Special Call for Proposals: Research in U.S. Territories, Tribal Areas, and Rural Communities

Overview

Proposal Q&A Session

Learn more about this funding opportunity by watching the recorded Q&A session here.

The Natural Hazards Center (NHC)—with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Science Foundation (NSF)—is issuing a special call for proposals focused on studying public health preparedness, response, and resilience to disasters in the inhabited U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, tribal areas, and rural communities across the United States.

Research is urgently needed to develop evidence-based practices to improve community preparedness, resilience, and the public health response to disasters in these regions. While these areas are historically, geographically, socially, and culturally unique, they are at higher risk to adverse disaster impacts—including deaths and property loss—than many other regions of the United States. This special call is designed to address these gaps in knowledge.

Award Details At-A-Glance

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

  • Available funds will support 10 to 15 awards in the amount of $15,000 to $50,000 each.
  • Proposals and Pre-submission Requirements are due by 5:00 p.m. MT on Friday, October 7, 2022. Award announcements will be made no later than November 1, 2022.
  • First draft reports summarizing research findings and public health implications are due Friday, March 31, 2023.
  • All other project related deliverables outlined in the Post-Award Requirements timeline below must be completed by Friday, August 4, 2023.

Research Criteria

Focus Areas

Proposals will be prioritized that focus on at least one of the following areas:

  • Developing public health tools and products that support disaster preparedness and response practice, including, but not limited to, public health databases and decision-support tools, such as the CDC Social Vulnerability Index and new scales, indices, and instruments for measuring public health and disaster preparedness.
  • Developing the evidence base to support public health emergency and disaster risk communication for populations with access and functional needs.
  • Studying and developing evidence-based practices for state, territorial, or tribal-level public health departments or organizations to effectively lead through the disaster life cycle in a way that improves communication, collaboration, and risk awareness before, during, and after disasters.
  • Quantitatively analyzing strategic, tactical, and operational aspects of public health emergency response to improve preparedness policies or practices.
  • Assessing whether public health emergency preparedness practices are effective or can achieve desired outcomes, such as examining the comparative costs and benefits of various strategies.

Research Design and Collaborations

This special call will prioritize funding proposals that include the following research design elements:

  • Rapid: The project is short-term and focused on collecting perishable data rapidly or using existing data to generate answers to questions associated with recent or anticipated disasters. For more information on what qualifies as perishable data, please complete the CONVERGE Collecting and Sharing Perishable Data Training Module.
  • Quantitative, Applied, or Evaluation Research: The project is methodologically rigorous, has a high possibility of contributing to public health practice, and uses quantitative, applied, and/or evaluation research methods that fill clear gaps in the evidence base.
  • Transparent: The proposal includes plans to publish data collection tools and protocols so that they can be used by other researchers or public health practitioners in the event of another major disaster.
  • 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.
  • Social Determinants of Health and Health Equity: Projects that utilize a Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) and/or Health Equity lens will be prioritized. Please review additional Public Health Guidance here.
  • Students and Early Career Researchers: While applications will not be limited to those that involve students or early career scholars, those research teams that include early-stage researchers will be prioritized for funding. Specifically, priority will be given to teams that engage one or more students or early career scholars—defined here as those who are three or fewer years post-degree.
  • Engagement with Public Health Departments or Organizations: Proposals should include plans to engage jurisdictional partners and stakeholders to execute the research project and apply findings.

Proposal Submission Process

All prospective applicants were encouraged to attend a recorded Proposal Consultation Q&A Session with award program staff from the NHC on Thursday, September 22, 2022 from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. MDT. This session allowed potential investigators 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-Submission Requirements

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

  • The lead investigator for each proposal is required to attend at least one 15-minute meeting with public health specialist, Dr. Rachel Adams—Research Associate, Natural Hazards Center, University of Colorado Boulder—prior to submitting a proposal. Meeting times are available between September 13 and October 6, 2022. 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.
  • 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. Certificates must be uploaded with the proposal.

Proposal Submission

  • 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 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 area, and/or rural community. Proposals may offer comparisons across these regions or to other locations in the United States.

  • Disciplinary Focus: A 250-word statement describing the disciplinary composition of the 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. Applicants must demonstrate how the project is advancing convergence-oriented science that is problem-focused and solutions-based. 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: The proposal should be uploaded as a PDF and use the headings for each section listed below. The body of the proposal should be a maximum of 8 single-spaced pages (with additional pages allowed for budget and reference appendices) and include the following content:

    • A brief statement on Intellectual Merit—describing the potential of the proposed activity to advance knowledge—and Broader Public Health Impacts—describing the potential of the proposed research and/or outreach activities to benefit public health practice through the achievement of specific, desired public health applications.
    • Research Question(s): Research questions should be clear, concise, specific, and answerable.
    • Literature Review: This should demonstrate the authors’ knowledge of the area of research being proposed as well as state the gaps that this study will fill.
    • Study Context: The proposal should clearly specify the study context including the hazard(s) and/or disaster(s) that the team plans to study, the location(s) where they plan to work, and the people(s) they plan to engage in the study. In this section of the proposal, researchers should also describe their relationships with local agencies or organizations in the project area and how these relationships will facilitate access to their research sites or populations.
    • Study Design: The proposal should clearly describe all elements of the research design, including data collection methods, sampling strategy, expected number of research participants, and data analysis procedures. In this section of the proposal, researchers should also clearly identify whether the project involves the use of existing data, collection of perishable data, and/or the creation or evaluation of existing tools or other resources.
    • Study Timeline: This section should include a clear description of the anticipated timeline for IRB approval, data collection, data analysis, and report writing, making sure to adhere to all due dates included in the Post-Award Requirements and Recommendations section below. Project scope should be limited to what is achievable by the August 4, 2023 due date.
    • Ethics Statement: This should describe how the investigator(s) will ensure the ethical conduct of research for the benefit of the communities where they work. All applicants are encouraged to complete both the CONVERGE IRB Procedures for Extreme Events Research and Broader Ethical Considerations for Hazards and Disaster Researchers Training Modules in preparation for writing this statement.
    • Dissemination Plan: Proposals must include a plan to return results to the study area or focal population and to advance public health research that is culturally relevant, ethically informed, and scientifically rigorous. Priority will be given to those researchers with already established local connections and networks in the place(s) where the research takes place. The dissemination of results must occur no later than the project end date of Friday, August 4, 2023.

The PDF should also include the following appendices:

  • References: The list of references should be complete and consistently formatted in APA 7th edition style. There is no page limit for the reference list.
  • Budget and Budget Justification: The budget and budget justification should be no longer than 500 words in length and provide a breakdown of anticipated expenditures within the predetermined budget range (in this case, $15,000 to $50,000).

    • Proposals less than $15,000 will be accepted, but proposals over $50,000 will be returned without review.
    • Funding should be used for expenses associated with the proposed project. Funds may be dedicated to fieldwork expenses, the purchase of research equipment or datasets; payments to data collectors, methodologists, statisticians, translators, other collaborators, or team members; participant compensation; and/or dissemination activities including for conference travel, registration expenses, or article publication fees. In terms of budget needs for field equipment, please consider exploring options available through NSF-supported RAPID facility before making requests.
    • Please carefully read the “Funding Agreement” 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. Note that:
      • Overhead and indirect costs are not allowed.
      • Award recipients are responsible for all personal tax-related expenses associated with accepting award payments. These potential tax obligations cannot be included in the project budget.
  • Supporting Documents for Students: Master’s and PhD students are welcome to apply for this special call for funding. If a student is listed as the lead investigator they will need to submit:
    • A statement explaining qualifications and ability to implement the proposed methods, a plan for managing a project team (if applicable), and a timeline for completing the proposed work during their degree program.
    • A brief one-paragraph statement of support from an academic advisor, indicating that they approve of the project and support the students’ application for funding.
  • Human Subjects Approval Letter: An official letter from the applicant’s human subjects committee approving the research, or waiving the need for approval, is required before an award is activated and funds are released. The proposal may be submitted before human subjects committee approval is obtained, but we recommend that human subjects approval be sought as early as possible given the short five-month timeline for completing data collection, analysis, and submitting the final report. Please see this article for additional guidance on receiving Institutional Review Board pre-approval for disaster research. Data collection may not begin until a letter of approval or waiver from a university or other organization is submitted to the Natural Hazards Center.
  • Certificate of Completion: The lead investigator for each proposal must submit a PDF certificate of completion for the CONVERGE Public Health Implications of Hazards and Disaster Research Training Module. Proposals missing this certificate will be returned without review.

The above information and associated documents must be submitted through the Natural Hazards Center online proposal submission form. Emailed proposals will be returned without review. Proposals are due no later than 5:00 p.m. MDT on Friday, October 7, 2022. To be fair to those who submit on time and as required, no exceptions will be made for late submissions. Award announcements will be made by Tuesday, November 1, 2022.


Post-Award Requirements and Recommendations

In addition to the above proposal requirements, all award recipients—including the lead investigator and any other investigators, student research assistants, and/or other collaborators—are required to do the following:

  • Schedule a meeting with public health and disaster methods and implications consultant, Dr. Rachel Adams, at least once during the post-award research implementation phase. Details will be provided with award notification.
  • Submit a final 20-page, double-spaced report summarizing the project activities and results from this special funding call. The first draft report is due by Friday, March 31, 2023.
    • Final reports must follow the Natural Hazards Center submission guidelines and formatting template. The Natural Hazards Center will provide two rounds of editing for each report: one for content peer review, and another for copy editing. If successfully reviewed and accepted, the report will be included in an edited compilation to be published on the Natural Hazards Center website.
  • Present your findings during an internal meeting on Tuesday, May 2, 2023 from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. MDT with representatives from the CDC and NHC and other award recipients to get feedback on the public health implications and other aspects of your report.
  • Submit final report, with all editing recommendations integrated, no later than 5:00 p.m. MDT on Friday, June 30, 2023.
  • Participate in a final public webinar on Thursday, August 3, 2023 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, 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 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 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.
  • 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.

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).
  • 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 has been submitted to the Natural Hazards Center, researchers may begin fieldwork.


Submit Your Proposal


Questions?

Please contact Jennifer Tobin at haz.research.awards@colorado.edu.


Acknowledgements

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.