In 2018, the SOM Foundation introduced the Research Prize to cultivate new ideas and meaningful research that addresses the critical issues of our time. Each year, two $40,000 prizes are awarded to faculty-led interdisciplinary teams based in the United States to conduct original research that contributes to the SOM Foundation’s current topic.
This year’s topic is a prompt to investigate the impact that air has in our world, from the unequal way pollution affects communities to the way it shapes spatial conditions and material innovations. How can air be considered while exploring new architectural environments, structural solutions, ecological strategies, and urban policies? According to the World Health Organization’s 2022 air quality database, 99 percent of the world’s population breathes polluted air that exceeds internationally approved limits. Within this context, what are the multidisciplinary approaches that can develop a more sustainable future? How can air, a vital element that belongs to none, benefit all? Air shapes our world and knows no boundaries.
The Research Prize is open to faculty currently teaching at a professionally accredited bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, or PhD program in architecture, landscape architecture, interior architecture, urban design, or engineering in the United States. The research must be developed in a studio and/or seminar within the academic institution. The lead faculty member(s) will be expected to work in a collaborative manner with faculty from other disciplines, leading professionals, nonprofit organizations, and/or community representatives in addition to students enrolled in the studio and/or seminar. Collaborator(s) can be based worldwide.
SOM Foundation affiliated members and SOM employees should not be included as part of the proposals. Faculty from previously awarded proposals are not eligible. However, previously awarded academic institutions can submit new proposals.
During the research period, the SOM Foundation will schedule periodic check-ins for the purpose of providing feedback and focus to maintain a high level of excellence throughout the research effort.
Research is expected to be completed a year after its start date. The start date can vary to match academic calendars but needs to be no later than August 31, 2023.
The winning teams will be required to thoroughly document the research findings and develop conclusions or suggestions for application to professional practice. The final report should advance the discussion around the selected topic and be visually compelling.
The lead faculty member(s) and academic institution may present the results at the end of the project at a public event held at their institution. Faculty will be responsible for seeking out additional opportunities to disseminate research findings at relevant professional, public, and civic events, as well as in online and print publications.
• Title of research project
• Name(s) and institutional affiliation of lead faculty member(s) and collaborator(s)
• Date of application
• Provide a maximum 250-word abstract summarizing the topic of the proposed research. Specifically, the problems or the conditions that demonstrate the need for the research, the research question that will be addressed, the scope and proposed methodology of the work, and the expected outcomes of the project.
• Provide a maximum 750-word expository description of the area of focus, scope, and outcomes of the proposed work. Include the institutional context of the research (e.g., team composition, travel, facilities, institutional support, etc.). Images that support the description of the project are encouraged.
• Identify project collaborator(s), schedule, key milestones, preliminary budget, final products, and a draft syllabus.
• Provide itemized use of the award funds (e.g., research assistance, travel, equipment, software, supplies, etc.). Please include additional funds or in-kind support, if any, provided by other funding sources. Administrative costs should be kept to a minimum and never to exceed 15% of the award.
• CV(s) of lead faculty member(s)
• Examples of student studio and/or seminar work produced under the instruction of the lead faculty member(s); examples from multiple students in a single studio and/or seminar are preferred
• Letter of support from the supervising department head or chief academic officer of the department, college, or university of the lead faculty member(s)
• Provide a maximum of 20 pages of additional documentation directly related to the proposed research program (e.g., copies of completed or speculative creative work or building designs, relevant writings or other documents that establish unique qualifications).
• Single PDF format
• 8.5ʺ x 11ʺ, portrait orientation
• 35 pages maximum
• 150 MB maximum
Submit information via the application page form no later than Monday, December 5, 2022 at 5:00 p.m. CST. Applications received after that time will not be considered.
You should receive an email confirming the information you submitted. If not, please contact us at email@example.com.
This year’s jury will be led by SOM Foundation Executive Director Iker Gil and will include:
• Daniel A. Barber (Professor of Architecture and Environment in the Faculty of Design, Architecture, and Building at the University of Technology Sydney; Research Affiliate at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin)
• Giovanna Borasi (Director and Chief Curator at the Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montréal)
• Mario Gooden (Professor of Professional Practice and Codirector of the Global Africa Lab at Columbia GSAPP; Director of Mario Gooden Studio: Architecture + Design, New York City)
• Sarah Herda (Director of the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, Chicago)
The SOM Foundation reserves the right to choose not to award, to co-award, or to split the award as the jury deems appropriate.
• Proposal relevance to topic and objectives
• Research program innovation and rigorousness
• Clarity of approach to student engagement in the proposed research program
• Transferability of research outcomes to practice
• Qualifications, prior achievements, expertise, and track record of performance
• Capacity to administer, including contract and budget management
• Content and quality of supporting documentation
The winners will be notified no later than Monday, January 9, 2023.
By accepting an award, the recipients agree to:
• provide progress reports via email to the SOM Foundation Executive Director.
• complete the research and final report by December 31, 2024, or within an agreed-upon time, depending on circumstances.
• forfeit all fellowship money to the SOM Foundation in the event that research are final report are not completed by December 31, 2024, unless prior written approval is received from the SOM Foundation Executive Director.
Any changes to the proposal, including the schedule and budget allocation, need to be submitted in writing and approved by the SOM Foundation.
The winning applications will become part of the SOM Foundation’s archive. The SOM Foundation reserves the right to use the winning applications—and the recipients’ monthly progress reports and final report—or any portion of them in press releases, presentations, exhibits, history books, and similar publications, as well as for public access and educational purposes in all media, including online. Authors will retain the copyright of their work.
For any questions or clarifications about the requirements, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.