Gambrell Faculty Fellows: Opportunity in Action

Applications NOW OPEN for the next Gambrell Faculty Fellows cohort

The UNC Charlotte Urban Institute seeks the sixth cohort of faculty fellows to research issues related to economic mobility and quality of life in the Charlotte region, with support from The Gambrell Foundation. And for the first time, the program will accept applications for a Senior Faculty Fellow who will support Gambrell Fellows and plan programming with Institute staff.

This year, the Gambrell Faculty Fellows program will fund up to six projects with grants up to $18,000 each. Drawing from the larger mission of both the Gambrell Foundation and the Institute, the Gambrell Faculty Fellowship Program will expand its focus during the 2024-25 fellowship year to include broader questions about ensuring a great quality of life for everyone in the Charlotte region, in addition to a continued focus on economic mobility as one of the key drivers of a good quality of life.

The Gambrell Senior Faculty Fellow will receive $20,000 for the 2024-25 academic year, which can be used to fund a course release and/or summer pay. Responsibilities for the Senior Fellow include mentorship for Faculty Fellows and program planning and implementation with Institute leadership. To be eligible, faculty should have an associate rank or higher and be able to commit time throughout the academic year to the Gambrell Faculty Fellows program. Faculty can fill out this form to express interest and receive the application materials when they are available.

[Find the full program details here. The application materials can be downloaded here.]

All UNC Charlotte full-time faculty members with the title of assistant professor or higher whose job description includes professional expectations for research may apply for this fellowship. Other key requirements include:

  • The deadline for submissions is 5 p.m. on Monday, June 10.
  • The fellowships will fund short-term research projects (up to 18 months).
  • The grant period will begin on August 15, 2024.
  • Proposed projects must include a principal focus on issues related to economic mobility. Quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-methods projects will be considered.

If you have questions about this process, contact Elaine Jacobs and Lori Thomas at

The Gambrell Faculty Fellowship program grew out of the Charlotte Opportunity Insights Partnership, also funded by The Gambrell Foundation. One key objective of the Partnership is to incorporate, facilitate, and build local research capacity to address issues related to economic mobility in Charlotte. The Gambrell Faculty Fellowship Program was developed in 2018 to contribute to this objective by facilitating research on economic mobility and ensuring that our community can access that work. The Gambrell Foundation awarded subsequent grants to the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute in 2019 and 2023 to extend and continue to build the fellowship program.

“With a fellowship of 44 strong, we are excited to once again support our faculty and examine economic mobility in our community, providing actionable information for our community and region,” said Dr. Lori Thomas, executive director of the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute and the Charlotte Regional Data Trust. “We are grateful to The Gambrell Foundation for funding community engaged research.”

Previous cohorts of Gambrell Faculty Fellows include faculty from seven colleges and 22 different academic disciplines. Fellows are studying issues such as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Black women, transit and access to jobs, the relationship between rental housing and educational opportunities, Latinx children’s access to early education, and the impact of the arts on economic mobility.

In addition to conducting and publishing research, Gambrell Faculty Fellows also participate in conversations about the role of housing, transportation, racial discrimination and more on economic mobility in Charlotte. These serve as a forum to engage the community and highlight fellows’ work.

View work, highlights, and conversations with faculty fellows over the years below.

Previous Gambrell Faculty Fellows cohorts

Recently published research from Gambrell Faculty Fellows

Watch several faculty fellows discuss their work during the institute’s virtual Schul Conversations on economic mobility

October 2022 – Transit and Transportation

September 2022 – Gentrification and Displacement

October 2021: Workforce Development

October 2021: The Racial Wealth Gap

August 2021: Health disparities and economic mobility