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NSF and NIST collaborate on $7M disaster resilience investment

Researchers collect data on damaged buildings at Ortley Beach, New Jersey, after Hurricane Sandy.

Innovations from 18 new research projects will reduce the impacts of natural hazards.

January 19, 2024

The U.S. National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have jointly invested $7.1 million in 18 new research projects to advance community and infrastructure resilience to natural hazards. The projects are supported through the joint NSF-NIST Disaster Resilience Research Grants program, with NSF investing $3.9 million in 10 projects and NIST investing $3.2 million in eight projects.

NSF and NIST coordinate this research investment to generate new understanding, policies, designs and practices for disaster resilience.

"NSF's investment aims to reduce the disastrous economic and societal impacts of natural hazards," said Susan Margulies, NSF assistant director for Engineering. "Our partnership with NIST accelerates the novel ideas and approaches we support into planning, building codes and decision-making — strengthening our Nation's resilience to natural hazards."

Natural hazards such as earthquakes, droughts, fires, floods, hurricanes and tornadoes strike communities nationwide at significant cost to buildings, economies and people's lives. While hazard risks cannot be eliminated, technological innovations can enable communities to reduce their vulnerabilities and increase their ability to resume their lives.

"These grants support science-based methods of improving resilience, including improved planning, policy, decisions, design, codes and standards," said Joannie Chin, NIST’s Engineering Laboratory director. "They can also help educate the next generation of engineers and designers and ensure that a diversity of communities is considered and given the tools they need to protect their futures."

The 10 NSF projects for disaster resilience are funded through the following awards:

The eight NIST projects for disaster resilience, announced yesterday, are:

  • Artificial intelligence-powered methods and tools to support adaptive restoration of transportation and other infrastructure after a disaster, University of Texas at San Antonio.
  • Designing for thunderstorm and downburst winds based on a web-enabled enhanced gust effects factor framework, University of Notre Dame.
  • Development of a performance-based assessment model of fire resilience at the wildland-urban interface, Oklahoma State University.
  • Development of an efficient and practical design method that integrates resilience and performance criteria, University of California, San Diego.
  • Development of an open-source model for assessing risk of infrastructure ignition due to embers or firebrands, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
  • Improving predictions of the impacts storm wave- or current-carried debris on elevated structures, University of Notre Dame.
  • Methods, modeling and roadmaps to support the security and resiliency of electrical power infrastructure in coastal regions and islands, State University of New York at Albany.
  • Understanding risks to acute care access and flood impacts to improve disaster preparedness and help ensure continuity of care, University of Delaware.

The Disaster Resilience Research Grant (DRRG) program is part of NSF's broader coordination of its disaster-related research portfolio with NIST and other federal agencies for the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) and the National Windstorm Impact Reduction Program (NWIRP). For both NEHRP and NWIRP, NSF is responsible for advancing fundamental understanding and NIST is responsible for ensuring that fundamental new insights are translated to practice, as well as for conducting applied research.

The NSF awards are funded through the DRRG program in the Division of Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation in the Directorate for Engineering, with additional support from the Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental and Transport Systems.

Learn about previous investment in the program and NSF activities for disaster risk and resilience.



Media Contact 
Media Affairs, NSF, (703) 292-7090, 

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2023 budget of $9.5 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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