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NIST Announces Competition for Community Resilience Center of Excellence

From NIST Tech Beat: July 9, 2014

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Contact: Michael Baum

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has announced a competition to create a Community Resilience Center of Excellence dedicated to collaborative, interdisciplinary research aimed at developing tools and standardized methods that will enhance the ability of localities to reduce the impact of disasters and to speed recovery in their aftermath.

Joplin tornado destruction
St. John's Regional Medical Center in Joplin, Missouri. The hospital is in the background and the building that housed the emergency generator is in the foreground.
Credit: NIST
high resolution image

Key outputs of the planned center will be advances in measurement science and new modeling, simulation, data and informatics tools that are coupled with field studies of hazard events.

Natural disasters inflict a heavy toll on affected communities and, collectively, on the entire nation. In 2011, economic damages from natural disasters in the United States exceeded $55 billion, according to the National Academies' report Disaster Resilience: A National Imperative.

Progress toward more resilient communities is hindered by alack of useful metrics and a shortage of validated, science-based tools to evaluate resilience on the scale of communities. Achieving resilient performance at a community level takes time and planning. It also requires informed decision making that prioritizes investments and actions across several key dimensions, including social needs, infrastructure, buildings and critical services. To improve community resilience, the new NIST center of excellence will develop science-based tools addressing all of these dimensions, with particular emphasis on buildings and infrastructure systems, such as communications and electric power.

NIST anticipates funding the new center at about $4 million annually for five years, with the possibility of renewing the award for an additional five years. Funding is subject to the availability of funds through NIST's appropriations. The competition is open to accredited institutions of higher education and nonprofit organizations located in the United States and its territories. The proposing institution may work as part of a consortium that could include other academic institutions; nonprofit organizations; companies; or state, tribal or local governments.

Full details of the solicitation, including eligibility requirements, selection criteria, legal requirements and the mechanism for submitting proposals are found in an announcement of Federal Funding Opportunity (FFO) posted at Grants.gov under funding opportunity 2014-NIST-CR-COE-01. See www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=259088.

Applications will be accepted only through the Grants.gov website. The deadline for applications is 11:59 p.m. Eastern time, Sept. 12, 2014.

NIST will hold a webinar on the Community Resilience Center of Excellence on Aug. 5, 2014. The webinar will offer general guidance on preparing proposals and provide an opportunity to answer questions from the public about the program. Participation in the webinar is not required to apply. There is no cost for the webinar, but participants must register in advance. Information on, and registration for, the webinar is available at www.nist.gov/coe/resilience.

This center of excellence is one of several NIST plans to establish to provide an interdisciplinary environment where researchers from NIST, academia and industry can collaborate on emerging areas of basic and applied research and innovations in measurement science.