Get up to $30,000 Research Grant in the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Upjohn Research Initiative Grants 2020

ubmit a brief proposal that addresses a sustainable design that helps mitigate or adapt to climate change in this architecture-related Climate Action research project. 

Selected entries will be funded, and AIA will publish research findings and outcomes. At the same time, the researchers will work closely in a partnership with the AIA Upjohn Research Initiative to actualize these solutions to enhance the value of design and professional practice knowledge.

Application Deadline: September 1, 2020


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Six projects selected by the AIA program will receive:  

  • Grant funding of up to $15,000 – $30,000 annually for projects completed in a 6-to 18-month period
  • Online publication of research findings and outcomes by AIA


This program is open to 

  • International candidates. 
  • New projects, related but distinct previously funded projects, and unfunded projects from previous Upjohn grant applications. These are especially encouraged.  


  • An applicant may submit more than one proposal
  • An applicant may be involved in more than one submission
  • Applicants from outside the US are eligible to apply and receive funding
  • Funding will be granted to projects relevant to the aims highlighted in AIA’s Climate Action Plan
  • Funds for grant awardees will be dispersed in U.S. dollars.
  • Research should be relevant and applicable to practicing architects. 
  • Grant recipients must fully match funds with hard dollars, with a maximum of 10% allocated for overhead. They will be required to submit verification/documentation of matching hard-dollar funds as part of the agreement process before the disbursement of funds.  
  • The AIA will determine whether a project previously funded through the Upjohn program is eligible. 

If relevant to you, please fill out Task 6, Optional for previous recipients of an Upjohn grant only.

  • Narrate within the budget section how the grant funds would be used to accomplish the intended objectives.
  • Articulate the urgency and the longevity of the impact of the work.
  • Demonstrate the universality of your proposal, if taking place in/on a specific geographical area, be accurate about how it will apply to other locations in the U.S. and around the world.
  • If specific to one building type or sector, note how the project may apply to other building types or areas.
  • Be innovative. Incorporate a new concept. Demonstrate a specialization that is unique and adds to the body of knowledge.
  • If studying an older material or technology, be specific about the history of that product and its current state as well as how it is advanced.

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Application Instructions

There’s no application fee required. To apply, 

  • Include and submit the following documentation:
    • Project title
    • Abstract (not more than 250 words) including project concept and a brief description of the methodology
    • Budget
    • Summary of projected outcomes (not more than 300 words) and a brief description of how the project would help mitigate or adapt to climate change
    • Clients and knowledge communities served (not more than 250 words)
    • Approach to collaboration/partnership (not to exceed 250 words)
    • Images (optional)
    • Principal investigator(s) with institutional affiliation(s) and contact information
    • 3 references and their contact details 
  • Remove any identifying information from the title, descriptive text, budget, and the optional images (including file properties in optional models) before submitting the blind review process.
  • Click here to apply     

About the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Upjohn Research Initiative Grants 2020

The AIA Upjohn Research program is an international initiative committed to broadening equity, diversity, and inclusion within the profession of architecture to create a better environment for all. 

To achieve a direct impact on architecture and world shared prosperity, the Upjohn Research program supports research projects that address one or more of these areas:

  • Mitigation: Address the building industry’s footprint as a source of operational and embodied carbon; advance carbon-neutrality.
    • Embodied carbon accounting for existing buildings
    • Integrated carbon opportunities in different regions and scales
    • Distributed energy and grid-integrated buildings
    • Net-zero carbon buildings (i.e., design strategies, materials, technology)
    • Water-energy-carbon nexus
    • Regenerative design (i.e., projects that lead to the improvement of the ecosystem, creating resilient and equitable systems)
    • Circular building economy (e.g., materials market)
    • Landscape or site design strategies
  • Adaptation: Address the impacts of climate change in our spaces, buildings, structures, and communities to become more functional and high performing.
    • Durability and sustainability of materials (e.g., low carbon, non-toxic, resource-efficient)
    • Building vulnerability assessment processes to address shocks and stresses
    • Hazard mitigation building/retrofit design strategies for climate hazards
    • Temporary and transitional housing models
    • Building strategies (e.g., design, materials) to promote occupant and community health and well-being
    • Passive survivability design strategies.
      Discover more opportunities from AIA Upjohn Research Initiative.

Key Dates and Order of Program

The deadline for submission of applications is by 5 pm Pacific time on September 1, 2020 

Applicants will receive notification of results by November 2, 2020

Matching funds and agreement will be verified by November 23, 2020

The judging panel comprises seven professionals from the AIA Board Knowledge Committee and the AIA College of Fellows.

Submissions will be evaluated, and selections made based on the following criteria:

  • Demonstration that the research enhances the value of design and professional practice knowledge (30%)
  • Innovation (25%)
  • Evidence of collaboration/partnership (20%)
  • The validity of research method (15%)
  • Strength of projected outcomes related to alignment with the theme (10%)

The Jury:

  • Jessica Sheridan, AIA (chair), Mancini Duffy
  • Andrea Love, AIA, Payette
  • Laura Lesniewski, AIA, BNIM
  • Vincent Della Donna, AIA, ACHA, Vincent Della Donna Healthcare Consulting
  • RK Stewart, FAIA, RK Stewart Consultants
  • Lee Becker, FAIA, Hartman-Cox Architects
  • John J. Castellana, FAIA, TMP Architecture

Networking and Partnership Opportunities

AIA is supported by organizations that offer resources and opportunities to achieve goals through new products, services, and resources. Through collaboration with these leading brands, AIA delivers value to its members and promotes architecture’s role in the construction ecosystem.

These partners include:


  • Strategic partners


      • Oldcastle Building Envelope 
      • Hanley Wood 
      • Deltek
      • Sherwin-Williams
      • Innovation partners
      • Benjamin Moore 
      • Andersen Windows 
      • ConstructConnect’


  • Collaboration partners


    • The Cosentino Group 
    • Guardian Industries
    • Kingspan’s Planet
    • James Hardie
    • BQE Core 
    • Rockwool’s 
    • Owens Corning
    • , GAF 
    • by Compu.tecture, Inc., 
    • Georgia-Pacific Gypsum LLC
    • Carlisle
    • Armstrong 
    • ETS 
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Babajide is a content writer and site admin at Camberene. He majored in zoology and is also a tech enthusiast proficient in the use of python, R and other data analytics tools.

Babajide is looking into using machine learning and artificial intelligence in the near future.

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