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 2016

  1. Workplace Strategy Trends. How are building owners, brokers and architects working with tenants to build out tailored office spaces that support tenants’ corporate cultures and productivity goals? Ideally, this research project will be conducted jointly by a major brokerage firm in conjunction with a major architecture firm.

  2. 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 (or both)? Are they being built in different locations? Have some become obsolete; if so, how might those be reused/redeveloped?

  3. Reimagining the Mall. Case studies of reimagined/redeveloped malls, illustrating how obsolete malls across North America have been demolished and/or redeveloped with new uses (health care facilities, apartment complexes, offices, community college campuses, manufacturing and warehousing, etc.).

  4. The Evolution of the Supply Chain and Logistics Industry. As online shopping increases and consumers come to expect rapid delivery of goods and easy returns, how is this changing the supply chain and logistics industry? What are the most reputable logistics education programs leading to university degrees and how are these changing in the face of e-commerce?

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

  6. Short-term Workspace Leasing Trends. How are new systems like LiquidSpace, Hirise, Kinglet and others meeting the needs of highly mobile office workers, enabling them to lease desks, offices, 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?

  7. Sensors, Beacons and Building Automation Systems. Where and how are they being used now? Explore where and how they will be used in the future.


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 2016 cycle, proposals must be submitted by March 4, 2016. 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 April 29, 2016 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.

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.