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UIC Urban Forum

2016 Urban Forum Research Project

Call for Letters of Intent
"The Inclusive Economy"

As part of the 2016 Urban Forum hosted by the University of Illinois at Chicago, the Institute for Policy and Civic Engagement (IPCE) together with The Chicago Community Trust are pleased to announce a partnership and funding opportunity for a research project that focuses on the inclusive economy. This year the Urban Forum explored jobs and the future of the labor force in metropolitan regions through an examination of human capital development as it is influenced by migration, training, and education. Growing inequality, especially in metropolitan areas, means an inclusive economy is needed more than ever right now, where more opportunities are created so that more people can participate in and prosper from the economy.

Proposed research should relate to the conference directly and specifically address the topic of an inclusive economy. The central focus is: what defines an inclusive economy for metropolitan Chicago and what are the practical policies required to grow an inclusive economy? For example, the theme inspires such questions as: What are Chicago’s regional linkages between the high-tech/advanced manufacturing sector and other economic sectors? How does the contemporary Chicago economy map onto the advanced manufacturing/high-tech sector? How does workforce development in Chicago prepare both high-demand, growth sector jobs and the service-sector jobs? What are the key drivers of growing a well-prepared and adequate work force for the immediate and longer-term future? What are the challenges to the labor force of today and tomorrow? More detail on the conference theme and related questions can be found at the website of the UIC Urban Forum.


A research project will be selected to receive a $25,000 award from funding provided by the Trust in addition to a 20 hour per week UIC graduate research assistant provided by IPCE. The project will be completed in close coordination with IPCE and depending on the needs of the project, IPCE staff may provide a limited amount of technical assistant to the project at no cost. Projects must be completed prior to the September 2017 UIC Urban Forum.


Nonprofit organizations, UIC faculty and research staff of centers, institutes, and programs are eligible to submit a letter of intent.


Projects will be evaluated for the extent to which they align with the following criteria:

  1. Relevance to the theme of understanding and building an inclusive economy in the Chicago metropolitan region.
  2. The potential for the project outcomes to contribute to building an inclusive economy beyond the end date of the project.
  3. Agreement to participate in an IPCE-hosted event that engages relevant audiences of the research in discussion around the findings.
  4. The project may not be a political campaign, or involve direct advocacy for a candidate or specific legislative policy.
  5. The Trust funds nonprofit agencies with evidence of tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code that are not classified as private foundations.
  6. The work should be in Cook or one of the surrounding six counties.


Please submit a letter of intent describing your topic, your proposed research approach, and your skills and expertise. Letters of intent should be no more than three pages and should be submitted via email to by 11:59 p.m., October 10 2016. Include “2016 Urban Forum” in the subject line. The award will be announced by October 31, 2016. For full consideration, letters of intent must be submitted by the deadline. If you have any questions, please contact IPCE at (312) 355-0088.