In early April, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Department of Energy, and National Science Foundation (NSF) announced the launch of the $11 million Civic Innovation Challenge, also known as CIVIC. What’s most exciting for our community is CIVIC will fund convergence projects for “equipping communities for greater preparedness and resilience to… disasters.” (I can’t bring myself to include “natural” in that quote.)

CIVIC is an NSF grant program for place-based pilot projects that are grounded in actionable scholarly research and explicitly support the convergence of researchers, practitioners, and local stakeholders. Proposals that are judged to have the most potential to be scalable, financially viable, and generalizable are the likeliest to be funded. Funding will be done in two stages: $50,000 planning grants and, for planning grant recipients, $1 million project grants. 

CIVIC proposals must be submitted by universities or other non-profit organizations, not government agencies or for-profit businesses. However, proposals submitted by universities must include at least one practitioner or local stakeholder as senior personnel on the project.

We have heard from many of you that convergence is difficult because there is rarely dedicated funding for it, and you don’t get much credit for it in your job performance evaluations. CIVIC is a significant opportunity for both funding and distinction. This is true whether you’re a researcher or practitioner.

This opportunity represents all three pillars of Impact360 Alliance: connecting researchers and practitioners, integrating our respective approaches, and solving natural hazards and disaster problems together. So we hope CIVIC will spur many of you to reach out to your researcher or practitioner counterparts to submit a proposal. The CIVIC NSF grant is a chance for you to foster convergence, whether you’re a practitioner with a pressing challenge or a researcher with promising research findings. Click To Tweet

Another reason we often hear from you that convergence is difficult is there isn’t specific technical support to do to this type of work.

That’s Impact360 comes in. That’s precisely why we were formed.

When you become a member of Impact360 Alliance, you have access to two free benefits we think will improve your chances of putting together a good project team and planning grant proposal.

First, after you join Impact360, we will work with you or your initial team of Impact360 members to identify and connect with the researchers or practitioners you need for a successful project.

Second, we will facilitate a remote, interactive planning process with you and your team to use our inclusive problem-solving toolkit Toolkit360 to develop a scope and strategy for your CIVIC planning proposal. (Some eligibility criteria apply.)

Toolkit360 includes twelve tools to promote convergence. The first six tools are for facilitating researchers and practitioners to increase their shared understanding of natural hazards and disaster problems using. The latter six tools are for facilitating the development of research-driven solution strategies.

Whether you’re a researcher a practitioner, whether you’ve been a part of an NSF project before or not, we hope you will assemble or join a researcher-practitioner team and submit a CIVIC planning grant proposal. If you do, join Impact360 Alliance (if you haven’t already). Then contact us to request support connecting you to other disaster professionals and using our inclusive problem-solving tools to strategize your proposal.

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