NSF Centers for Innovation and Community Engagement in Solid Earth Geohazards

Please see the full solicitation for complete information about the funding opportunity. Below is a summary assembled by the Research & Innovation Office (RIO).  

Program Summary

The Centers for Innovation and Community Engagement in Solid Earth Geohazards program supports university-based centers to advance research on the fundamental solid Earth processes that underpin natural hazards. Centers will catalyze, coordinate, and produce transformative research, lead innovation, and enable convergent approaches for systems-level insights that require the collective efforts of a large group of individuals.

Centers focus on addressing major, fundamental science challenges for understanding solid Earth geohazards, primarily those related to faulting, volcanoes, mass movements, and other dynamic processes. In particular, the Centers will advance understanding in one or more of the priorities outlined in the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine decadal survey report The Earth in Time, including; What is an earthquake? What drives volcanism? What are the causes and consequences of topographic change? and How can Earth science research reduce the risk and toll of geohazards?

Centers will also foster different dimensions of community engagement to meaningfully improve the national welfare. Flagship community engagement activities will take bold and creative action to broaden participation of underrepresented groups in the geoscience workforce and expand the impact of fundamental research in solid Earth geohazards to inform and prepare a broader community. Centers will establish partnerships to enable public outreach, hazard mitigation and other community engagement activities.

The Program has two tracks, both of which are described in this solicitation. Track I – Center Catalyst awards are intended to provide resources to catalyze initiatives to develop future centers. These awards would support groups to develop the science, management, and broader impact concepts for of a major research center. Track II – Center Operation awards are intended to support the operation of a fully developed center.

In FY 2022 the competition will support Track I – Center Catalyst proposals to develop centers to address topics that focus on the fundamental processes that create solid Earth geohazards, such as earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides, and/or other solid Earth or tectonic processes. Track II – Center Operation proposals will focus on the operation of centers that will support frontier research in fundamental earthquake processes. NSF intends to open future competitions for Track II- Center Operation support to proposals focused more broadly on solid Earth geohazards.


CU Internal Deadline: 11:59pm MST October 2, 2023

Sponsor Letter of Intent Deadline: 5:00pm MST November 16, 2023

Sponsor Full Proposal Deadline: 5:00pm MST March 15, 2024

Internal Application Requirements (all in PDF format)

  • Track 1 (Center Catalyst Proposals) or Track 2 (Center Operation Proposals)
    • For Track 1: Project Description (3 pages maximum): Provide: 1) a description of the research and broader impact activities, including those related to creating a diverse and inclusive Center, proposed in sufficient detail for the reviewers to be able to evaluate the feasibility of the proposed work, potential for collaboration and synergy, and potential for transformative impact; 2) a listing of investigators and a brief description of the contribution to be made by each investigator; 3) a justification for why a center mode is appropriate for both research and broader impact activities (compared with individual or collaborative awards); and 4) a discussion of how the Track I efforts can lead to a fully-fledged Center worthy of eventual support as a Track II – Center Operations award.
    • For Track 2: Project Description (3 pages maximum): Describe proposed Center activities, in sufficient detail for reviewers to be able to evaluate the feasibility of the proposed work and its potential for transformative impact. The scope of the Center should be broken into high-level Major Activities (MA), which will provide the framework for aligning the proposed scope with realistic budgets and timelines for achieving Center goals. For each proposed MA that involves a research thrust, provide a concise description of the long-term research goals and intellectual focus, and describe the planned research activities in sufficient detail to enable assessment of their scientific merit and significance. List the PI, any co-PIs, and each participating senior personnel (faculty level or equivalent) by full name, and institutional and departmental affiliation.
  • PI Curriculum Vitae
  • Budget Overview (1 page maximum): A basic budget outlining project costs is sufficient; detailed OCG budgets are not required.

To access the online application, visit: https://cuboulderovcr.secure-platform.com/a/solicitations/6883/home


Any one individual may be the Principal Investigator (PI) or co-PI for only one Center Operation (Track II) proposal. Individuals may be listed as participating Senior Investigators on more than one proposal.

Limited Submission Guidelines

No more than two proposals across both tracks may be submitted by any Lead institution.

Award Information

In FY 2022, NSF anticipates making up to three Track I awards (each up to $500,000 for 2 years) as standard or continuing grants. NSF also anticipates up to two new Track II awards (up to $3,000,000 per year for 5 years) as cooperative agreements. Plans for anticipated awards are pending availability of funds and submission of sufficient quality proposals.

Review Criteria

In addition to the NSF Merit Review Criteria, reviewers of these proposals will be asked to consider the following:

  • How well does the proposal articulate the vision of the future Center to advance innovative and transformative research that is ambitious in scope?
  • How strong is the Center's vision for developing community engagement activities that train the next generation of researchers and have potential for broadening participation of underrepresented groups?
  • How well does the proposal articulate a management plan that describes how the Center's goals and activities will be accomplished and assessed, including the leadership structure of the Center, how decisions will be made, the roles of any internal committees, and the role of partnerships in the center?
  • How well does the proposal align the proposed scope with realistic budgets and timelines for achieving those goals, and does the proposal identify important milestones within the timeline of the award period that progress to the accomplishment of the Center's goals?
  • How well does the Center infrastructure plan describe how shared facilities, infrastructure, and cyberinfrastructure will be developed and managed using modern standards and for use by the broader community?