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EDRA CORE - Certificate of Research Excellence
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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.

CORE is committed to excellence and aims to challenge applicants—and the industry—to find inventive and interesting ways to conduct and apply research in practice. Whether by way of an innovative tool or methodology, new techniques for analysis or means of disseminating a study’s findings, CORE aspires for design researchers to push the boundaries of professional practice

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 research 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 in full — i.e., not only has data been collected and analyzed, but also the findings have been determined, documented, and shared;
  • Been completed within the last three years (since Fall 2016); 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, and studies that have not gone through IRB can provide justification).

How to Apply

  1. Download and read the 2020 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 on this webpage (available September 10, 2019, through November 11, 2019). This will direct you to the online application portal website.
  3. Once in the online application portal, you will need to make payment and provide your answers to the application form questions.

Apply to CORE


Cost to Apply

The cost to apply is $250 per application. If you plan to submit more than one application to CORE, you must complete a separate application form and provide payment for each design research study being submitted.

Key Dates

September 10, 2019

2020 CORE online application portal opens

November 11, 2019
11:59 PM CST

Deadline to apply – 2020 CORE online application portal closes

February 2020

Results notifications sent to applicants

March 2020

2020 CORE certified studies and panel of Reviewers publicly announced

April 4-7, 2020 
EDRA51 Tempe

2020 CORE Recognition Ceremony and presentation opportunity


Check out CORE’s Frequently Asked Questions. For additional assistance regarding the CORE program and/or the application process, please contact EDRA Headquarters at 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 CORE Certification recipients

View 2019 CORE Recipients

View 2018 CORE Recipients

View 2017 CORE Recipients

View 2016 CORE Recipients


Address: 2010 Pear St. #1060 Pinole, CA 94564-9998
Phone: +1 (507) 339-4620


© 2019 | EDRA − The Environmental Design Research Association | All rights reserved.