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​RIBA Research Fund

The RIBA Research Fund awards annual grants to individuals conducting independent architectural research at any stage of their careers in practice or academia. The aim is to support critical investigation into a wide range of subject matters relevant to the advancement of architecture, and connected arts and sciences, in the United Kingdom.

The maximum amount that applicants can apply for is £10,000. Payments of grants from the RIBA Research Fund are made directly to individuals (practitioners and academics) and not to commercial businesses or to higher education institutions. The fund does not support course fees, expenses, and subsistence costs for those enrolled in PhD/MPhil or Masters programmes.

Mike Althorpe and Abigail Batchelor: Revolutionary Low Rise, 2018. Image by Andrew Hopper/Awut Atak © Karakusevic Carson Architects.

How to apply

Applications for 2020 are now open.

To apply, please download and complete an application form and submit to Gillian Harrison. The deadline for receipt of applications is 5pm on Friday 11 December 2020.

Applications received after this time will not be accepted.

Guidance notes, details of the eligibility and selection criteria, and terms of payment can be found at the beginning of the application form.

If you have any questions about the application process or would like to discuss an idea for a research proposal first, please email Gillian Harrison.

Previous recipients and their research


Miranda MacLaren, Polina Pencheva, Heather Macey: Emergency Homes for Young People

£5,000 awarded towards the completion of a set of recommendations for new policy and national standards for the provision of purpose-built emergency temporary accommodation for young people. In a statement for the campaign to launch these recommendations, the researchers said:

“We were shocked at the limited and poor quality guidance for homeless shelters, and specifically, how there is nothing tailored for the needs of young people. Now we are in our second lockdown, rough sleeping for young people is on the rise and is at an all-time high. There has never been a more important time than now to rectify this. We urge every local authority in the country to adopt our recommendations to ensure that young people get the support they need so they can be off the streets for good.” (November 2020)

View the campaign film

Read the three booklets submitted to the RIBA at the end of the project: Manifesto (PDF), Leading by Example (PDF), Recommendations (PDF)

Sarah Ackland: What are the values of feminist architectural practice? How can meaningful change for women in architecture occur?

The aim of this project is to create an online database of interviews highlighting significant women in architecture and key texts around feminist practice. £10,000 awarded.

Peter Russell: White Saviours or Cultural Collaborators? The impact of design build studios in the Global South.

This research aims to understand the impacts of live teaching across cultural boundaries. £4,835 was awarded as contribution towards completion of this project.

Alice Brown: Estate Regeneration in the age of Climate and Ecological Emergency

This project aims to examine an alternative approach to estate regeneration in order to reduce CO2 emissions and to provide better outcomes for people and nature. £9,982 awarded.


David McClean and Peter Holgate: Mental Health in UK Architecture Education - An analysis of contemporary student well-being

With an award of £9,178, the aim of this research was to develop an evidence-based study of the incidence and causes of student mental health problems within architecture education in the UK. This would then underpin the development of informed responses through curricula and the wider student experience.

Read the report submitted to the RIBA at the end of the project (PDF)

Mike Althorpe and Abigail Batchelor: Revolutionary Low Rise: Informing London’s good growth strategy

Responding to the Draft London Plan, this research explored the parallel development of radical low-rise typologies in three cities with the aim of drawing out lessons and informing current approaches to housing typologies, massing and neighbourhood creation. £10,000 awarded.

Read the report submitted to the RIBA at the end of the project (PDF)

Sarah Featherstone and Petra Marko: Modern Day Picturesque

This research aimed to provide an evidence-based portfolio of examples to support and build on the VeloCity proposal: VeloCity is a strategic approach to growth and placemaking along the Cambridge to Oxford corridor, centred on reimagining of the village for the 21st century. £10,000 awarded.

Read the report submitted to the RIBA at the end of the project (PDF)


Peter Barber: 100 Mile City

100-Mile City was a speculative proposal made in the context of the London housing crisis. Its aim was to provide a necessary and provocative response to the Adam Smith Institute’s 2016 paper which insisted that “London’s Green Belt must be built on to curtail the housing crisis”. £6,000 awarded.

View the film directed by Grant Gee, and submitted to the RIBA at the end of the project (link to external website)

Dinah Bornat: Neighbourhood Design: Neighbourhood Design

Focusing on a local neighbourhood in the London Borough of Hackney, this research proposed new ways of considering space, urban design and participation to better meet the needs of the younger generation. £8,000 awarded.

Read the report submitted to the RIBA at the end of the project (PDF)

Martina Murphy: Re-building lives? - the human impact of social clauses in construction projects

Social clauses are contractual arrangements written into public sector projects to use government expenditure as a vehicle for supporting new jobs and youth employment. This research aims to evaluate the human impact of social clauses and the effectiveness of this legislation to positivity enhance participant’s lives. £8,000 awarded.

Nicole Porter: Mindful Architects - Increasing health and well-being in the student architectural community

As a response to UK-based surveys of recent years which revealed the concerns about the mental health of architecture students, this project sought to assess how the use of mindfulness training could help students to improve their health and wellbeing. £8,000 awarded.

Read the report submitted to the RIBA at the end of the project (PDF)


Bill Halsall and Robert MacDonald: Design for Dementia: The International architectural challenges and responses

Philip Graham: Appropriate Housing: A land partnering model to deliver good homes as places to stay and play

Roland Karthaus: Building rehabilitative spaces

Torsten Schmiedeknecht: The Representation of Modern Architecture through Illustrations in Post-War British Children’s Literature


Mhairi McVicar and Neil Turnbull: Practicing Engagement: The value of the architect in a Community Asset Transfer

Jorge Rodríguez Alvarez: A Case Study Handbook on Sustainable Housing Design. Feedback from London Residential Schemes

Urmi Sengupta: Language of Disaster: Exploring the altered architectural fabric of Durbar Square, Kathmandu


Je Ahn: Independence & Privacy in Co-Housing

Christian Frost: From Medieval House to Palazzo: Dwelling, festival and ritual in late medieval Florence

Iain Jackson and Peter Richmond: The Architecture of Herbert Rowse: Monumental modernism of interwar Britain

Guan Lee and Eleanor Morgan: Clay Robotics: Sustainable practice in a digital world


Rutter Carroll: Something Concrete and Modern: Post-war architecture in the North-East of England

Alan Lewis: The Mathematization of Daylighting: A history of British architects’ use of the daylight factor

Anna Liu and Mike Tonkin: Shell Lace Structure

Asterios Agkathidis and Rosa Urbano Gutierrez: The Aesthetics of Energy Efficient Retrofit: Post-war social residential towers in Britain


Alison Killing and Kate Crawford: (Re)Constructing the City: Integrating urban design into humanitarian response

Lesley McIntrye: Selwyn Goldsmith (1932-2011) and the Architectural Model of Disability: A retrospective of the man and the model

Stephen Walker: Understanding the Architecture of the Travelling Street Fair

Steve Wolstenholme: The Design of Health Buildings in a Time of Austerity

Walter Menteth: Pathways Towards Achieving Construction Procurement Reform and Intelligent Commissioning

Suzi Winstanley: ThinkSpace: Designing for changing reader needs in the contemporary University library


Dr Mahnaz Shah: Le Corbusier's Potato Building Typology 1963 - 1965: An analysis

Oliver Domeisen: The Four Elements of Ornament: Foundations for a contemporary ornamental practice

Lea-Catherine Szacka: Display and Debate: An oral history of the 1976 Europa/America show at the Venice Biennale

Dr Yat Ming Loo: Architecture and Immigration in London: The lost history of Limehouse Chinatown (1900-1970)

Steve Parnell: AD and Post-Modern Architecture: A critical history

Annekatrin Hultzsch: 'Date your District', 1942 Modern 'Visual Re-education' and the Perception of Victorian Architecture in the Architectural Review

James Dunnett: The Life and Work of Ernö Goldfinger, RA, RIBA (1902-1987)


Matthew French: Bio-Climatic Design of Informal Self-Built Dwellings: A study in Kibera, Nairobi

Nicholas Jewell: Bringing it Back Home: The urbanization of the British shopping mall as the West goes East

Stephen McCusker: The Documentation and Mapping of the Central Premises of the Co-Operative Movement in the North-West of England (18442012)

Karen McPhillips: Ecclesiastical Building Disuse and Identity: The case of Carlisle Memorial Methodist Church

Marisela Mendoza: Felix Candela's Legacy: An investigation of Felix Candela's work and its legacy to the socio-cultural heritage and public identity of the contemporary society in Mexico and the UK


Matthew Barac: Slow Topography: Informal urban order in an age of global change

Joseph Bedford: Real Building or Media Object? Stirling and Gowan's Leicester Engineering Building

Emily Greeves: Neylan & Ungless

Tanis Hinchcliffe: An Architectural History of Gentrification in London, 1965-1975.

Get in touch

If you want to discuss a research proposal or find out more about previous recipients and their work, please contact Gillian Harrison.

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