ITRC February 2022 seminar on Towards a Coordinated Effort to Support Disaster Research
From Lupita Ramos-Lopez
Recognizing the need for having a coordinated, holistic response to disaster science, like-minded representatives and liaisons from various Federal agencies, foundations, and institutes have been working together to identify and expand Federal support for disaster science. This talk will focus on the speaker's role in this effort, starting from his first days as a new Program Director at the National Science Foundation, supporting a dozen researchers to study the impacts of three hurricanes in rapid succession in fall 2017. Subsequent support was provided to efforts aimed at identifying environmental impacts of drought-induced forest fires, through the development of the National Sewage Surveillance Intergovernmental Leadership Committee with the Centers for Disease Control and numerous Federal agencies. In all these efforts, a unique funding mechanism at the NSF known as “RAPID” played a key role in the ability to get scientists in the field to advance understanding and benefit society. Along the way, the speaker worked with the National Academy of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM), the National Institutes of Health, and many others to form the Action Collaborative for Disaster Research (ACDR) at NASEM. The ACDR led a session at the Natural Hazards annual meeting with a keynote by former NSF Director Rita Colwell to establish a roadmap for government support of disaster science. Several new initiatives have resulted from these efforts, including support for wastewater-based epidemiology, pandemic prevention, and wildfire prediction, prevention, and mitigation.