History and Recent Efforts
University of Iowa Assistant Professor Sara Hamideh conducts field work in Lumberton, North Carolina following Hurricane Matthew in 2016. ©Lori Peek, 2016.
The imperative to collect perishable post-event data has driven the Quick Response Grant Program for nearly 35 years. The program, which is funded through the National Science Foundation, provides funds to help researchers travel to recently disaster-affected areas to capture perishable data.
The Quick Response Program also serves an important training function by encouraging principal investigators to take students into the field and allowing graduate students to submit proposals on their own, with letters of support from a dissertation or thesis chair.
The Natural Hazards Center has produced two special publications in response to major disaster events, and has funded well over a dozen proposals during especially active disaster years. The 2003 publication, Beyond September 11: An Account of Post-Disaster Research, is a compilation of 22 papers developed out of research activities sponsored by the Center, NSF Small Grants for Exploratory Research, and NSF grant supplements.
The second funding effort resulted in the 2006 publication, Learning from Catastrophe: Quick Response Research in the Wake of Hurricane Katrina. The Center funded 25 research teams to study these events and most grantees produced chapters for this volume.
Over the years, the Natural Hazards Center team has worked with researchers to produce over 250 quick response grant-funded reports that are available on our Quick Response Report Archives page.
In 2017, the Natural Hazards Center committed $33,700 to fund 18 Quick Response Grants. Topics of research proposals included evacuation behavior, emergency communication, food supply chain disruptions, public health in recovery planning, community resilience, flood risk to mobile homes, the role of prison inmates in disaster, the Federal Emergency Management Community Rating System, mental health outcomes for children and youth, protection of undocumented immigrants, and many aspects of vulnerability.
The QR Program has had an important impact on scholarship in the field of hazards and disasters. In early 2016, the NHC surveyed the authors and co-authors of quick response reports published between 2005 and 2014 (N=144) to learn more about the influence of those awards on recipients' subsequent scholarly and professional activities. The 65 grant recipients that replied to the survey reported that their research ultimately contributed to 10 books, 12 master's theses, 14 dissertations, 52 peer-reviewed articles, 23 book chapters, a variety of other publications (e.g., encyclopedia entries, technical reports, conference proceedings), and 61 conference presentations. Findings were also incorporated into courses taught by many awardees. Seventeen of the survey respondents indicated that after receiving QR funding, they went on to obtain subsequent NSF grants, while 13 indicated that were able to obtain grants from other agencies based on their QR research.