Commit to Co-ops! Research Projects

Commit to Co-ops! Research Projects

The ACBF is looking for qualified researchers for two exciting projects investigating the impact and potential of the local cooperative economy. We are in search of qualified researchers for two projects investigating opportunities and resources for the local cooperative economy. These projects are part of our upcoming year-long educational programming series, Commit to Co-ops, which also offers educational workshops for local cooperators and cooperators in training.

Researchers may apply for one or both of the following research projects:

  1. Cooperative conversions:

    This research project will investigate the opportunities for conversions of traditionally managed local businesses in Central Texas into cooperatives (worker, consumer, purchasing or otherwise). The research will illuminate the potential economic impact of converting local businesses to cooperatives, as well as the best opportunities and techniques for doing so that are currently locally viable. Sectors of focus could include, but are not limited to, the food and agriculture industry, retail businesses, the service industry and restaurants, arts and culture businesses and organizations, construction, and professional services. The final result of the research project will present qualitative and quantitative evidence and analysis of the possible impact of cooperative business conversions for our region. Data should be presented in a visually engaging format, both for print and online, easy adaptable and useful for scholars, activists, and local policymakers.

  2. Technical assistance capacity building:

    This research project is an investigation into the existing gaps in technical assistance for those looking to start or improve their cooperatives here in Central Texas. The researcher(s) will 1) compile a guide of existing technical assistance resources, and 2)  identify specific ways and sectors in which local cooperative development assistance can be improved. The study should focus on local and Texas-level resources, including things like loan funds, software useful for cooperatives, and technical assistance consultants. It will also be more focused on figuring out the specific ways in which the Texas cooperative ecosystem should grow in order to foster the development of new cooperatives and the flourishing of already existing ones.

Final products

The final format of the research projects should be both print and digital. We highly encourage the use of interactive maps, data visualizations, and other easily shareable and visually engaging ways of presenting your robust quantitative and qualitative research on the topics identified above. All data sources must be cited and copyright or other permissions obtained.

The final products will be shared on the ACBF’s website and used by advocates, other researchers and policymakers in Austin, Central Texas and beyond. Summaries of the research will also be distributed to the local and national press and shared directly with the members of other organizations the ACBF is a part of.

Responsibilities of the researchers:

  • Perform and document research based on the research proposals that is logical, coherent, repeatable, and well-cited

  • Create engaging, well-designed, and digitally-distributable final products

  • Facilitate connections with local and national groups, as needed to conduct and deepen research findings, to aid ACBF’s networking and outreach efforts

What we’re looking for in a workshop designer/facilitator:

  • Passionate and knowledgeable about cooperatives and excited to help build the local cooperative economy

  • Experience with large-scale, in-depth independent (if applying independently) or team-based research projects (if applying as a team)

  • Background in small business development, cooperative economics and development, urban planning and policy, and graphic design or related skills is preferred but not required

  • Bilingual in Spanish/English (preferred, not a requirement)

Diversity Encouraged:

We aim to build a multi‐racial and class‐diverse organization that reflects the future of our member cooperatives. Women, people of color and others who may be underrepresented in non-profits, cooperative development, and cooperatives are strongly encouraged to apply.

Further details:

Researchers will be contracted by the ACBF for a total of $1500 per research project. Individuals or teams are encouraged to apply for one or both of the research project topics. You may apply as an individual or a small group to do a workshop; however, note that due to limited funding, the payment is per research project, not per person.

Research must be completed within six months of contract signing, and at the latest by September 2019 (whichever comes first).

Please submit your application here.

The deadline to submit proposals has been extended to January 31, 2019.

If you have questions, reach out to Carol Fraser, Grant Administrator, at

The Commit to Co-op Workshop Series and Research Projects are partially funded by the Cooperative Foundation. Austin Cooperative Business Foundation is supported by donations from people like you. Please consider a tax-deductible donation to the ACBF today.