Apply for a Research Grant

The NAIOP Research Foundation features an annual program to solicit research proposals and fund research.  Research selected for funding is typically characterized as follows:

  • Unique and original (e.g., the research should not be redundant with existing credible research)
  • Applicable and of practical relevance to real estate professionals, rather than academic and theoretical
  • Provide take-away value that has North American applicability (however, the study can be based on a unique local or regional area)

NAIOP’s research is focused primarily on the following commercial real estate product types:

  • Office
  • Industrial
  • Retail
  • Mixed-use

as they relate to the following topics:

  • Development/Redevelopment
  • Adaptive Reuse
  • Leadership and management of real estate development companies
  • Real estate capital markets, debt and equity financing, and/or investment sales activity
  • Demographics, technology and social patterns affecting commercial real estate
  • Integration of transportation modes with real estate products
  • Base building and interior design elements
  • Efficient operation and maintenance of commercial real estate
  • Marketing and leasing (attraction/retention) of office, industrial and /or retail tenants

The NAIOP Foundation is particularly interested in receiving proposals for research and white papers on topics listed in our Research Agenda.  However, proposals on other topics relating to the items above are also welcome. The most promising proposals will be reviewed by the NAIOP Foundation Research Committee, which will recommend funding for select projects.  The NAIOP Research Foundation Trustees will select the final projects to be funded. 


1. How can obsolete or underused Class B office assets be retrofitted and repurposed? Provide case study examples of urban and/or suburban office properties that have been retrofitted or repurposed. Compile case studies describing previous use; current use; design, development and construction timelines, processes and costs (including financing costs and lease rates). 

2. How are large-scale suburban business parks being repurposed as universities, health care facilities, corporate campuses, training facilities, etc.? Compile case studies describing previous use; current use; design, development and construction timelines, processes and costs (including financing costs and lease rates). 

3. Workplace trends today. How will a wide range of workplace trends across different industries affect the need for office space in the near future? Examine by industry type: Who is doing what, and why? Which strategies have proven most effective (both in terms of improving productivity and in attracting and retaining workers) in which industries? What are the impacts for office developers, owners and operators? Explore industries that are heavy users of office space such as publishing, telecommunications, finance and insurance, and professional, scientific and technical services. 

4. What drives office workplace productivity? How does company culture inform workplace design? In what types of workplace environments and cultures are employees most productive? How does productivity vary by industry? Explore and describe the cultures of trendsetting creative firms like Google, IDEO, Intuit, Pixar and others, as well as those of more traditional companies like Citigroup, CBRE, ExxonMobil, etc.

5. How will new energy disclosure requirements affect the CRE industry? Various states and municipalities are implementing energy benchmarking and other disclosure requirements. Which jurisdictions have enacted these types of regulations? What are the requirements of each program? Which municipalities are working on introducing new laws? What are the implications for CRE? 

6. The integration of brick-and-mortar retailing and e-commerce. Explore the impacts of omnichannel retailing on both industrial and retail real estate. How is the increasing use of mobile devices by both shoppers and retailers impacting CRE? Are stores, warehouses, and fulfillment centers getting larger or smaller?

7. Real Estate Crowdfunding. Differentiate between real estate and other types of crowdfunding/crowdsourcing. Clearly explain the differences between accredited and non-accredited real estate crowdfunding platforms. Profile various crowdfunding platforms, describing how they operate, and how they are regulated. 

8. Big Data. All of the major real estate brokerage firms are investing heavily in this area, combining real estate data (listings, availability, comparative transactions, etc.) with other available data (demographics, sociographics, traffic counts, etc). What types of information are these new datasets expected to deliver? What are the implications for big data in CRE? 

9. Impacts of falling energy prices on U.S. manufacturing facilities. Provide case studies of companies that have opened or expanded U.S. manufacturing facilities within the past two or three years due to lower energy costs in the U.S. Consider starting with the auto parts and basic material manufacturing industries, as these have expanded in the recent past. 

10. Innovation Districts. Municipalities such as Boston have opened innovation districts to cluster entrepreneurs and spawn creativity. What and where are they? What are their goals? How are they structured? Are they a variation on incubators or general economic development tools, or something new and different? Compare and contrast case studies of five or six.

11. Coworking Evolves. How is this new form of shared workspace evolving from shared offices to other types of shared workplaces (laboratories, manufacturing facilities, kitchens, shared conference facilities, etc.)? What impacts is it having on the older executive suites model? 

12. Short-term Workspace Leasing Trends. How new systems like LiquidSpace, Kinglet and others meet the needs of highly mobile office workers, enabling them to lease desks, office, conference rooms, training facilities, and other types of workspaces, in office buildings, hotels and elsewhere, on a short-term basis—as well as building owners’ and managers’ desire to fill available space. 

13. The Internet and CRE Brokerage Firms. Is the Internet disrupting the need for CRE brokers? Take a “deep dive” into the impacts of the Internet on all aspects of the CRE brokerage business.


Typical research grants are in the $10,000 to $15,000 range.   However, broader and deeper projects that provide critical information for the industry will be considered, but should not exceed an upper range of $25,000.  Less extensive projects that result in white papers also are encouraged, and grants for these are in the $3,000 to $5,000 range.
Some projects may receive tentative approval, pending co-funding and/or corporate underwriting, to be arranged by NAIOP and/or the research applicants.

Process for

The NAIOP Research Foundation reviews research assistance requests in the spring.  For the spring 2015 cycle, proposals must be submitted by March 6, 2015.  All applicants will be contacted in late March regarding the acceptance or rejection of their proposals. Applicants whose proposals are forwarded to the Research Committee will be contacted regarding a conference call in mid April, at which they will be asked to present and discuss their concepts directly with the Research Committee. Those applicants will be contacted no later than May 31, 2015, regarding which research projects the Foundation Trustees have elected to fund.  To be considered, applicants must submit the information listed below.  

Proposal Checklist
1.    Abstract (250 to 500 words), including the following:

  • Background of the issue/topic
  • Why this is relevant to the commercial real estate industry
  • Hypothesis or possible outcomes from the research
    (Note that abstracts will be sent, as is, to numerous reviewers. Your abstract will play a significant role in  communicating your concept and will have a significant impact on funding.)  

2.    Statement as to whether you envision this to be a white paper or a more extensive research study.
3.    Description of the proposed research process (250 to 500 words)
4.    List of major data and information vendors to be used (100 words)
5.    Explanation of the anticipated impact of results on the CRE industry (250 words)
6.    Description of the work product/deliverables (50 to 100 words)
7.    Brief professional bio (250 to 500 words)
8.    List of researchers/support staff assisting with the project (100 words)
9.    Timetable (50 to 100 words)  
10.    Estimated cost (50 words)

Please note:

If for-profit data or information sources are used in the study, the researcher must disclose in writing the nature of any vested interests/relationships he or she may have with data/information vendors or their employees.

Unless otherwise agreed to, the NAIOP Research Foundation requires a confidentiality agreement with the vendor/research company or institution, along with full and complete ownership of the work product.

Requests for funding should be submitted to For additional information, please contact Margarita Foster at or 703-904-7100.

Grant Terms
& Conditions

The NAIOP Research Foundation will be acknowledged as the source of funding for the research, and will have unlimited rights to the use of deliverables from the study.  The NAIOP Research Foundation retains ownership of the funded research; researchers can request to reuse, repackage and/or republish the research in other projects or reports after the research has been completed and submitted to NAIOP.

The NAIOP Research Foundation is a Delaware nonprofit corporation that is tax exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code (IRC) and a public charity under IRC Section 509(a)(1). None of its funds may be used to support or carry on lobbying activities or voter-registration drives.  These guidelines are subject to change without prior notification.