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2024 Higher Education Research Award Funding

Requests for proposals closes July 5, 2024.

The FEMA Higher Education Program seeks to support initiatives that narrow the gap between research and practice in Emergency Management Through the solicitation of multidisciplinary and applied research proposals, this program aims to address complex challenges and offer actionable recommendations to advance the discipline and profession of emergency management.

Focus areas of proposals may encompass, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Strengthening Preparedness: Research helps in understanding various aspects of emergencies, including their causes, patterns, and potential impacts. This knowledge enables emergency managers to better prepare for and mitigate the effects of disasters. For example, research might identify vulnerable populations or regions prone to certain types of disasters, allowing for targeted preparedness efforts.
  • Enhancing Response Efforts: By studying past emergencies and response strategies, researchers can identify what works well and what doesn't. This leads to the development of more effective response plans, protocols, and tactics. For instance, research might reveal the most efficient ways to allocate resources or communicate with the public during crises.
  • Innovating Technologies and Techniques: Research drives innovation in emergency management technologies and techniques. This could involve developing new tools for disaster prediction, early warning systems, or advanced search and rescue methods. By staying at the forefront of technological advancements, emergency managers can improve their ability to respond to emergencies swiftly and effectively.
  • Addressing Emerging and Evolving Threats: As new threats emerge, such as pandemics or cyberattacks, research helps in understanding these challenges and developing appropriate response strategies. For instance, research on infectious diseases can inform public health policies and interventions to mitigate the spread of pathogens.
  • Building Resilience: Research contributes to building resilience in communities and infrastructure systems. By studying how different communities and systems respond to emergencies, researchers can identify factors that contribute to resilience and develop strategies to enhance it. This might involve promoting community engagement, strengthening critical infrastructure, or fostering social cohesion.
  • Guiding Policy and Decision-Making: Emergency management research provides evidence-based insights that can inform policy development and decision-making at various levels of government and within organizations. Policymakers rely on research findings to allocate resources, set priorities, and enact legislation aimed at reducing risks and enhancing preparedness and resilience. This focal area can include research or projects that seek to better understand the position of different stakeholder groups, research that drives better decision-making, cross-sectoral governance, etc.

  • Facilitating Continuous Learning and Adaptation: Research facilitates learning from past experiences and adapting strategies accordingly. By analyzing both successes and failures in emergency management, researchers and practitioners can continuously improve their approaches and better anticipate and address future challenges. This focal area includes after action review, debriefing practices, improving the instruction of emergency management, and other related topics.
  • Addressing Underserved and Vulnerable Populations: This area focuses on understanding and addressing the unique challenges faced by underserved populations during emergencies. This focal area aims to identify vulnerabilities and disparities to develop targeted strategies for equitable preparedness, response, and recovery efforts. It considers socio-economic, cultural, and accessibility factors to ensure inclusivity and resilience in emergency management.

Award Highlights

  • Available funds will support awards up to $10,000 for up to one year of performance.
  • The applicant, considered the principal investigator (Pl), must demonstrate:
    • an academic appointment at an accredited college or university.
    • If funded, the Pl must demonstrate IRB approval for the research project.
  • a multidisciplinary research team (This team must be able to support the research and roles must be clearly outlined in advance).
  • Projects must align with at least one goal within the FEMA 2022-2026 FEMA Strategic Plan and fall within at least one of three emergency management focus areas.
    • Climate Resilience
    • Equity
    • Emergency Management Workforce
  • Peer reviewers will evaluate the quality of research design, emphasizing a clear contribution to the practice of emergency management, and editorial quality of the proposal.
  • Funding for awarded projects will be provided through firm-fixed price contracts.

Awardees are required to have a current Unique Entity ID with SAM.GOV.

To receive payment, awardees must submit a professional-quality final research report that must be at least 20 - pages, double-spaced, formatted to APA guidelines, and meet citation and copyright requirements. A letter of approval or exemption from a university based Institutional Review Board, must also be submitted.

Awardees must submit monthly progress reportsand actively participate in quarterly progress calls.

Accepted final reports will be posted to the FEMA Higher Education website.

Proposals must follow the research award template provided. Submit proposals to by midnight July 5, 2024.

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