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Metropolitan Research Grant Program RFP


The University Metropolitan Consortium is seeking proposals from University of Minnesota researchers interested in metropolitan dynamics. In the United States, metropolitan areas contain more than 80% of the population and account for more than 90% of the national GDP. As the locus of innovation and generators of cultural change and economic transformations, metropolitan areas are seen by many as the true engines of national growth and the scale at which economic competition takes place. More and more, metropolitan areas are becoming very purposeful about designing strategies for business growth, workforce development, and infrastructure enhancement that will improve their competitive positions. A number of recent analyses have focused on the concept of regional competitiveness and developed a set of benchmarks for comparison. As regions look to build on their assets and advantages, regional competition increases. The factors that enhance competitiveness are many and quite varied, from a well-functioning primary and secondary educational system that will prepare the workforce of tomorrow, to the existence of cultural and natural amenities that will attract both businesses and residents, to the excellence of public infrastructure, the protection of natural resources, and governance innovations that allow for efficient and effective problem solving.

The University of Minnesota Metropolitan Consortium wishes to support research efforts that can play a role in enhancing the competitive position of the Twin Cities metropolitan area.


The University Metropolitan Consortium was established in 2006 to link the centers, programs, and faculty and staff at the University engaged in teaching, research, and outreach concerned with understanding metropolitan change and development.

The mission of the Consortium is to strengthen the University’s overall contribution to understanding metropolitan-urban-suburban issues by enhancing and extending the work of our existing programs and strengthening the University’s connections to those in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors who also work with these issues.

Amount of Funding

There will be two or three proposals funded in the range of $70,000 to $110,000 each.

Areas of Interest

The Metropolitan Consortium is especially interested in seeing proposals in one or more of the areas listed below. We encourage proposals that address more than one category and that involve at least one outside partner and involve more than one discipline.

  • Regional Economic Analysis. Research related to any of the following: labor market assessments, skills gap related to education, the changing picture of labor supply and the regional demand for labor unionization in the region, wages in the region, analysis of target industries, trends in jobs and firm formation, or occupations and wages. We also invite research that focuses on more basic work on metropolitan areas as units of economic activity.
  • Education. Strategies for addressing achievement gaps, analyses of how educational systems prepare for future labor demand, and innovations in curriculum and delivery that have the potential to better prepare for the workforce needs in coming years.
  • Immigration. The changing immigration picture in the region, including immigration’s impact on labor market and workforce development. Impact of immigration on schools, social services, and housing access and affordability. Availability and provision of culturally appropriate community resources and patterns of social inclusion. 
  • Urbanization and Water Resources. The relationship between urbanization and water resources management and maintenance. The impact of land use and zoning codes on water resources. Patterns of access to water and impact on community. 
  • Institutional Redesign. The analysis and development of effective strategies of institutional redesign that would have an impact on the competitiveness of the Twin Cities region. These would include regional planning or decision-making approaches, cross-sector collaborations, or multiple-issue initiatives.

Proposals that speak to other issues will be considered if they relate to the overall purpose of contributing to our understanding of the competitive position of the Twin Cities metropolitan area or to means of improving that position.

Proposal Requirements

Each proposal shall contain the following items:

  1. Cover sheet identifying principal investigators, project title, 200 word abstract, and financial summary (use this form).
  2. Research summary not to exceed ten (10) double-spaced pages, providing background as to the importance of the research and how this work builds on previous efforts, research question and objectives, methods and research design, relationship of proposed research to the enhancement of the competitive position of this metropolitan area, and description of the research team (including previous work in this or related areas).
  3. One-page timeline for proposed research.
  4. Budget summary. Funding can be used for salary, graduate student support, and research-related expenses, but not institutional overhead.

Review Criteria

The proposals will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Previous research on the topic
  • Potential for scholarly impact
  • Potential for continued funding
  • Quality of research methods and design
  • Collaborative and interdisciplinary nature of the research
  • Impact the research will have on the regional competitiveness of the Twin Cities

RFP Process

Proposals are due on April 18, 2014. Review of proposals will occur and funding decisions made by May 2, 2014.

Send one copy of the proposal to:

Metropolitan Consortium
Attn: E. Goetz
301–19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Electronic proposals will be accepted. Send to: cura@umn.edu