HBCU Research Center Grants

Deadline: August 15, 2022

The Payne Center will award one (1) grant to an HBCU-based academic research center to support social justice research.

In partnership with

Organizational Overview and Background

The Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) created the Dr. N. Joyce Payne Center for Social Justice to serve as a nexus in advancing social justice for Black Americans. The Payne Center is a non-profit national think tank and research center, rooted in the Black community, drawing together top scholars from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), national thought leaders, community advocates, and on-the-ground solution-makers. The Payne Center identifies, evaluates, and scales new evidenced-based programs and policies designed to create sustainable change to the fabric of Black life in American society.

Project Goals

Housing and real estate markets have a long history of racial discrimination in the United States that can only be addressed through intentional policy change. This grant supports HBCU-based academic research centers focused on social science research that advances racial equity in relation to topics such as housing, urban development, community investment, entrepreneurship, the racial wealth gap, economic mobility, infrastructure, transportation, and sustainability. Proposals for new research specifically related to the real estate industry and equity, such as equity in real estate investment, gentrification, affordable housing, real estate disparities in Black communities, and barriers that people of color face when entering the commercial real estate profession are particularly welcomed. This research should seek to highlight the disparities in the real estate industry including the housing market and the impact of those disparities, while pointing toward policy solutions that promote racial, economic, and social justice.

This research will be supported by a grant to the Dr. N. Joyce Payne Center for Social Justice from CBRE, Inc., a national real estate services firm. Grantees will gain access to market-leading and robust proprietary data supplied by CBRE to develop innovative solutions to issues related to systemic inequities in real estate, housing, and economic development.


Academic research centers in social science, social justice, or related fields based at a Historically Black College or University (HBCU) are eligible to apply. Proposals must include participation of graduate or undergraduate research assistants.

Researchers may come from fields such as (but not exclusive to) sociology, public policy, urban studies, African American studies, economics, architecture, environmental studies, business, data science, or political science.

Proposal and Project Timeline

The Payne Center’s partnership with CBRE, Inc. will take place during the 2022-2023 academic year, in conjunction with TMCF.

Proposal Opportunity Opens: June 1, 2022
Submission of proposals: Due August 15, 2022
Proposal Review and Interviews with Submitters: September – October 2022
Announcement of accepted proposal: November 2022
Research work and development of original insights: November 2022 – September 30, 2023
Report on Research Work Due: October 31, 2023
Publication of research reports and accompanying materials: November 2023
Continued promotion of findings as well as ongoing collaboration with the Payne Center to optimize research impact.

Proposal Outline

Research proposals should be no more than ten (10) pages, and include the following elements:

  • Project Title
  • Project Summary (350 words)
  • Project Narrative, no more than ten (10) pages, single spaced, 1” margins, 12-point font.

The Project Narrative should include:

  • Description of need for research/rationale
  • Proposed research, including a question or hypothesis
  • Description of how the research fulfills the scope of the RFP
  • Research methodology
  • Key research personnel, including description of past research experience
  • Proposed dissemination process for research results
  • Budget Narrative (included in 10-page limit)
  • Project Timeline (not included in 10-page limit)
  • Project Budget (not included in 10-page limit)
  • TMCF will pay a maximum of 8% indirect fee, but prefers to pay 0% indirect

Reporting Requirements

The chosen Center will be required to sign a grant agreement that outlines scope of research, budget, timeline, milestones, deliverables (reports), and payment schedule.

Evaluation Criteria

When evaluating proposals, the committee will consider:

  • Methodological rigor and academic merit
  • Potential for direct impact on underserved communities
  • The use of innovative approaches that draw together research, insights, and methods from different fields and/or sectors
  • Clear implications for informing social justice change
  • Participation of undergraduate and/or graduate researchers

The following evaluation rubric will be used to review and assess submitted proposals:

Item Possible Points
Proposal Format 5
Budget (1 = unjustified; 10 = justified) 10
Scope of research identified 5
Alignment with Project Goals 10
Evaluation and accountability 10
Measurable outcomes identified 5
Feasibility of completion 10
Research focused on targeted issue to inform solutions to increase opportunity for fragile communities 30
Participation of graduate and/or undergraduate researchers 5
Timeline (1 = unattainable; 5 = attainable) 5
Prior Research Experience 5
Total 100

Payment Structure

Successful grant awardees will receive two funding disbursements. The first disbursement will be upon receipt of finalized award agreement and invoice. The second disbursement will be upon receipt of final research report sharing research findings.

Proposal Format and Delivery Instructions

Please direct any additional questions and deliver proposals electronically as one PDF file to [email protected].