Mitigation Matters Research Program


The Natural Hazards Center has partnered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) to create the Mitigation Matters Research Program to enable innovative hazards mitigation research.

Because the roots of both risk and resilience exist within the social order itself, societies, communities, and organizations have the power to reduce risk and become more resilient — Kathleen Tierney, The Social Roots of Risk.

Program Information

Eligibility: The principal investigator must be from a U.S.-based university. Collaborators working outside of the United States as well as partnerships with practitioners and private sector professionals are also welcome. Research does not need to involve fieldwork to be eligible for a grant. Research involving secondary data analysis is eligible.

Submission Deadlines: Grant proposals are evaluated and awarded twice annually in October and March. Applications are currently being accepted. The deadline for the next application period will be March 16, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. Eastern time. We anticipate being able to send out notifications of funding by end April. You can learn more about the October 2019 grant winners at the "Recently Funded" link on this page.

Award Amount: Grant awards are typically between $1,500 to $2,500. Funds may be dedicated to fieldwork expenses, the purchase of research equipment or datasets, for stipends to researchers, payment for translators or other members of the team, and/or various forms of compensation to study participants.

Proposal Submission Process

Proposals are submitted through a standardized online process. Please read the following information before accessing the form. Proposals should include:

  • Title (limit 12 words):

  • Abstract (limit 100 words): Abstracts will be posted on the Natural Hazards Center website. The initial abstract should include a brief description of the research question(s) or statement, methods, and need for the research. Please note, this is only a preliminary abstract. Abstracts associated with the final report will include findings and will be more detailed.

  • Team Members (limit 100 words): List the names and affiliations of the lead investigator and any co-investigators. The lead investigator must be based at a U.S. university (please see eligibility requirements at the top of this page).

  • Please list three to five key words that describe the major ideas of the project:

  • Research Question(s) or Statement (limit 200 words): Please feel free to provide a more detailed description here than what is in the brief abstract. You are not expected to submit detailed interview questions.

  • Brief Literature Review (limit 500 words): The literature review should demonstrate a solid grasp of the theory and/or empirical work that has been done in the area of study proposed. This section should also underscore the rationale for the study, emphasizing what gap in the literature will be filled. Brief in-text references are sufficient, a separate reference list is not required.

  • Research Methods (limit 500 words): This section should include the research design, sampling, procedures, measures, an analysis plan and timeline.

    • Research Design. Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches to data collection will all be given equal consideration.

    • Sampling. The sampling strategy, including inclusion and exclusion criteria, must be explained and, ideally, will ensure the representation and generalizability of results. If the sample is not representative based on the population or area of interest, justification must be provided. If using quantitative approaches involving human subjects, a minimum number of participants must be provided based on power analyses. If human subjects are not directly involved, then the unit of analysis should be specified (e.g., planning documents, buildings). Given the limited amount of funding it may not be feasible to have a sample sufficiently large enough for certain types of analyses or hypothesis testing. It may, instead, be useful to consider this a pilot or an exploratory/initial phase of a potentially larger, multi-phase study.

    • Procedures. Procedures for recruitment and obtaining consent should be explained in the case of human subjects research and approaches to data collection should be explained for all studies. Please see the equipment portfolio available through the NSF-supported RAPID facility for additional data collection resources that may be useful.

    • Measures. Measures should be described, where applicable—whether collecting data through surveys based on standardized measures, engaging in semi-structured interviews or focus groups, or analyzing secondary data. For research that is not field-based and does not involve human subjects, describe the use of specific tools as applicable.

    • Analysis Plan. Specify how you plan to inspect, clean, transform, or model your data to discover useful information and inform conclusions.

    • Timeline. A brief description of the anticipated timeline for data collection/analysis should be provided. If relevant, the timeline should include adequate time to secure IRB approval for human subjects research before data collection or analysis. Please specify total anticipated duration of project in months. Researchers are encouraged to consider timelines that do not exceed 24 months from start date.

  • Key Implications for Research or Practice (limit 150 words): Include a brief statement describing the potential of the proposed research to advance mitigation-related knowledge and/or practice.

  • Research Dissemination Plan (limit 150 words): Include a brief statement indicating how results will be shared with research partners or impacted communities in ways that are ethical and likely to maximize research impact. This can include community or conference presentations, articles in journals print and online resources, or making datasets publicly available (by publishing on platforms such as the NSF-supported DesignSafe Cyberinfrastructure, for example).

  • Research Ethics: Does this research involve human subjects? Yes, No, Not Sure. Institutional review board (IRB) approval is required for research involving human subjects. Although you are not required to have approval at the proposal submission stage, official approval or a waiver from the lead investigators’ institutional review board is required before data collection or analysis can begin.

  • Ethics (limit 150 words): All applicants should include information about potential ethical concerns and indicate how these will be addressed. If there are no potential ethical concerns, please explain why not.

  • Budget with Justification: Grant awards will range between $1,500 to $2,500. Budgets should provide a breakdown of anticipated expenditures within this range. Funding should be used for expenses associated with data collection and/or analysis. Funds may be dedicated to fieldwork expenses, the purchase of research equipment or datasets, for stipends to researchers, payment for translators or other team members, and various forms of participant compensation. In terms of budget needs for field equipment, consider requests to the NSF-supported RAPID facility. The following expenses are not allowed: overhead, indirect costs, salary payments, fringe. The majority of the budget must be allocated to items directly related to implementation of the research. Upload a budget and justification document of up to two pages in PDF format that does not exceed 2 MB. Please do not put your name or the name of your institution on the budget document, as all submissions undergo a blind review process. It is fine to include your research title on the budget document.

  • Statement of Support from Partners: If applicable, submit a brief statement from any partners that are necessary for the success of the project. This includes partners or affiliates needed to facilitate access to specific populations and/or datasets. Document should be in PDF format and no larger than 2 MB. Merge multiple documents into one PDF as needed.

  • Support from Academic Advisor: Current students should confirm support from an academic advisor. A letter of support may be requested if the proposal is successful.

  • Contact information and brief database related questions

Evaluation Criteria

The program values rigorous research designs and approaches of many varieties.

Submissions are evaluated based on criteria that favors:

  • Clearly articulated research questions that will be investigated using feasible and robust methods

  • Research that is likely to advance mitigation-related knowledge and practice

  • Research that addresses identified priority areas

  • Research proposals that identify and address potential ethical concerns

  • Early career and student researchers

  • Researchers from underrepresented groups

  • Efficient and responsibly crafted budgets

Award Procedure and Small Grant Requirements

After the review team completes the proposal review, submitters will be contacted by Grant Administrator Courtney Welton-Mitchell. All researchers will receive feedback on their proposals. If your proposal has been selected for funding, you will receive information on next steps. We anticipate being able to send out notifications of funding by end April.

For those who receive awards, a brief outcome report including all research results in a standardized format will be due within three months of project completion. This deadline is determined by the timeline included in the initial proposal or an amended timeline as agreed on in writing with the Natural Hazards Center. After the report is approved, the researcher will submit original receipts for reimbursement of approved costs up to the amount stated in the acceptance letter. Reimbursements will be processed in accordance with University of Colorado rules.

Researchers are also encouraged to publish their deidentified research data through the DesignSafe Cyberinfrastructure for use by the natural hazards research community.

Reports will be made available to FEMA leadership, published on the Natural Hazards Center website and promoted through the Center’s multidisciplinary network of researchers, practitioners, policy makers, journalists, and educators.

The researcher must acknowledge funding support, using the specific text below, in all publications resulting from this research.

The Mitigation Matters program is based on work supported by the National Science Foundation (Award #1635593) through supplemental funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of NSF, FEMA, or the Natural Hazards Center.