Founded in 1979, the SOM Foundation’s goal is to advance the design profession’s ability to address the key issues of our time by bringing together and supporting groups and individuals, each with the highest possible design aspirations. The Foundation’s grant programming was established in 1981 and currently offers four annual awards across the United States, the United Kingdom, and China. The grants support students and faculty of architecture, landscape architecture, urban design, and engineering to undertake rigorous interdisciplinary research that can help shape our future.


The SOM Foundation supports individuals with the highest design aspirations and enables them, through research and travel, to broaden their horizons and achieve excellence in their professional or academic careers. 


Currently, the Foundation awards the following prizes and fellowships:

The SOM Foundation and its Board of Officers have been closely monitoring the unprecedented situation created by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This spring, we had planned to launch the call for our 2020 SOM Foundation Structural Engineering Research Fellowship and our 2020 SOM Foundation China Prize. After evaluating the current situation, we have decided to postpone the call until 2021. 

We have always valued the importance of supporting emerging practitioners and do not take this decision lightly. Due to the closing of academic institutions, the transition to online classes, and the strict global travel restrictions in place, it would be impossible to fully and responsibly achieve the goals of the two awards. We wouldn’t want to compromise our community of fellows and the impact of the awards in any way. 

We join communities around the world who continue to closely follow the recommendations of the World Health Organization and we hope that all of you remain safe and healthy. We will keep you updated about the call for submissions for our other two awards, the SOM Foundation Research Prize and the UK Prize, which we will announce this fall, and look forward to receiving your proposals then.


The programs of the SOM Foundation are funded through an endowment established by the partners of the architectural firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM). The Foundation's activities are wholly separate from those of the firm.