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About CORE

The Certificate of Research Excellence (CORE) is a professional certification that recognizes and celebrates exceptional, rigorous, and impactful practice-based environmental design research studies. CORE affords design research professionals in any industry sector the opportunity to be at the forefront of environmental design research, showcase the proficiency of their work, provide lasting value to clients, and advance the industry with rigorous and impactful design research.

Applications to CORE undergo a rigorous, double-blind review by an interdisciplinary panel of experts. Each application is scored on its own merit against the CORE evaluation criteria, which are based on two main dimensions: (1) Research Rigor—the use of recognized scientific approaches (research design, tools, and data collection) and techniques to produce valid results (data analysis and finding interpretation), and (2) Research Value—the study’s actual (or potential future) impact on the design industry and project stakeholders. There is no limit on the number of applications you may submit.

Minimum Requirements

To apply for CORE certification, the design research study must have:

  • Been applied to or based on a real-world design project(s) or ongoing design program/effort;
  • Considered the relationship between identified human and environmental variables;
  • Included an interdisciplinary team of designers and researchers;
  • Been completed (i.e., findings have been determined, documented, and shared);
  • Been completed within the last two years; and
  • Gone through the process of review by an Institutional Review Board (IRB), if the study involved human subjects (though it may have been deemed exempt).

How to Apply

  1. Download and read the 2018 CORE Application Brochure for full details about the CORE program and application process, including the application form questions that can be used to prepare an application offline.
  2. Click the “APPLY TO CORE” button, which will be available below from December 1, 2017 through January 15, 2018, to register and provide payment for the 2018 CORE program. It is strongly recommended that you start your application(s) at least two business days prior to the application deadline.
  3. After you complete the registration/payment process, you will receive two confirmation emails. One email is a payment receipt for your records. The other email provides the link to access the online application portal plus additional instructions.
  4. Complete the online application form. If you are submitting more than one application, you must complete a separate application form for each design research study being submitted to CORE. Note: You may log back in to the online application portal at any time prior to the deadline to view, resume, edit, or withdraw any application(s) you have begun.

Cost to Apply

The application pricing structure is as follows, including discounts for EDRA members and for two or more applications.

1 application:

2 applications:

3 applications:





Individual EDRA Members:




Organization Members:




Contact EDRA Headquarters for the pricing of four or more applications, or if you have already paid for a certain number of applications and wish to submit more at the bundled discount price.

Key Dates

December 1, 2017

2018 CORE online application portal opens

January 15, 2018
11:59 PM CST

Deadline to apply – 2018 CORE online application portal closes

mid-March 2018

Results notifications sent to applicants

mid-April 2018

2018 CORE certified studies and panel of reviewers publicly announced

June 6-9, 2018
At EDRA49 Oklahoma City,

2018 CORE Recognition Ceremony and presentation opportunity


Check out the answers to CORE’s Frequently Asked Questions. For additional assistance regarding the CORE program and/or the application process, please contact EDRA Headquarters at headquarters@edra.org or (651) 379-7306. If you need technical help with the online application portal, you can contact Confex technical support or call (401) 334-0220 Monday through Friday 8:30am-6:00pm Eastern Time.

Past Certifications

View 2017 Recipients

View 2016 Recipients


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St. Paul, Minnesota 55114
Phone: (651) 379-7306 | Fax: (651) 290-2266
Email: headquarters@edra.org


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