Urban Innovation Grants

The Mansueto Institute for Urban Innovation is providing grant support for research at the University of Chicago focused on how cities work, grow, and develop, with the aim of advancing more sustainable and equitable urban futures.


Our goal is to encourage the creation of new knowledge through a range of methods and approaches for understanding urban environments, and to amplify the University of Chicago’s urban research and scholarship across the social sciences, environmental and health sciences, the arts and humanities, and public policy. Recently funded projects have addressed issues such as neighborhood boundaries, climate, and traffic safety.

Apply to receive support for your project, and be part of an ecosystem of urban innovation. Urban Innovation grants can lead to research projects, working groups, and faculty-led initiatives.


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Applications are currently closed. They will re-open at the start of the 2023-2024 academic year. For the current 2022-2023 academic year, funding will be available July 1st.



The Mansueto Institute is focused on synthesizing complex ideas from different disciplines to build new, fundamental knowledge about cities and urbanization. Proposals may be regionally and topically diverse, approaching issues of urbanism through any perspective or theoretical lens. Competitive proposals will demonstrate how the research will advance important questions of environmentally, socially, and/or economically sustainable urban development, but all proposals related to urban issues will be considered.


Project proposals should take a comprehensive approach to tackling the challenges and opportunities of cities. Proposals are welcome from University of Chicago faculty, full-time research appointees, and lecturers. Applicants may submit more than one proposal, with different collaborative teams, provided that each application is distinct. We encourage methodological innovation and collaborations with partners outside the University of Chicago.



Selected projects will receive a blend of direct funding and in-kind support from the Mansueto Institute. Submissions are eligible for a range of funding for research projects, from seed awards up to $25,000, to larger-scale awards of $25,000–$100,000.

Seed support is intended for projects that are less developed, including, but not limited to, strengthening emerging or prospective collaborations, planning for the development of a large-scale project, convening partners for a workshop, covering conference-related expenses, supporting the development of new curricula, testing experimental methods, or exploring innovative uses of technology.

Proposals for large-scale project support are expected to present a clearly established research agenda and a well-developed plan for implementation.

The Mansueto Institute will support the following project expenses in-kind: research assistant compensation and supervision, event and travel budget, data and equipment purchasing, and communications and marketing resources. Funded proposals also have access to event and co-working space at the Mansueto Institute on the University of Chicago campus.

Award funding cannot be used for faculty salary support, course reduction, academic leave, or summer salary, sub-awards to external (non-University of Chicago) collaborators, the purchase of equipment at institutions other than University of Chicago, or indirect costs. Indirect costs are those that are not directly identifiable to a specific sponsored project (administrative, clerical work, telephones, office supplies, electricity, gas, rent, etc.).


Proposals will be reviewed by a faculty committee using the following measures:

  • Explicitly Urban: Focus on a novel question or method pertaining to the study of cities.
  • Interdisciplinary Synthesis and Collaboration: Includes collaboration between two or more disciplines as appropriate to address the proposal’s objectives.
  • Originality and Significance of the Research and/or Methodological Innovation: Advances new ideas / research methods in the social, natural, data sciences, and/or the humanities, or the project uses existing approaches in an original way that provides significant impact to questions related to urban studies.
  • Potential For Continuity: A clear plan to leverage Mansueto Institute’s seed support to attract additional resources that support long-term efforts beyond the project period, for example in terms of intended grant applications.
  • Feasibility & Deliverables: Clearly conveys anticipated project outputs – such as research results, educational materials, data or tools, or other products – and an aligned approach to achieve outputs within the project period.


Applications are currently closed. They will re-open at the start of the 2023-2024 academic year. For the current 2022-2023 academic year, funding will be available July 1st.