Special Call for Proposals: Weather Ready Research

Americans live in the most severely weather-prone country on earth. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA’s) Weather-Ready Nation (WRN) initiative readies communities for extreme weather, water, and climate events. Taking advanced action to prepare people and places for extreme events can reduce the most devastating impacts from tornadoes, hurricanes, flooding, wildfires, and blizzards.

When extreme events such as these threaten communities, it is paramount that researchers collect perishable data prior to, during, and immediately following the disaster to ensure that vital information is not lost. This type of research is fundamental to the advancement of the field, and it can provide life-saving information to decision makers and ultimately promote the collective good.

While NOAA is taking major steps towards building a Weather-Ready Nation, the agency cannot do this work alone. With this in mind, the Natural Hazards Center—with support from the National Science Foundation and the NOAA Weather Program Office, in partnership with the National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) and the National Weather Service (NWS)—is issuing the first of four special calls for proposals for social, behavioral, and economic sciences to advance understanding of how to most effectively prepare for and communicate about extreme weather, water, and climate events. This new initiative is designed to advance knowledge while also building a diverse cadre of weather-ready researchers.

Specifically, this special call will support quick response research to identify how members of diverse publics—including NWS stakeholders—receive, interpret, and respond to warnings and forecasts of high impact weather events that endanger life and property and how to best communicate weather events to various stakeholders. Research proposals that focus on a range of extreme weather events as well as near miss events where significant lessons can be learned are encouraged.

Available funds will support 10 to 20 awards in the amount of $2,500 to $7,500 each. The $2,500 awards will support single discipline and/or smaller-scale projects. The $7,500 awards will be reserved for larger social science-led interdisciplinary teams engaged in problem-focused and solutions-based convergence research that promises potential benefit to the weather enterprise.

Successful applicants will have clear implications for understanding and improving weather communication in the U.S. and beyond. To that end, proposals must include a plan to return results to relevant stakeholders and to advance weather communications research that is culturally relevant, ethically informed, and scientifically rigorous.

Proposals are due by 5:00 p.m. MST on Wednesday, December 2, 2020. Award announcements will be made no later than January 15, 2021. The final Quick Response Research Report is due by August 4, 2021. All other research activities and project deliverables should be completed by no later than December 1, 2021.

Proposal Topics

We seek proposals that encompass weather within the United States and U.S. territories, and marine hazards for countries encompassed by National Weather Service Marine Forecast Areas, and weather as defined in the Weather Act. The Weather Act includes short term weather, such as imminent severe weather, to seasonal forecasting up to two years. Social, behavioral, and economic science projects will be considered that focus on extreme event hazards that fall between these two timescales including the following:

  1. Air quality and/or visibility hazards, including, fog, ozone, dense smoke, and dust storm
  2. Extreme temperatures, including extreme heat and cold and heat waves
  3. Floods, including inland flooding, flash flooding, river flooding, storm surge, coastal flooding
  4. Hurricanes, including high wind, extreme precipitation/flooding, storm surge, tornadoes
  5. Severe weather, including lightning, thunderstorms, high wind, hail, and tornadoes
  6. Marine hazards, including hurricanes, sea swell, sea ice, (extra) tropical storms, and rip currents
  7. Rain and extreme precipitation
  8. Wildfire and red flag warnings
  9. Wind and high wind
  10. Winter weather, including blizzards, ice storms, lake effect snow, winter storm, frost, wind chill, freezing rain, snow squall

Program Eligibility

The lead researcher, as designated in the proposal, 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.

All applicants are encouraged to collaborate with the large community of scholars; weather, water, and climate enterprise practitioners; and community leaders in various study locations to leverage existing resources and advance ongoing activities.

How Funding Will Be Issued

Award funding will be provided to the lead researcher and/or research co-leads, research assistants, or other local collaborators in the form of a fellowship. These payments will be sent directly to the award recipients as designated in the budget to cover research-related expenses or time dedicated to data collection, analysis efforts, publication expenses, or research dissemination.

The funding can be distributed across team members as designated by the research lead (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.

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. citizens).

This fellowship award funding will NOT be sent directly to a university or other institutions, and there are no indirect costs associated with these funds. These payments will be made to an individual or individuals and then distributed or applied to research-related expenses as decided by the research leads. The recipients of these awards will be solely responsible for all tax ramifications.

Please note, 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.

Proposal Requirements

  • 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
  • Extreme Weather Type: Proposals must focus on at least one of the extreme weather types identified in this Special Call for Proposals, and may focus on multiple hazards.
  • Air quality and/or visibility hazards, including, fog, ozone, dense smoke, and dust storm
  • Extreme temperatures, including extreme heat and cold and heat waves
  • Floods, including inland flooding, flash flooding, river flooding, storm surge, coastal flooding
  • Hurricanes, including high wind, extreme precipitation/flooding, storm surge, tornadoes
  • Severe weather, including lightning, thunderstorms, high wind, hail, and tornadoes
  • Marine hazards, including hurricanes, sea swell, sea ice, (extra) tropical storms, and rip currents
  • Rain and extreme precipitation
  • Wildfire and red flag warnings
  • Wind and high wind
  • Winter weather, including blizzards, ice storms, lake effect snow, winter storm, frost, wind chill, freezing rain, snow squall
  • Timescale: Proposals may focus on (1) short term weather, such as imminent severe weather, and/or (2) seasonal forecasting up to two years.
  • Geographic Focus: Proposals must focus on the United States, U.S. territories, or marine hazards for countries encompassed by National Weather Service Marine Forecast Areas, and weather as defined in the Weather Act.
  • Disciplinary Focus: A 250-word statement indicating whether the proposal involves a single discipline or is interdisciplinary in nature. Note that single discipline proposals are eligible for awards in the $2,500 range, while researchers seeking funding up to the $7,500 level must demonstrate how the research is interdisciplinary and advancing convergence research. Note that all proposals, regardless of funding range, must be led by a researcher in the social, behavioral, or economic sciences. Collaborators from other disciplines are welcome.
  • Proposal: The proposal should be uploaded as a PDF. The proposal should be a maximum of 5 single-spaced pages, not including references, budget, or budget justification, and include the following content:
  • 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/or weather forecasting and communication practices.
  • Research Question(s)
  • Literature Review: This should demonstrate the authors’ knowledge of the area of research being proposed as well as state the 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 and identify whether the project involves the collection of perishable data.
  • Ethics Statement: A description of how the researcher(s) will ensure the ethical conduct of research.
  • Dissemination Plan: A plan for publishing or returning data and/or results to relevant stakeholders by no later than the project end date.
  • References: The list of scholarly references should be complete, consistently formatted, and uploaded as a separate PDF.
  • Budget and Budget Justification: The budget and budget justification, which should be no longer than 3 pages in length and uploaded as a PDF, should provide a breakdown of anticipated expenditures within the predetermined range (in this case, $2,500 to $7,500 maximum). Proposals less than $2,500 will be accepted, but proposals over $7,500 will be returned without review.
  • Please carefully read the “How the Funding Will Be Issued” statement included above, 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, for example, fieldwork expenses, the purchase of research equipment or datasets, 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 doctoral students are encouraged to apply for this special call. 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.

Proposals are due by 5:00 p.m. MT on Wednesday, December 2, 2020. Late proposals will not be accepted, and incomplete applications will be returned without full review.

Additional Award Requirements

All award recipients, including the research lead and any collaborators, are required to:

  • Submit a final 8- to 10-page, single spaced, report summarizing the research from this special funding call. The report is due by August 4, 2021. Formatting guidelines will be provided by the Natural Hazards Center. Upon acceptance, the report may be included in an edited compilation to be published on the Natural Hazards Center website.
  • Complete the available CONVERGE Training Modules and review the CONVERGE Extreme Events Research Check Sheets.
  • Complete an online data publication session, hosted by CONVERGE in partnership with DesignSafe. Consider publishing research instruments, protocols, and/or data via the DesignSafe Cyberinfrastructure.
  • Participate in an online forum designed to share key research findings and lessons learned from weather ready research. The forum will be held by no later than December 1, 2021, and will be hosted by the Natural Hazards Center, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and National Science Foundation.

Questions?

Please contact Jennifer Tobin, deputy administrator of the Natural Hazards Center, at haz.research.awards@colorado.edu, with questions.

Acknowledgements

This Special Call for Weather-Ready Quick Response Research is based on work supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF Award #1635593) through supplemental funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Program Office. 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 NSF, NOAA, or Natural Hazards Center.