The AIA Upjohn Research Initiative supports applied research projects that enhance the value of design and professional practice knowledge.
This AIA program funds up to six research grants of $15,000–$30,000 annually for projects completed in a 6-to 18-month period. The funds must be fully matched with hard dollars, with a maximum of 10% allocated for overhead. Grant recipients’ research findings and outcomes are published by AIA both online and in a nationally-distributed publication.
You will be using this site to upload your grant proposal and your contact information.
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At least one Upjohn Research Initiative grant (up to $30,000) will be dedicated to design and health principles.* The proposed research under this category should focus on the human health impacts of design at the community, building, or product scale. Research should be relevant and applicable to practicing architects. It must address one or more of these areas:
Methods for efficiently monitoring or tracking health outcomes of design interventions or materials toxicological exposure
Consistent metrics for reporting health impacts or risk reduction vis-à-vis databases and tools (e.g., productivity calculators, materials databases, lifecycle assessment tools)
Policies that could be used to promote health, well-being, and equity through design and construction
Innovations that measurably improve environmental quality, sensory experiences, social connectedness, safety, and access to nature or physical activity
The remaining grant funding will be allocated to projects addressing a broad range of issues, as long as they enhance the value of design and professional practice knowledge. AIA will give priority to the following preferred themes, but applications are not subject to these topics:
Building performance (e.g., measurement, metrics, design practices, or other research that addresses energy and/or water performance of a building)
Technology and innovation (e.g., innovative materials, visualization/design tools/practices, mobility of information to advance the profession)
Climate change and disaster mitigation (e.g., resilient design strategies/approaches to address climate change impacts, lowering carbon footprint of buildings and materials)
* The jury reserves the right to waive this dedicated grant if they deem proposals are not strong enough or don’t meet the criteria as outlined. Additionally, more than one grant may be given to submissions that address the design and health theme.
Remember: Omit any identifying information from the title, descriptive text, budget, and the optional images before submitting for the blind review process.
Criteria and Selection
- Project title
- Abstract (250 word max)
- Clients and knowledge communities served (250 word max)
- Summary of projected outcomes (250 word max)
- Approach to collaboration/partnership (250 word max)
- Images (optional)
- Principal investigator(s) with institutional affiliation(s) and contact information
- Contact information for three references
Given their role in helping establish the program, the jury panel is comprised of seven professionals from the AIA College of Fellows and the AIA Board Knowledge Committee.
The jury evaluates each submission and selects the grant awardees based on the following criteria and weighting. Please consider these when preparing your application.
- Relevance of research subject to the intent of the Upjohn program (25%)
- Innovation of subject matter (25%)
- Validity of research method (25%)
- Evidence of collaboration/partnership (20%)
- Preferred theme alignment (5%)
Submission deadline: September 1, 2018 by 11:59pm Pacific
Notifications to applicants: by November 1, 2018
Verification of matching funds and agreement: by November 27, 2018
Submission fee: None
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Are applicants from outside the United States eligible to apply and receive funding?
A: International applications are eligible to submit; funds for grant recipients will be dispersed in U.S. dollars.
Q: May an applicant submit more than one proposal?
Q: May an applicant be involved in more than one submission?
Q: May an applicant have received funding from the Upjohn grants in previous cycles?
A: Yes. The following are encouraged: New projects, related but distinct previously funded projects, and unfunded projects from prior Upjohn grant applications. The AIA will determine whether a project previously funded through the Upjohn program is eligible. If applicable, please fill out Task 6: Optional for previous recipients of an Upjohn grant only.
Q: What are the matching funds requirements?
A: When grant recipients are selected, recipients are required to submit verification/documentation of matching hard-dollar funds as part of the agreement process prior to disbursement of funds.
The grant agreement (to be signed by the grant recipient) will have space for noting the dollar amount of matching funds and the source(s).
It will include language about matching funds:
The Grant Recipient represents that the Grant Recipient has obtained a binding commitment from a third party (“Matching Funds Source”) to pay to Grant Recipient the Matching Funds Amount by (“Matching Funds Pay Date”).
The Match Funds Amount cannot include waiving of/or paying of fringe benefits (i.e., overhead, cost recovery, department administrative support or any other accounting term/principal that implies other than a direct outlay of funds paid to the Grant Recipient).
Q: Would in-kind instrumentation be considered a source of matching funds?
Q: Is there any further guidance on submittals?
These are general feedback points from previous jury cycles. These may or may not apply to your submission.
- Avoid unnecessary jargon. It can distract from conveying the importance of the work.
- Be clear and substantive about the collaborative aspects of the project. Do not state partners (this is a blind review), but on how you would work together and the kind of stakeholders involved/benefiting.
- If taking place in/on a specific geographical area, be specific as to how it will be applicable to other locations in the U.S. and/or around the world.
- If specific to one building type or sector, note how the project may be applicable to other building types or sectors.
- Advance a new concept. Alternatively, demonstrate specialization that is unique and adds to the body of knowledge.
- Where appropriate, clearly recognize and articulate how your research is contributing to and founded on a prior body of knowledge.