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FAQs for Disaster Resilience NOFO

FAQs for the Disaster Resilience 2020 NOFO 

Q: Who is eligible?
A:Per the solicitation the categories of proposers eligible to submit proposals to the National Science Foundation are identified in the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG), Chapter I.E. Unaffiliated individuals are not eligible to submit proposals in response to this solicitation.

Q: Whom do I contact if I have questions?
For all questions not answered in the FAQ, refer to Section VIII of the Solicitation for a list of agency contacts and e-mails. 

Proprietary technical discussions about specific project ideas will not be permitted, and program staff will not critique or provide feedback on specific project ideas while the competition is in progress.

Q: Where can I find information about the relevant technical programs?

A: Please refer to Section VI of the Solicitation for a list of program websites.

Q: Who determines if proposal is reviewed by NSF or by NIST?
A: All proposals will be jointly reviewed according to the criteria described in the solicitation.

Q: May we have the slides after this Webinar?
A: This presentation will be made available to the public after this webinar. It will be located on the NIST Disaster Resilience Grants Program site at

Q: How many proposals will be funded?
A: Per the solicitation it is estimated that 8 - 12 proposal will be funded.

Q: Are there page limits on the LOI?
A: LOIs are limited to 2500 characters.

Q: Will the awards be equally distributed across the 4 research topics?
A: No. The 4 NIST programs are relevant to DRRG but other hazards and methods are also relevant. Proposals will be evaluated in accordance with the review criteria and scored accordingly. Proposals that best fit the solicitation requirements will be funded. It should be noted that programmatic balance may be taken into consideration when making funding selections.

Q: Can we have co-PI from different institutes? Also, any limitation in terms of the number of co-PIs?
A: Yes, you can have Co-PI's from other organizations. You are required to submit a single proposal with one primary PI. There are no limitations on the number of PI's per proposal..

Q: Will climate change-induced slow-onset disasters such as salt-water intrusion be counted as a disaster for DRRG?
A: This sort of disaster is in no way excluded. Please refer to the Solicitation (Section II) for topics excluded in this competition.

Q: If a proposal is accepted, can field data be utilized as part of the project?
A: Yes, as long as the collection and use are accounted for in your proposal and budget.

Q: Are projects funded by NIST and NSF separately, meaning NSF funds specific projects and NIST funds a different set of projects?
A: Yes. Both NSF and NIST will fund proposals.

Q: Do we need to specify whether we are submitting to a "NIST Program" versus and "NSF Program"?
A: No. Proposals are reviewed by panels according to the criteria identified in the solicitation.

Q: Could you please explain the distribution of awarded grant? in how many years it will be awarded? What are the maximum and minimum amounts of awards per year?
A: The award funds are expected to begin distribution in the Summer of 2023. There is no specified duration for proposals, however, it should be noted that proposals are typically for 3 years. There is no min or max funding amount per year.

Q:What are typical durations for these projects?
A: Typical proposals are approximately 3 years in duration. There is no specified maximum or minimum length of an award.

Q: The LoI specifies choosing one keyword only for each topic Does this mean that the proposal should target one of these keywords/ areas only as well?
A: The purpose of the keywords/topic in the LOI's is purely for planning purposes. The LOI's keywords/topics are used to recruit Subject Matter Experts in specific fields identified in the LOI's to assist with the technical review.

Q: Can the Co-PI(s) change for the full proposal after the letter of intent has been submitted?
A: Yes, it is understood that things change and individuals move institutions. It is important that your final proposal has captured any changes prior to submission.

Q:Regarding collaborations, does DRRG accept collaboration between universities and industry research centers?
A: Please refer to the eligibility criteria in the PAPPG Section I.E.

Q: Will collaboration with a minority-serving institution give advantages during the review process?
A: Well designed activities of many sorts that promise to enhance the engagement, resources/capabilities, or prevalence of groups currently underrepresented in science and engineering are considered as positive broader impacts by NSF, NIST, and DRRG.

Q:  Is symposium face to face or virtual, or both?
A: The 2021 Symposium was held virtually and the 2022 Symposium is planned as a virtual event. Future Symposiums may be held in a hybrid format meaning a mix of virtual and in person. For planning purposes it is suggested that applicants budget, and account, for travel to participate in the Symposium in person.

Q: Can prior awarded related projects be submitted?
A: You cannot resubmit a project that has been awarded by any Federal agency. You can, however, submit a proposal that builds on or extends a previously funded project.

Q: Is the $400K the absolute cap for funding?
A: Yes. Proposals with budgets that exceed $400k in total will be deemed non-compliant and returned without review.

Q: DRRG covers windstorm, water, and hurricanes, but all must be related to structures?
A: No, you can talk about anything related to resilience.

Q: Are there particular fields/disciplines that we need to connect specifically with in terms of knowledge building?
A: No but the proposal should fit with the intent of the DRRG Solicitation.

Q: Can you describe post doc mentoring plan?
A:  A description of the mentoring activities that will be provided for such individuals. No more than one page. More information is available in the NSF PAPPG, Chapter II.C.2.j

Q: Since fundamental research on disasters is eligible, does that include applied mathematical models and formal analysis to build the foundations of disaster science from first principles?
A: In short, yes. Define the problem and propose a novel and creative solution. Ensure that you can clearly define how the fundamental advance can have a big impact.

Q: Is this an annual call for proposals? You mentioned it being a special competition and past proposals.
A: Currently, this is our second call. We hope to run this competition again in the future as long as the funding and strategic goals allow.

Q: Can Winter weather hazards like ice and snow be considered on the Natural hazards list?
A: Potentially yes. It is largely up to the applicant to define how they are looking at resilience. Applicants should be able to clearly define the problem and solution while making clear the impact of the results for resilience.

Q: How will a proposal be ranked, 1st, 2nd, 3rd consideration, ...?
A: Please refer to Section VI.B of the Solicitation.

Q: If funded from NSF, one can apply for various supplements - for example, Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) supplements, which allow to expand on (aspects of) the work. Does NIST have something similar?
A: NSF can make Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) supplements if funds allow. NIST does not have similar programs for additional funding.

Q: Can we propose studies with benefits for a few states? Or it is essential to propose a study with an impact on the entire country?
A: It is plausible that a problem impacting a few states could be so significant that such a proposal could become a funding priority. It is incumbent on the proposers to make the case for the significance of contribution to the nation's resilience.

Q: Is the budget an important factor in the reviewing process? For example, would you consider a higher chance to support a project with 200k compared to a 300k one?
A: The budget is a factor if the proposed scope/scale of the research do not align with the proposed budget. Reviewers may comment if they feel that the budget is too high, or conversely too low, for the proposed scope and may note this as a risk to the success of the proposal. The proposed research and its potential for success and contributions to resilience is what is most important. Small budget issues can be addressed if something rises to a funding priority. It should be noted that the $400K cap is firm.

Q: Assuming the $400,000 includes indirect? If so, if we submit as collaborative grant we need to pay indirect on subaward? Or submit as collaborative award and each pays indirect?
A: Yes, it includes indirect costs. Subawards do include indirect costs as well. Requirements for individual institutions and collaborations should be addressed with your SPO for a better understanding of your organizations requirements/regulations. Collaborative awards are not allowable under this competition. Please refer to the Solicitation for clarification.

Q: Is the given $200k to $400k budget range annual or total project?
A: The funding range is for the entirety of the proposed effort. The entire duration of the project should not exceed the $400K cap.

Q: Are international case studies allowable or encouraged, or is the primary focus on US-based case studies? Or a combination?
A: These are allowed. Keep in mind the overall goals of the Solicitation and explain why particular studies will make important contributions.

Q: Are you open to co-reviewing with another directorate within NSF?
A: Co-reviewing is not planned but some co-funding has occurred in the past. 


Created July 26, 2016, Updated July 8, 2022