Quick Response Grant Program Guidelines

Postdisaster Studies Sponsored by
the Natural Hazards Center


The Natural Hazards Center's Quick Response Grant Program provides funds for researchers to quickly travel to disaster-affected areas to capture perishable data. In addition to expanding academic knowledge, funded researchers submit brief reports that make preliminary analyses of recent events available to the Hazards Center's multidisciplinary network of researchers, practitioners, and educators. The program promotes innovation in disaster research by favoring students, new researchers, and novel areas of study.

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Program Operation and Selection Criteria

The Natural Hazards Center's Quick Response Grant Program provides funds for researchers to quickly travel to disaster-affected areas to capture perishable data. Upon return, researchers write a brief report of their findings for distribution to the Hazards Center’s network of practitioners and researchers, making topical information immediately and broadly available. Most Quick Response-funded researchers go on to publish final results in academic journals or reports with acknowledgement of Center support. The researcher provides a reprint of the final publication to the Center library, expanding its disciplinary reach.

The Quick Response Grant Program promotes new knowledge and perspectives by favoring research that fills gaps in the literature and time-sensitive research unlikely to be funded rapidly by other means—especially research by skilled students and new researchers. A variety of empirical research is acceptable. Proposals using widely recognized, theory-driven scientific methods to examine social, behavioral, and organizational phenomena are preferred.

The Quick Response Grant Program provides small grants to reimburse actual expenses incurred during pre-approved fieldwork. The program seeks to fund research that is likely to be extended or more broadly disseminated. Realistic and economical budgets demonstrating an effective use of program funds will be favored.

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Preferred Topics

Although all proposals will be considered, the Natural Hazards Center has identified areas where it would like to see the literature developed. This list will be updated from time to time. Proposals that engage one or more of the following topics or classes of disasters will be given extra weight:

  • Legal process, especially in relation to response, access, and civil and human rights;

  • Journalistic practices and their impacts;

  • Disadvantaged populations, minorities, or children;

  • Vital, cultural, and historic record preservation;

  • Mandatory evacuations, including compliance and repopulation;

  • Interagency and intergovernmental coordination, especially in relation to preexisting disaster plans;

  • Mass mortality;

  • Primary public health incidents, e.g., epidemics, large-scale environmental contamination, etc.;

  • Hospital and health system response;
  • Disruptions to food production and producing communities;

  • Application of or conflicts between ethical standards or frameworks; and

  • Debris removal and disposal.

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Application Process

Submit a complete proposal as soon as possible after a disaster occurs meeting your research requirements. There is no longer a fall "in-cycle" submission period or "pre-approval" of proposals. Proposals are now evaluated contemporaneously as they are submitted. Please make sure you clearly address how grant funds will be used to collect perishable data, and that you specify an actual field entry date consistent with collecting that perishable data. When necessary, Center staff will prioritize proposal evaluations based on specified field entry dates.

Proposals are accepted from all U.S.-based researchers. Submissions must include:

  • A maximum three-page proposal consisting of a title, research question(s), and methods, including details of plans to collect data under difficult conditions. An explanation of the need for a quick response, theoretical and applied benefits of the research, and field entry timeframe should be clearly stated.

  • An economical budget limited to travel-related expenses such as airfare, car rental, hotel, and per diem. Modest data collection costs may also be considered. Most budgets should be under $2,000. A maximum of $3,000 is available for an exceptional proposal.

  • A curriculum vita, outlining relevant qualifications, publications, and experience.

  • Students should submit a statement explaining their qualifications to implement the proposed methods and complete the work. A letter of support from an advisor and other information supporting a student's qualifications may be required before final approval is granted.

  • An official letter from the applicant’s human subjects committee approving the research, or waiving the need for approval, will be required before Quick Response Grant activation. The proposal may be submitted to the Quick Response Grant Program before human subjects committee approval is obtained, but we recommend that approval be sought as early as possible. If a human subjects committee approval letter is not sent with your proposal, please include a short statement about your plans for meeting this requirement.

The above documents should be submitted in Word or PDF format by e-mail to hazards.qrgrant@colorado.edu only for blinded review. Include “Quick Response Grant Proposal” in the subject line. Do not submit proposals directly to Center staff.

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Favored Evaluation Criteria

Submissions will be evaluated based on weighted criteria favoring:

  • Responses to a special call for proposals made by the Hazards Center to the Quick Response Grant Program e-mail list;

  • New and student researchers that have not received a Quick Response Grant in the past two years;

  • Clearly articulated research questions that will be investigated using robust and appropriate methods and significantly contribute to knowledge about the social aspects of hazards and disasters;

  • Proposals that promise to produce broadly applicable findings from research unlikely to be funded by other means and that are likely to result in extended work and broader dissemination;

  • Likelihood of completing research as proposed, resulting in submittal of a high-quality report; and

  • Efficient and responsibly crafted budgets.

Final approval of all proposals are made by NHC Director Kathleen Tierney.

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Activation Procedure and Grant Requirements

After Center staff complete the blinded scoring and ranking of your proposal, you will be contacted by Jolie Breeden. If your proposal has been approved, she will discuss additional steps needed for activation.

An official letter from the applicant’s human subjects committee approving the research, or waiving the need for approval, will be required before activation.

Every effort will be made to enable the researcher to enter the field as soon as possible. However, all approvals remain at the Natural Hazards Center's sole discretion. Under no circumstances should researchers enter the field expecting Quick Response Grant Program funding without written approval.

A Quick Response Research Report of 5-12 pages will be due within 90 days of returning from the field. The report should include the research question(s), methods, results, and possible applications of results. Reports should be submitted as a Microsoft Word document. Charts, graphs, photos, and other ancillary materials should be submitted as separate files with notations of their placement in the main document.

After the report is received and accepted, the researcher may submit original receipts for reimbursement, up to the amount stated in the acceptance letter, in accordance with University of Colorado rules. Researchers submitting late reports may forfeit reimbursement.

Quick Response Research Reports will be edited to Center style and published on the Natural Hazards Center Web site as well as in other electronic and print forms. Most Quick Response-funded researchers go on to publish final results in academic journals or reports. The researcher must acknowledge Center support in all publications resulting from their Quick Response Program grant and provide a reprint of those publications to the Center library.

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