Applications Closed

February 2, 2021

Winners to be announced May 6 during the Rice Architecture Awards Ceremony!

Applications are now closed for the Rice Design Alliance Houston Design Research Grant. The grant was open nationally to university students and faculty looking to work on research projects that focus on the spatial implications of urban food distribution and consumption systems in Houston and its region, including the existence of food deserts and lack of accessibility to quality food. The submission deadline was April 15.

The goal of the grant is to promote research on Houston-specific urban conditions that need urgent attention and that can make a significant contribution to the Houston community through quality design thinking.

Proposals should analyze and research design-oriented alternatives to current urban food networks in order to significantly diminish the growing inequity between Houston’s communities based on appropriate access to healthy and sustainable food.

Researchers are encouraged to present projects that utilize design thinking as a problem-solving tool and that incorporate or reference existing local urban farming, food distribution, or agricultural entrepreneurship initiatives that are already improving the quality of food accessibility to all Houstonians. Neighborhood-specific urban research that identifies existing challenges and increases the availability of quality food to otherwise underserved populations will also be positively valued. 



The Houston Design Research Grant will provide seed funds in the amount of $6,000 for research to a proposal of quality that demonstrates potential to catalyze a Houston-based design project. In addition to funding aid, the winning proposal from each category (Student and Faculty) will be published in Cite magazine, and the winners will present their projects at a lunchtime lecture at Rice Architecture.

Submitted applications will be reviewed by a jury of five to seven members comprised of a diverse mix of individuals representing the Houston community, academia, city governance, and local and international experts and practitioners in the fields connected to the grant’s theme, architecture, design, engineering, and urbanism.

Grantees from each of the two categories will be announced May 6, during the annual Rice Architecture Awards Ceremony.

The Houston Design Research Grant is made possible thanks to a generous gift from The Mitsui U.S.A. Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Mitsui & Co. (U.S.A.), Inc. (“Mitsui USA”).

Established in 1987, The Mitsui U.S.A. Foundation currently supports more than 50 initiatives across the US in the areas of Education, Community Welfare, Arts and Culture, and Employee Matching and Volunteerism.