The following set of questions and answers refer to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Program Solicitation (NSF 16-562; https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2016/nsf16562/nsf16562.htm). They are not intended to be a modification of the Program Solicitation.
What are the goals for the PREEVENTS program?
PREEVENTS seeks projects that will (1) enhance understanding of the fundamental processes underlying natural hazards and extreme events on various spatial and temporal scales, as well as the variability inherent in such hazards and events, and (2) improve our capability to model and forecast such hazards and events. All projects requesting PREEVENTS support must be primarily focused on both these two targets.
PREEVENTS projects should improve our understanding of the direct and/or cascading effects of natural hazards and extreme events. PREEVENTS projects will enable development, with support by other programs and organizations, of new tools to enhance societal preparedness and resilience against such impacts. PREEVENTS encourages, but does not require, that proposals incorporate these two subsidiary goals.
What does "enable development, with support by other programs and organizations, of new tools to enhance societal preparedness and resilience" mean?
PREEVENTS is focused on the fundamental processes underlying natural hazards and extreme events in the geosciences, and not downstream hazards and/or resilience applications or operational tools. Projects primarily focused on operational tools and/or applications would not be appropriate for PREEVENTS. For example, a PREEVENTS project might provide information on earthquake or faulting processes that enable improved seismic hazards maps, but it would not generate the maps themselves; such activities would be more appropriate for support by a related mission agency. Another PREEVENTS project might provide fundamentally better knowledge of key parameters related to hurricane progression that would enable greatly reduced errors in intensity forecasts. PREEVENTS would be focused on the improved knowledge, while the intensity forecasts themselves would be more appropriate for support elsewhere.
I have a proposal for a research project that is focused on PREEVENTS goals. How do I know if I should submit it directly to PREEVENTS or to a "core" program in the Directorate for Geosciences (GEO)?
Your proposal may be appropriate for submission as a Track 2 proposal if it would extend beyond what is typically supported by the "core" programs that support work in the area on which your project is focused. There are multiple reasons a project might extend beyond what is typically supported, including resource requirements, scope, scale, and/or complexity of the problem to be studied or approaches to be used, or because the problem requires a multidisciplinary approach spanning multiple GEO programs or divisions.
The solicitation states that "Track 2 proposals may not request support for generation or collection of new data and/or measures". What does that mean?
It may be easiest to address this with some examples. Projects involving field sample collection, construction of new sensors or equipment, or use of GEO-supported large facilities, such as UNOLS or UAP vessels, research aircraft, or seismic equipment that is part of SAGE, may not be submitted as a Track 2 proposal but may be submitted to an appropriate GEO "core" program. Projects to analyze existing samples or data, and projects that do not request NSF support for field sample collection, construction of new sensors or equipment, or use of GEO-supported large facilities, may be appropriate for Track 2. Please contact the PREEVENTS Management Team for further guidance if needed.
How large can the budget be for a Track 2 proposal?
The solicitation does not specify a cap, but the total anticipated funding ($18-25 million) and estimated number of awards (15-20) provide approximate guidance. NSF anticipates most Track 2 awards will be for less than $2 million total, with a maximum duration of five years.
May I propose a project involving work overseas?
PREEVENTS will consider proposals from US investigators for work overseas if that is the best place to study the phenomenon in question. Please note that projects whose outcomes translate to other regions and systems are generally more likely to be competitive than are projects whose outcomes are specific to a single area.
The solicitation includes Track 1, or conference, proposals. How are conferences different from workshops?
For PREEVENTS, conferences and workshops are synonymous. PREEVENTS Track 1 proposals should use the word "conference" rather than "workshop" in the text.
For the purposes of PREEVENTS, what is a natural hazard? What does "resilience" mean?
PREEVENTS uses the definitions found in the 2009 UNISDR Terminology on Disaster Risk Reduction published by the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR), Geneva, Switzerland (http://www.unisdr.org/files/7817_UNISDRTerminologyEnglish.pdf).
- Natural hazard: Natural process or phenomenon that may cause loss of life, injury or other health impacts, property damage, loss of livelihoods and services, social and economic disruption, or environmental damage.
- Resilience: The ability of a system, community or society exposed to hazards to resist, absorb, accommodate to and recover from the effects of a hazard in a timely and efficient manner, including through the preservation and restoration of its essential basic structures and functions.
Which natural hazards are of interest to PREEVENTS?
Any natural hazard related to areas of science of interest to GEO, which include but are not limited to:
- Coastal inundation, rapid erosion, and related processes
- Drought and flood
- Heat waves
- Hurricanes, tornadoes, and other severe storms
- Toxic algal blooms
- Landslides and other debris flows
- Space weather events
- Volcanic eruptions
- Wildland fires
What is an "extreme event"?
The PREEVENTS Management Team has chosen not to adopt a strict definition of "extreme event", because such a definition depends strongly on the research topic or process being studied, as well as the spatiotemporal and intensity scales being used. Rather, we prefer to leave this to the expert judgment of GEO program officers for particular areas.
I still have questions. How can I contact someone about PREEVENTS?
Please send email to firstname.lastname@example.org, which is the central email address for the PREEVENTS program and reaches the full management team. A member of the team will respond as soon as possible.