Call for Applications

Fellowships for Research on Preemption Impacts on Cities & Towns
Deadline for Applications: November 22, 2019 11:59pm CST
Review Decisions: December 9, 2019

While preemption has grown as a tool for states, its impacts on the functions of cities, their residents and their businesses have gone largely unexamined…until now! The National League of Cities (NLC), supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is seeking to award three (3) Fellowships, of $6,000 each, to researchers who utilize a newly developed dataset to study the impact of preemption on the health and well-being of cities and towns.  The Fellowship recipients will be expected to participate in the upcoming 2020 Urban Affairs Association (UAA) Conference to be held in Washington DC, April 2-4.

Those interested in viewing the dataset, codebook, and protocol can access the files here. The dataset is available to the general public beyond those seeking this grant. See below for more information.

NLC National Dataset on Preemption

NLC has partnered with Temple University to create a unique research-quality dataset tracking eleven preempted policy areas, including:

  • Inclusionary Zoning
  • Paid Leave
  • Municipal Broadband
  • Rent Stabilization
  • Firearms
  • Ban the Box
  • Full Disclosure/Truth in Taxation
  • General Revenue/Expenditure Limit
  • Property Tax Rate Limit
  • Property Tax Assessment Limit
  • Property Tax Levy Limit

For each policy, the dataset contains detailed information such as the entities and areas of policy that are preempted, exceptions to the preemption, state requirements and much more. For example, the inclusionary zoning the dataset provides responses to the following questions: Does state law preempt local mandatory inclusionary zoning for residential units? What types of units are preempted? Does the law expressly permit voluntary inclusionary zoning? What incentives are permitted in the law?

If you have any questions about the dataset, please email Spencer Wagner at

Fellowship Requirements

In addition to contributing to research on preemption, Fellowship recipients will be required to:

  • Complete two benchmarking discussions: with the National League of Cities policy staff to: 1) set the parameters of the proposed research once the recipient has been notified of their selection;  and 2) present an update on research progress in February/March 2020;
  • Write a short policy brief about their research that will be eligible for publication through NLC and shared with local elected officials and staff from cities and towns across the country; and,
  • Serve as workshop facilitators at the Urban Affairs Association (UAA) 2020 Conference on Thursday, April 2, 2019 to present research outcomes and discuss experiences with the NLC dataset with other potential researchers and interested attendees.

Fellowship Benefits

Each Fellowship recipient will receive $4,000 for research-related expenses at the start of the research project, and $2,000 in conference-related financial support (that will be provided closer to the conference). Specifically, the Fellowship can be used to pay for research assistants, research travel, defray conference registration, meal/reception tickets, other meal costs, Renaissance Hotel lodging, computer/copy services, and any travel-related costs (e.g., air ticket, train, taxis, parking, etc.).  These benefits will be managed by the UAA Executive Office.

Fellowship Application Process

Application should be submitted online by November 22 and include research question(s), data items to be used, methodology, potential significance, and a simple budget explaining how the $4000 research Fellowship will be utilized. Application review decisions will be made by December 9. To complete and submit your application, visit:

Questions about the application process can be sent to the UAA Executive Office:

Sponsoring Organizations

The National League of Cities (NLC) is the voice of America’s cities, towns and villages, representing more than 200 million people. NLC works to strengthen local leadership, influence federal policy and drive innovative solutions. Stay connected with NLC on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

The Urban Affairs Association (UAA) is the international professional organization for urban scholars, researchers, and public service professionals. UAA is dedicated to creating interdisciplinary spaces for engaging in intellectual and practical discussions about urban life. Through theoretical, empirical, and action-oriented research, the UAA fosters diverse activities to understand and shape a more just and equitable urban world.

Information regarding the UAA 2020 Conference can be found at:

Urban Affairs Association Annual Conference