Our History and Mission

Since 1976, the Natural Hazards Center has served as a national and international clearinghouse of knowledge about the social science and policy aspects of disasters. The Center collects and shares research and experience related to preparedness for, response to, recovery from, and mitigation of disasters, emphasizing the link between hazards mitigation and sustainability to both producers and users of research and knowledge on extreme events.

A basic goal of the Center is to strengthen communication among researchers and the individuals, organizations, and agencies concerned with reducing damages caused by disasters. More than a quarter century of cultivating discourse among these groups has placed the Natural Hazards Center center-stage in both the national and global hazards communities.

Ongoing support for Center activities is primarily provided by the National Science Foundation and other agencies that support the Center's mission including the U.S. Geological Survey and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Other recent funding partners include the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The Center is guided by a National Advisory Committee comprised of representatives of federal agencies that have an interest in hazards as well as stakeholders from academia, state and local government, the private sector, and nongovernmental organizations. The Center has always promoted an all-hazards approach for dealing with environmental extremes and has been a leading proponent of cooperative partnerships among varying disciplines.

The Center carries out its mission through the following activities:

  • Publishing the Natural Hazards Observer (presently on hiatus) and Disaster Research
  • Maintaining a collection of upcoming conferences and links to publications, organizations, and other resources for hazards research and practice
  • Maintaining one of the world's largest library collections of literature focused on natural hazards and extreme events, as well as a searchable online database, HazLib
  • Hosting the annual Hazards Research and Applications Workshop
  • Participating in separately funded multidisciplinary research initiatives that are consistent with the Center's mission
  • Providing hands-on research training to undergraduate and graduate students
  • Administering the Quick Response Grant Program , which provides funds for researchers to quickly travel to the site of a disaster in order to gain valuable information about its immediate impact and response
  • Moderating the Disaster Grads e-mail list to help students interested in hazards communicate.

Material in this website is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant CMMI-1333610. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.