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Michael Brill Grant
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Michael Brill Grant for Urban Communication, Design, and Human Behavior


Sponsored by:

Urban Communication Foundation


*The 2020 application period opens soon*


Michael BrillThe Michael Brill Grant for Urban Communication, Design, and Human Behavior seeks to encourage research projects that connect design and communication theories to human responses in the designed environment. The intent of the Brill Grant is to accomplish innovative work addressing human needs at the intersection of design, human behavior, and communication. The environments under consideration in this research may range in scale from specific interior environments to large-scale urban environments and may also include virtual environments. Priority will be given to new research or significant elements of ongoing research where the grant enables additional work to happen. Research results based on the grant must be presented at an EDRA conference after completion of the work.

The research may focus on design’s influence on the mode, nature, and content of human communication OR examine communication innovations’ influence of design or design requirements.  


This grant honors EDRA member Michael Brill, who, while approaching research from the design and human behavior side, encompassed both of these fields in the scope of his life’s work. It extends also the recognition in his work that environment and communication are both undergoing radical change due to technology.


This award is funded by the Urban Communication Foundation and sponsored by the Environmental Design Research Association. Amount of Award: $2,500 per grant



Eligible participants must be EDRA members to apply for and receive this grant.


Application Requirements

Each complete application should include:

  • A statement or research proposal in no more than two pages describing the nature and significance of the project in relatively non-technical terms, anticipated schedule (expected completion time); plans for dissemination of the project results, and a budget,
  • An appendix of up to two pages for bibliography, photos, figures, etc. may be included,
  • A copy of the applicant’s current CV or resume.

Criteria for evaluation

  • Clarity of statement of the issue/topic/theory being investigated
  • Level of originality/innovation in problem, approach, research method or analysis
  • How ‘communicative behavior’ plays a part in shaping the physical environment, or, how the environment impacts communicative behavior
  • The role of the physical setting in the research
  • The methods proposed, to address the question/topic
  • Identification of 3-5 most relevant citations for the research
  • Budget: Identification of how funds will be used (what proportion, for what activity)
  • How the applicant’s CV ‘fits’ with the work proposed.

Submit an Application


Past Winners

2019 Winner
The 2019 Michael Brill Grant was given to Chester Harvey of UC Berkeley for the project titled How Does Streetscape Design Communicate Walkability and Influence Walking Behavior?

2018 Winner
The 2018 Michael Brill Grant was given to Miyoung Hong for the project titled Understanding Communication and Patient Care Delivery in Two Different Outpatient Clinic Designs: A Comparison of Onstage/Offstage and Linear Modules.

2017 Winner
The 2017 Michael Brill Grant was given to Georgia Lindsay, for her project titled Communicating Sustainability in the Green Science Museum.

2016 Winner
The 2016 Michael Brill Grant was given to Nastaran Tabyanian, Pennsylvania State University, for her project titled Developing an Online Platform for Participatory Resilient Urban Landscape Design.

2015 Winners
The 2015 Michael Brill Grant was given to Seunghae Lee and Paul Platosh of Oregon State University for their work titled Wayfinding and Augmented Reality.


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