Quick Response Proposal Submission Guidelines


The Natural Hazards Center's Quick Response Award 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, 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 Overview

This Natural Hazards Center’s Quick Response Award 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 Award 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.

Program Eligibility

The lead researcher must be from an academic institution based in a U.S. state or territory. Other research co-leads, research assistants, or local collaborators do not have to be affiliated with a university or located in a U.S. state or territory—they cannot, however, serve as the project research lead and primary award recipient.

Application Process

Please submit a complete proposal as soon as possible after a disaster occurs. Research 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 award funds will be used to collect perishable data.

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

  • Project Title

  • Researcher Name(s) and Affiliation(s)

  • Full Abstract: Limit 500 words.

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

  • 3-5 Keywords

  • Proposal: The proposal should be uploaded as a PDF. The proposal should be a maximum of 5 pages, not including abstract, references, budget, or budget justification, and include the following content: :

    • Project 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)

    • 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.

    • Research Design: This should include the data collection plan, research location(s), sampling strategy and expected number of participants, procedures, measures, data analysis plan, and research timeline. The proposal should also specify the natural hazard threat(s) and/or disasters of interest.

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

    • Ethics Statement: A description of how the researcher(s) will ensure the ethical conduct of research. This may include information regarding how the researcher(s) will ensure that they do not burden emergency officials or affected residents and/or how they will ensure that the data and research findings are shared in ways that are beneficial for the community being studied.

  • References: The list of references should be complete, formatted in APA 7th edition style, and uploaded as a separate PDF.

  • Budget and Budget Justification: The budget and budget justification, which should be no longer than 2 pages in length and uploaded as a PDF. This should include an economical budget focused on data collection expenses. 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 and disciplines to leverage resources and assets to conduct a broader scale or more in-depth investigation.

    • Please carefully read the “Activation and Funding Procedures” statement included below as it provides details for how many investigators can be included in the budget and clarifies how and when the award funds will be issued.

    • Funding should be used for expenses associated with the proposed research project. Funds may be dedicated to fieldwork expenses, the purchase of research equipment or datasets, for payments to researchers or collaborators, payment for translators or other team members, participant compensation, and/or research dissemination activities. In terms of budget needs for field equipment, please consider exploring options available through the NSF-supported RAPID facility before making requests.

    • Overhead and indirect costs are not allowed.

  • Supporting Documents for Students: Master's and PhD students are welcome to apply for quick response funding. If a student is listed as the lead researcher they will need to submit:

    • A statement explaining qualifications and ability to implement the proposed methods, a plan for managing a research team (if applicable), and a timeline for completing the proposed work during their degree program.

    • A letter of support from an academic advisor or committee member.

  • Human Subjects Approval Letter: An official letter from the applicant’s human subjects committee approving the research, or waiving the need for approval, will be required before an award is activated. The proposal may be submitted 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. Data collection may not begin until a letter of approval or waiver from a university is submitted to the Natural Hazards Center.

The above information and associated documents should be submitted through our online form. Please do not submit proposals directly to the Natural Hazards Center team. Emailed proposals will be returned without review.

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, tribal region, or territory, including American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands. 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 three 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.
  • Individual recipients of these awards will be solely responsible for all tax reporting and ramifications.
  • If you or one of your team members are a University of Colorado employee, please reach out to Katie Murphy at Katherine.Murphy-1@Colorado.edu prior to submitting a proposal, as the funding distribution has different requirements, including additional fringe and payroll tax considerations.
  • For award recipients who are non-U.S. citizens, 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.

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

Final Report

Award recipients are required to submit a 20-page, double-spaced report to the Natural Hazards Center within six months of award activation. Please read the full Report Submission Guidelines before drafting your paper.

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 at haz.research.awards@colorado.edu.

Submit Your Proposal