Quick Response Grant Program Guidelines

We are not currently accepting any new proposals to the Quick Response Grant program. Please check back soon as more opportunities become available!


The Natural Hazards Center's Quick Response Grant Program provides training and funds for researchers to quickly collect perishable data following disasters and other extreme events. As an effort to expand academic knowledge, and as part of the Quick Response program training function, funded researchers will submit abstracts and brief reports to be published on the Natural Hazards website to share with a multidisciplinary network of researchers, practitioners, and educators. The program promotes social science innovation in hazards and disaster research.

Program Operation and Selection Criteria

This Natural Hazards Center’s Quick Response Grant Program is funded by the National Science Foundation. Therefore, we use similar qualifying criteria to judge proposals and expect a high level of scientific rigor. Each proposal must speak to both intellectual merit—describing the potential of the proposed activity to advance knowledge—and broader impacts—detailing the potential of the proposed activity to benefit society and contribute to the achievement of specific, desired societal outcomes.

As award recipients, researchers are encouraged to complete CONVERGE Training Modules, utlilize the CONVERGE Extreme Events Research Check Sheets Series, conduct field work, and write an abstract and brief report for distribution to the hazards and disasters community through Center publications and news outlets, to make research findings quickly and broadly available. Most Quick Response-funded researchers go on to publish final results in academic journals or reports with acknowledgement of Center support. When this occurs, 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 prioritizing research that fills gaps in the literature and is unlikely to be funded rapidly by other means. Although a variety of rigorous empirical research designs are acceptable, proposals that are theory-driven and use widely recognized, scientific methods to examine social, behavioral, and organizational phenomena are preferred. In addition, the program seeks to fund research that is likely to be extended or more broadly disseminated. The program also has a long history of training and supporting students and emerging researchers, and members of these groups are encouraged to apply. Principal investigators must be based at institutions within the United States.

The Quick Response Grant Program provides funds to cover expenses incurred during pre-approved fieldwork and data collection. Realistic and economical budgets demonstrating an effective use of program funds will be favored.

Before data collection begins, researchers are required to demonstrate evidence from their home institution that they have received Institutional Review Board approval for the protection of human subjects, if applicable. Any privacy protections necessary for research conducted through the Quick Response Grant program will be the responsibility of the PI and institution where they are employed.

Application Process

Please submit a complete proposal as soon as possible after a disaster occurs. Grant proposals are evaluated and awarded on an on-going basis. Your proposal should clearly state the desired beginning and end dates for data collection and address how grant funds will be used to collect perishable data.

Proposals are accepted from all U.S.-based researchers.

Proposals may take different forms, but all submissions must include the following information:

  • A title, full abstract of proposed research, authors names and affiliations, and 3-5 key words.

  • A brief abstract (less than 100 words) to be posted on the Natural Hazards Website. See format here.

  • A maximum five-page proposal (not including references) that includes the following information and clear headings:

    • Title

    • A brief statement on Intellectual Merit–describing the potential of the proposed activity to advance knowledge-and Broader Impacts–describing the potential of the proposed activity to benefit society and contribute to the achievement of specific, desired research applications.

    • Research Question(s)

    • Brief Literature Review: this should demonstrate the authors knowledge of the area of research being proposed as well as state the expressed gaps that this research will fill.

    • Proposed Research Methods: should include the sampling strategy, expected number of participants, and a detailed plan and timeline for collecting data.

    • Perishable Data Statement: a justification for why the proposed research is urgent and requires a quick response; should also emphasize why the data to be collected is perishable.

    • Budget Justification: an economical budget limited to expenses such as airfare, car rental, hotel, and per diem. Modest data collection costs may also be considered on a case by case basis, and especially for locally-affected researchers who may not incur travel expenses but may require other forms of support. Overhead, indirect costs, and wages are not allowed. Most budgets should be under $2,000. A maximum of $5,000 is available for an exceptional proposal that involves multiple researchers who have provided evidence that they are working across boundaries to leverage resources and assets to conduct a broader scale or more in-depth investigation.

    • Exception: During the COVID-19 pandmeic, the NHC encourages researchers to submit a budget that does NOT require travel or in-person data collection. If travel is absolutely necessary, please include a statement that explains how researchers will follow current public health and safety guidelines and why this data cannot be collected remotely. We will allow additional budget categories, such as survey incentives and online data collection tools, during this time.

  • Students should submit a statement explaining their qualifications and ability 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 a Quick Response Grant is activated. 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 through our online form after clicking the box at the bottom of this page. Please do not submit proposals directly to Center staff.

Evaluation Criteria

Submissions will be evaluated based on weighted criteria favoring:

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

  • Research that significantly contributes to knowledge about the social aspects of hazards and disasters;

  • Proposals with strong intellectual merit that will result in broader impacts.

  • Efficient and responsibly crafted budgets;

  • New and student researchers and/or members from historically underrepresented groups are included in the proposal, as appropriate;

  • Researchers have not received a Quick Response Grant in the past two years;

Final approval of all proposals are made by NHC Deputy Administrator and QR Program Administrator, Jennifer Tobin.

Activation Procedure and Grant Requirements

After the review team completes the scoring and ranking of your proposal, you will be contacted by Jennifer Tobin. 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 begin collecting data as soon as possible. However, all approvals remain at the discretion of the Natural Hazards Center. Researchers should not enter the field or begin recruitment prior to receiving written approval. The Quick Response Grant Program will not cover any expenses incurred before grant activation.

A Quick Response Research Report of no more than 10 pages will be due within 90 days of returning from the field. The report should include:

  • Three to five Key Words

  • At least two high quality images of fieldwork that can be posted on the Natural Hazards Center website and in the final report. Copyright privileges must be granted to the Natural Hazards Center.

  • An abstract of 200 words or less.

  • The research question(s), methods, results, possible application of results, and plans for next steps or future work emerging from the quick response data collection.

  • Data collection instruments and tools, such as surveys and interview guides, that you would like to share publicly to advance science.

Reports should be submitted as a Microsoft Word document in a sans serif, 12-pt font. Charts, graphs, photos, and other ancillary materials should be submitted as separate files with notations of their placement in the main document. Do not embed photographs in Word documents. References should be formatted according to American Psychological Association style.

After the proposal is approved and all required paperwork is recieved, the Principal Investigator will recieve an initital stipend payment of half of the approved budget. Upon completion of the project, the PI will recieve the remainder of the award, up to the amount stated in the acceptance letter, in accordance with University of Colorado rules.

Quick Response Research Reports will be edited to Center style and published on the Natural Hazards Center website 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 QR-funded research and provide an electronic link or reprint of those publications to Jennifer Tobin.

Submit Your Proposal