Call 4: Community-Based Research on Public Health and Equity

Call Now Closed!


Proposal Q&A Session

To learn more about this funding opportunity, watch this pre-recorded proposal information Q&A session from Tuesday, September 12, 2023.

The Natural Hazards Center—with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Science Foundation (NSF)—is issuing a call for proposals for public health disaster research in the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, tribal nations, and rural communities across the United States. Disasters cause disproportionate harm in these places, yet they remain understudied. This call is designed to promote novel research with strong public health applications that will help to shield populations from future hazard events by improving their disaster preparedness and response.

Community-based research that is led by investigators with strong ties to local collaborators can help these communities achieve this goal by clarifying problems and bringing solutions into focus. This fourth call of the Public Health Disaster Research Award Program seeks to fund studies that involve community engagement, while also having broader applicability for public health practice and policy. We are especially interested in research that advances rigorous conceptualization and measurement of equity as both a process and an outcome that is necessary to reduce current and future disaster risk.

Award Details At-A-Glance

Please see below for key proposal and deliverable requirements. Additional details and due dates are included throughout this call.

  • Available funds will support 3 to 6 awards in the amount of $25,000 to $50,000 each.
  • Proposals are due by 5:00 p.m. MDT on Friday, September 29, 2023. Applicants must complete pre-proposal requirements as detailed in this call.
  • Proposals should be 8 pages, single-spaced, and meet the specifications detailed in this call.
  • Award announcements will be made no later than Wednesday, October 25, 2023.
  • First draft reports summarizing research findings and public health implications are due Friday, April 5, 2024.
  • All other project related deliverables outlined in the Post-Award Requirements timeline below must be completed by Friday, August 2, 2024.

Research Criteria

Focus Areas

Proposals will be prioritized that focus on or advance one or more of the following topics within state, territorial, or tribal areas:

  • Public health emergency and disaster risk communication for populations with access and functional needs.
  • Evidence-based practices for public health departments to improve equitable communication, collaboration, and risk awareness before, during, and after disasters.
  • Quantitative analysis of strategic, tactical, and operational aspects of public health emergency response to improve preparedness policies or practices.
  • Assessment of whether public health emergency preparedness practices are effective or can achieve desired outcomes, such as examining the comparative costs and benefits of various strategies.
  • Public health tools and products that support disaster preparedness and response practice, including public health databases, decision-support tools, scales, indices, and instruments for measuring public health and disaster preparedness.
  • Ethical and equitable partnerships with representatives of local public health departments, community-based organizations, and Indigenous communities.

Research Design and Collaborations

Proposals that include the following research design elements will be prioritized:

  • Rapid. The project is short-term and focused on collecting perishable data or using existing data to generate answers to pressing questions associated with recent or anticipated disasters. For more information on what qualifies as perishable data, please read the following article.
  • Interdisciplinary and convergence-oriented. Applicants must demonstrate how the project is advancing convergence-oriented science by building a research team from multiple disciplines and forming close ties with local collaborators to ensure the research is problem-focused and solutions-based.
  • Collaboration with local public health departments, community-based organizations, or local communities. Successful applicants will have detailed plans to collaborate with community partners in designing and executing the research project and returning the results to the community after the research is completed. Applicants with a previous track record of developing and sustaining collaborations with community partners will be prioritized for funding.
  • Population-specific, geographic, and cultural knowledge and connections. Research teams whose members have a strong history of working with the people and/or in the geographic and/or cultural context they plan to study will be given preference. Culturally competent proposals will be prioritized.
  • Transparent. Applicants will be encouraged to include plans to publish their research instruments and data using DesignSafe so that other researchers or public health practitioners can use them in the event of another major disaster. This is especially important in light of recent guidance from the Office of Science and Technology Policy, requiring that all federally funded research be made publicly available without delay.
  • Students and early career researchers. While applications will not be limited to students or early career scholars, those research teams that involve early-stage researchers will be prioritized for funding. Specifically, priority should be given to teams that engage one or more graduate or undergraduate students or early career scholars—defined here as those who are three or fewer years post-degree.
  • Social Determinants of Health and Health Equity. Projects that utilize a Social Determinants of Health and/or Health Equity lens will be prioritized. Please review additional Public Health Guidance here.

Proposal Submission Process

All prospective applicants are encouraged to watch this previously recorded Proposal Information Q&A Session from Tuesday, September 12, 2023. This session provided potential investigators an opportunity to learn more about this funding opportunity, ask questions, and receive support regarding preferred approaches to the study design, including specific feedback on sampling, methods, and topical areas of focus.

Pre-Proposal Requirements

Successful proposals will have clear public health implications for understanding and improving emergency preparedness and response in the U.S. territories, tribal nations, and/or rural communities. To help achieve this goal, the following pre-proposal requirements must be completed prior to submission:

  • Attend a Pre-Proposal Consult Meeting: The lead investigator for each proposal is required to attend at least one 15-minute meeting with public health specialist, Dr. Rachel Adams. Meeting times are available between September 5 and 28, 2023. Please consult this webpage to schedule a meeting. The purpose of these meetings is to provide applicants with resources to strengthen submissions. Please come prepared with questions or requests for feedback specific to your proposed project.
  • Complete a CONVERGE Training Module: The lead investigator for each proposal is required to complete the CONVERGE Public Health Implications of Hazards and Disaster Research Training Module prior to proposal submission. Other investigators are strongly encouraged to complete the module as well. Upon successful completion of the 10-question quiz at the end of the module, the user receives a signed certificate of completion. The lead investigators’ certificate must be uploaded at the time of proposal submission.

Proposal Submission

Applicants will submit a full research proposal through the online submission form by no later than 5:00 p.m. MDT on Friday, September 29, 2023. To be fair to those who submit on time and as required, no exceptions will be made for late submissions. Emailed proposals will be returned without review.

The online submission form will request that all researchers successfully complete the following fields:

  • Project Title: Limit 12 words. (Please use APA title case)

  • Investigator Name(s) and Affiliation(s)

  • Full Abstract: Limit 500 words.

    • Abstract should include an overview of the project, clear research questions, the proposed research design, the gap this research intends to fill, and the expected public health implications of the proposed work.

  • Brief Abstract: Limit 100 words. To be posted on the Natural Hazards Center’s website. See examples of the format here.

  • 3-5 Keywords

  • Location of Study: Proposals must focus on at least one inhabited U.S. territory, tribal nation, and/or rural community. Proposals may offer comparisons across these regions or to other locations in the United States.

  • Disciplinary Focus Statement: Provide a statement (maximum 250 words) that briefly describes the disciplinary composition of your research team, including whether the team is single discipline, multi-disciplinary, interdisciplinary, or transdisciplinary in nature. For further guidance on these distinctions, please see this paper. Single discipline proposals will be funded at a lower range. Multi- and interdisciplinary proposals with a strong convergence orientation and the potential to inform public health practice will be eligible for up to $50,000.

  • Proposal Narrative and Appendices: The proposal narrative should be a maximum of 8 single-spaced pages, with additional pages allowed for budget, references, and appendices. Please download the Proposal Narrative Template below and follow the instructions. Once completed, please save the document as a single PDF, no larger than 4MB and upload to the online submission form, where indicated.

Award announcements will be made by Wednesday, October 25, 2023.

Post-Award Requirements and Recommendations

All award recipients—including the lead investigator and any other investigators, student research assistants, and/or other collaborators—are required to meet the following award expectations:

  • Research Design Consult: Schedule at least one meeting with public health and disaster methods and implications specialist, Dr. Rachel Adams, during the post-award research implementation phase. Details will be provided with award notification.

  • Draft Report: Submit a 20-page, double-spaced report summarizing the project activities and results from this funding call. The first draft report is due by Friday, April 5, 2024.

  • Internal Meeting: All funded researchers will present their findings during an internal meeting on Tuesday, May 7, 2024, from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. MDT with representatives from the CDC, Natural Hazards Center, and the award recipients to get feedback on the public health implications and other aspects of your report.

  • Final Report: Submit a revised final report, with editing recommendations integrated, no later than 5:00 p.m. MDT on Friday, June 28, 2024.

  • Public Webinar: Participate in a final public webinar on Thursday, August 1, 2024, from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. MDT where all award recipients will share key findings and lessons learned.

In addition to the above proposal requirements, it is recommended that all award recipients—including the lead investigator and any collaborators—do the following:

Funding Agreement

Award recipients must carefully read and agree to the following funding criteria:

  • The lead investigator, as designated in the proposal, must be from an academic institution based in a U.S. state or territory or a U.S tribal nation. Other co-leads, project assistants, or local collaborators do not have to be affiliated with a university or located in a U.S. state, tribal region, or territory—these individuals cannot, however, serve as the project lead and primary award recipient.
  • Award payments can be distributed across team members as designated by the lead investigator (for example, 50% of the award sent to the lead, 25% to the co-lead, and 25% to a local collaborator). No more than five recipients can be designated for any one award.
  • Payments will be sent directly to the award recipients as designated in the budget to cover project-related expenses or time dedicated to data collection, analysis efforts, or the dissemination of results.
  • This award funding can NOT be sent directly to a university or other institutions, and there are no overhead or indirect costs associated with these funds.
  • Expenses may need to be paid out of pocket if fieldwork begins prior to receiving payment. Due dates will not be extended due to delays in payment processing.
  • Individual recipients of these awards will be solely responsible for all tax reporting and ramifications. The Natural Hazards Center cannot provide tax advice.
  • Per tax compliance requirements, the University of Colorado Boulder will report payments to taxing jurisdictions when required. Individual payees will be issued any applicable tax forms directly from the University. Payees are responsible any and all tax consequences related to payments they have received.
  • If you or one of your team members are a University of Colorado employee, please reach out to Katie Murphy at prior to submitting a proposal, as the funding distribution has different requirements, including additional fringe and payroll tax considerations.
  • For award recipients who are neither U.S. citizens nor permanent residents, the payment process may take longer and will require additional paperwork. All payments made to visa holders are submitted through the International Tax Office at the University of Colorado Boulder.

Award funding will be processed after proposals are accepted and awards are announced. To receive the award funding, the designated recipients will need to return:

  • One copy of a completed and signed funding agreement, to be issued upon approval to designated recipients of the award funds. The information for payees will be filled out on the form.
  • A W-9 or W-8BEN for all payment recipients (W-9 is for U.S. citizens or permanent residents; W-8BEN is for non-U.S. persons).
  • A letter of approval or exemption from a university based Institutional Review Board, if applicable.

Once the award has been activated and the award agreement, tax forms, and IRB approval have been submitted to the Natural Hazards Center, researchers may begin fieldwork.


Please contact the Natural Hazards Center at


The Public Health Disaster Research Award Program is based on work supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) through supplemental funding to the National Science Foundation (NSF Award #1635593). Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CDC, NSF, or Natural Hazards Center.