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. 


Research Topics 2017

Please note that our research interests are not limited to the topics or the questions below. If there is a commercial real estate topic you would like to explore, please submit a proposal. In general, Foundation studies should focus on emerging issues that have the potential to affect CRE in the medium- to long-term.  

  1. Reimagining the mall. Compile five to ten case studies of reimagined/redeveloped malls, illustrating how obsolete malls across North America have been demolished and/or redeveloped for new uses. For example, they may have been turned into health care facilities, apartment complexes, offices, community college/high school campuses, manufacturing and warehousing facilities, call centers or put to other uses.
  2. Measuring office workplace productivity. Some claim that workplace design and wellness elements increase worker productivity in office or industrial settings. How is worker productivity measured in order to arrive at this conclusion? Provide five to ten case studies or examples that illustrate the ways productivity is measured and how much key design or wellness elements improve worker productivity.  
  3. Big data. Major real estate firms are investing heavily in this area, combining real estate data (listings, leases, time on market, absorption, etc.) with other available data (demographics, sociographics, traffic counts, etc).  What types of information are these new datasets expected to deliver? What implications do big data have for CRE? 
  4. Impacts of Autonomous vehicles. When are autonomous vehicles expected to begin to appear on American roads and how are developers preparing to accommodate them?
  5. Smart buildings. Do smart buildings actually exist? Profile five to ten so-called “smart buildings” around the world. Describe the features that make them “smart,” what those features do and what those features cost to design, install and operate.  


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 Requests for Proposals in the spring of each year. For the spring 2018 cycle, proposals must be submitted by March 12, 2018. The best proposals will be presented to the Research Committee in late March; some of those will advance to the Trustees for funding approval in mid April. All applicants will be contacted by May 11, 2018 regarding the status of their proposals.

During the review process, applicants may be asked to provide additional information in writing or to participate on a conference call with the Research Committee.

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.

For requests for funding or requests for additional information, please contact Margarita Foster 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.