Urban Innovation Grants

The Mansueto Institute for Urban Innovation is providing grant support for faculty research and other work at the University of Chicago focused on critical issues and topics impacting cities.

Our goal is to develop bold thinking through a range of methods and approaches for understanding urban environments and shape positive outcomes in communities and urban areas. We also aim 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.

Apply to receive support for your project, and be part of an ecosystem of urban innovation, which includes, in addition to Urban Innovation Grantsresearch projectsworking groups, faculty-led initiatives, and postdoctoral fellowships



The Mansueto Institute is supporting faculty from across 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.  


Proposals are welcome from University of Chicago tenure-line faculty, and especially encouraged from junior faculty.  Applicants may submit more than one proposal, with different collaborative teams, provided that each application is distinct. We encourage methodological innovation and collaborations.


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, up to $30,000. 

Funds can be used for a variety of endeavors, including, but not limited to, collecting and/or analyzing data, strengthening emerging or prospective collaborations, planning for the development of larger-scale projects, convening partners for a workshop, covering conference-related expenses, supporting the development of new curricula, testing experimental methods, or exploring innovative uses of technology. 

The Mansueto Institute will support the following project expenses in-kind: research assistant management, event and travel logistics, 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 the 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.
  • 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 on questions related to urban studies.
  • Potential For Continuity: A clear plan to leverage Mansueto Institute’s 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.


Awarded projects are asked to commit to the following:

  • Participation in Institute events/programs: One of the Mansueto Institute’s goals is to build an active research and scholarship community. Awardees will be requested to participate in community activities, which may include workshops, seminars, conferences, and other relevant activities.
  • Acknowledgement & publications: Publications related to the awarded project must acknowledge the Institute’s support and be part of our Working Paper Series, a forum for disseminating early-stage, pre-print urban research and an opportunity to make your work visible to our 1,400+ subscribers, and others working in this space.
  • Project summary at conclusion of award: Complete a project summary and results at the conclusion of the award, which the Mansueto Institute will disseminate in our communications channels, including our newsletter, social media, and website.


Applications are now closed. Awards will be announced in May 2024, and funding will be available July 1, 2024. We will provide an update when we next reopen applications.