  Faculty advisors Kat Steele and Heather Feldner. 

Noise Meter: A Sound Detection Tool for D/deaf and Hard of Hearing Individuals. Haotian Wu, Sai Ma, and Deeksha Meshram from the Department of Human Centered Design and Engineering. Faculty advisors Sarah Coppola and Steven Goodman.

Academic year 2021-22

UnlockedMaps: Mapping Real-Time Accessibility of Urban Rail Transit. Led by Ather Sharif, a Ph.D. student in the Allen School. 
ASSETS’22 Conference Paper | UW News article

Flipping the Script: Designing Systems to Support Blind Audio Description Scriptwriters. Led by Lucy Jiang, an undergraduate student in the Allen School. This research appears in Lucy Jiang’s senior thesis and was presented at the UW Undergraduate Research Symposium. It was also an accepted poster presentation at ASSETS 2022.
UW Undergraduate Research Symposium entry

Understanding User Preferences for a Robot Feeding System. Led by Amal Nanavati, a Ph.D. student in the Allen School. This research continues into 2023.

Academic year 2020-21

Inclusive Design in Video Communication Accessibility with Deaf/deaf and Hard of Hearing Signers. Led by Ana (Ping) Liu, Master’s student in the Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering. This project resulted in a submission to the ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2022).
Video presentation

VerbalEyes. Led by Lucy Jiang, an undergraduate student in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science and Engineering. The research in this project helped justify the design of VerbalEyes, a student-led project to create automated audio descriptions. A poster about the project at the 2021 Tapia Conference won the First Place Undergraduate Award.
Product website

Universal Access to Autonomous Vehicle: Universal Design principles during transition to robot-taxi. Led by Solji Lee, a Master’s student in the School of Art + Art History + Design. The research in this project led to a design Master’s thesis that was demonstrated at an exhibition in the Henry Art Gallery.
Thesis page

Visualizing the Accuracy of Automatic Captions. Led by Kelly Mack, a Ph.D. student in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science and Engineering. This research supported a class project in the graduate data visualization course.