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. 


The New Sharing Economy and Its Impacts on CRE. Explore the implications of shared bikes, cars, workspaces, housing, clothing, etc. as many members of Gen X and Gen Y (millennials) opt to lease and borrow rather than buy these items. Is “collaborative consumption” a fad or a trend? How will this shift affect the location and design of, as well as demand for, office, retail and industrial space?

Millennial Impacts. Explore the Gen Y cohort’s values and behaviors and discuss the locations and real estate products they are likely to demand in the future. Consider their preferences as they move through various life stages (i.e., from young professional to married parent). How will their preferences, coupled with technology, change the built environment?

The Implications of Baby Boomer Retirement for Real Estate Companies. Feature three to five case studies on succession plans in the works and being implemented by real estate development companies, by interviewing company owners and leaders. Researcher could also explore leadership training programs that are helping to prepare the next generation of leaders, as well as examine the impacts of the “lost generations” of real estate executives (e.g. those who left—or never entered—the industry during the real estate depression of the late 1980s/early 1990s and during the recent Great Recession). And discuss the importance of succession planning for executive positions within a company, not just top leadership.  Explore how ownership might change and what different firms are doing to transition not only management but also the ownership of the firm.

The Future of Work. In the face of new technologies, new media channels, new manufacturing processes such as 3-D printing and robotics, how is work being redefined? What tasks will continue to be carried out in a central office setting and which will be done remotely? What skills will future workers require? What are the implications for the built environment in the next five to 20 years?

Future Demand for Office Space (by Type of Industry or Business). For several years, real estate professionals have conjectured that office space per employee will shrink from about 250 to as little as 50 square feet. These aggregate numbers, however, have not been refined enough to be helpful to real estate developers. An analysis of demand conducted by industry rather than in the aggregate would be more meaningful and useful. For each of the industries that are heavy users of office space (including Legal, Accounting, Architecture/Engineering, Technology/Internet, Finance and Insurance), quantify how space use per employee has declined over the past 20 years. Was this decline the result of smaller/fewer private offices, smaller/fewer shared spaces such as conference rooms and libraries, other factors (including changes in staffing) or all of the above? Focus on technological, telecommuting and other forces affecting each business, and make observations/predictions about future demand for office space by industry.

Transportation/Mobility Issues Affecting Real Estate Products. Profile several mixed-use projects across the country that have successfully integrated alternatives to the automobile, including biking, walking and transit accessibility. Describe access to the project and connectivity with other areas as well as circulation within the project. Discuss the developers’ motives in incorporating these forms of transportation and benefits (higher rents, sales prices, health impacts, etc.).

The Impacts of Technology and Omnichannel Retailing. Examine how retailers are refining their multichannel/omnichannel operations and discuss channels such as brick-and-mortar stores, online stores, mobile applications, telephone, television and catalog sales, etc. How are these retailers facilitating transactions, including browsing, buying and returning goods?

Rules of Thumb for E-commerce Fulfillment Centers. Specify column spacing and clear heights for racking and conveyor systems, truck doors and turning radii for smaller trucks, aisle widths for lift trucks or robotics, HVAC requirements, parking and amenities for larger numbers of seasonal workers, etc.

Repositioning Suburban Office Parks. Compile a series of case studies that show how obsolete suburban office parks are being redeveloped and reused as medical complexes, universities and mixed-use communities. Discuss assemblage, ownership, financing, rezoning, street redesign, branding/marketing issues, etc.

Repositioning Suburban Malls
. Compile a series of case studies that show how obsolete suburban malls are being converted into open air “town centers,” medical complexes, universities, mixed-use communities, data centers, etc. Discuss ownership, financing, design, parking, circulation, rezoning, leasing, rebranding/marketing, etc.


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 2014 cycle, proposals must be submitted by February 24, 2014.  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 15, 2013, 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.