Research Support

Research Opportunities

Toward Smarter Communities: Federal Agencies Partner on a Research and Action Competition 4/10/20

Today, the National Science Foundation (NSF), in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), announced the launch of the Civic Innovation Challenge, a national research and action competition in the smart and connected communities domain. Teams will compete for awards of up to $1 million to support ready-to-implement, research-based pilot projects that have the potential for scalable, sustainable, and transferable impact on community-identified priorities. Teams will include civic partners — such as local, state, and tribal government officials, and non-profit and community leaders — working together with technical and social science researchers. The Civic Innovation Challenge is funded with an anticipated $9 million in funding from NSF, DOE, and DHS. Access the NSF solicitation here.

While development of the Civic Innovation Challenge has been ongoing for over a year, the release of the Challenge comes as the world faces unprecedented obstacles in response to the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak, which is impacting healthcare, economic, and social systems. Although the collective energy and effort of communities must focus on the crisis at hand, community members, researchers, and leaders will soon also be considering how civic services and systems should be rebuilt to be stronger and more resilient once communities emerge from this crisis. As teams reflect on the focus areas of the Civic Innovation Challenge (tracks described below), they are encouraged to consider how both the current situation and other experiences in their communities uncover new challenges, motivate new questions, and highlight the need for new perspectives.

The Civic Innovation Challenge comprises two tracks, shaped by input from cities and communities from across the country at an Ideas Festival held in early 2019:

  1. Communities and Mobility: Offering Better Mobility Options to Solve the Spatial Mismatch Between Housing that is Affordable and Jobs; and
  2. Resilience to Natural Disasters: Equipping Communities for Greater Preparedness and Resilience to Natural Disasters.

The Challenge is organized in two stages. In the first stage, teams will compete for planning grants of up to $50,000 per team over a period of four months. Awards will be offered to approximately 12 teams per track and are expected to be made in Fall 2020. Planning grant applications are due on July 1, 2020. With the support of the planning grant, the selected teams will then refine their projects and compete for second-stage grants of up to $1 million per team over a period of 12 months; these awards will support ready-to-implement, research-based pilot projects and will be offered to a cohort of awardees in each track. Only awardees of Stage 1 will be eligible to submit proposals for Stage 2.

"The Civic Innovation Challenge is the latest step by NSF to provide funding for high-need research areas with significant societal impact," said Margaret Martonosi, NSF Assistant Director for Computer and Information Science and Engineering. "We are thrilled to partner with DOE and DHS to support community-based innovation. The structure of the Civic Innovation Challenge will allow for teams to learn from each other and develop transferable approaches poised to address key civic priorities on a national scale."

In discussing the Communities and Mobility track, Daniel R. Simmons, Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, U.S. Department of Energy, said "DOE is proud to participate in the Civic Innovation Challenge and inspire communities and researchers to work together to develop affordable, innovative mobility options that better connect residents to work, critical services, and amenities. DOE's national labs conduct cutting edge research encompassing transportation and mobility, and we are eager to build off of our existing knowledge-base to address this priority."

In discussing the Resilience to Natural Disasters track, Andre Hentz, Acting Deputy Under Secretary for the DHS Science and Technology Directorate, remarked: "Natural disasters and crises like the COVID-19 outbreak requires resilience in cities and communities across the country and across the spectrum of planning, response and recovery efforts.

Our federal, state and local customers need safe, reliable and secure tools to adapt to and respond to changing environments and emergencies, and to drive-down risk, according to Hentz. "DHS is excited to partner with NSF and invest in new ideas and tools to improve services and serve as living labs for innovative approaches. The discoveries and solutions generated through the Civic Innovation Challenge will make the nation more resilient."

NSF has a cooperative agreement with MetroLab Network, a non-profit organization that will support the Civic Innovation Challenge through organizing outreach to prospective communities and teams in preparing for Stage 1 and Stage 2, as well as cultivating communities of practice among awardees to help teams develop methods and solutions transferable to communities across the U.S. MetroLab contributed to the design of the Civic Innovation Challenge, supported by a grant from NSF.

Through this multi-agency federal effort, the Civic Innovation Challenge prioritizes community engagement, transdisciplinary research, and real-world pilots to enhance science and create lasting community impact.

Because of competing priorities and schedule disruptions due to the COVID-19 crisis and response, several measures will be taken to accommodate those responding to the Civic Innovation Challenge:

  • MetroLab will host webinars to share guidance on best practices in crafting research-community partnerships amid the current organizational responsibilities of civic leaders.
  • In preparing the planning grant proposals, partnerships with civic leaders may be not be as developed as they would have been under typical circumstances; MetroLab will provide general guidance on how teams can ensure sufficient "buy-in" from civic leaders and enlist additional partners that will strengthen their planning grant efforts.
  • All workshops and events associated with the Civic Innovation Challenge will be held virtually until public health guidance changes.


Questions? For questions about the solicitation or applying for an award, contact NSF program officers David Corman, Michal Ziv-El, Sandip Roy, and Linda Bushnell. For questions about programming or partnership inquiries, please contact MetroLab.



Updated March 23, 2020

Dear University of Arizona Researchers,

The Office of Research Innovation and Impact (RII) has formed a COVID-19 Research Coordination Group (RCG) interested in pursuing research initiatives on Coronavirus and/or assisting with state and local community efforts to prevent, contain, and/or surveil COVID-19. This initiative is being spearheaded by Dr. Jeff Burgess, Professor and Associate Dean for Research in the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health. If you are interested in joining this working group, please email Bekah Coşkun, DrPH, ( as follows:

Subject: COVID-19 Working Group- Expression of Interest

Short description of yourself (no more than 3-5 sentences) including,

  • Name, credentials, affiliations, and expertise
  • Bullets of potential projects or areas of interest
  • YES/NO to the following: Permission to share my Bio and information to the Arizona Department of Health Services and Arizona county health departments (e.g., Pima, Pinal, and Maricopa) for consideration to assist with their efforts.
  • UArizona leadership would like to promote the activities of its researchers working on the COVID-19 initiative. Please give us a 1 to 2-line description of your current COVID-19 research and/or response understandable to a lay audience. It will be used for dissemination to internal and external communications (e.g., UArizona leadership, state relations, news media, and assisting internal collaborations). The 1 to 2-line descriptions should be emailed to Bekah Coşkun, DrPH, (

For proposal development support related to COVID-19 initiatives (e.g., technical editing or the proposal narrative/white paper), please contact, Jessica Moon, PhD at

Here is the list of current funding opportunities:

H.R. 6074 Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act 2020 

NSF Research on COVID-19

NIH Notice of Special Interest (NOSI)

NIH Partnerships for Countermeasures against Select Pathogens

NIH Collaborative Cross (CC) Mouse Model Generation and Discovery of Immunoregulatory Mechanisms

CDC Broad Agency Announcement: Applied Research to Address the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Emerging Public Health Emergency

Biomedical Advanced Research & Development Authority (BARDA) Broad Agency Announcement 



National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) 

  • NEA has posted the agency’s CARES Act funded grant competition to help arts organizations endure financial impacts from COVID-19. NEA received $75 million in the CARES Act. Applicants must be previous NEA awardees from the past four years. Applications are due April 22 via and also submitted to the Endowment’s application portal between April 27 - May 4. Details at
  • • NEA has announced that its “Challenge America” grant application deadline has been cancelled to allow the “Endowment to prepare for distribution of funding from CARES Act.” NEA states that “Challenge America applicants should apply for Grants for Arts Projects with a deadline of July 9, 2020. For more information contact" 
  • • NEA’s FAQ’s in response to COVID-19, which has been updated with additional information for grantees, is at


Society of Architectural Historians -SAH Membership Grant for Emerging Professionals

SAH Membership Grants provide emerging scholars with a one-year digital SAH Individual membership to bridge the gap between the Society's subsidized student memberships and the full-cost SAH memberships. These grants are intended to open membership in SAH to emerging scholars who are engaged in the study of architectural history and its related disciplines.

Anticipated Deadline: Aug 31, 2020


Alexander von Humboldt Foundation - Sofja Kovalevskaja Award

The Sofja Kovalevskaja Award allows successful, top rank faculty to spend five years building up a working group and working on a high-profile, innovative research project of their own choice at a research institution of your own choice in Germany.  The award is valued at up to €1.65 million ($1.9 million). 

Deadline: July 31, 2020


Library of Congress - John W. Kluge Center Fellowships

The John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress invites qualified scholars to conduct research at the Kluge Center using the Library of Congress collections and resources for a period of four to eleven months. The Kluge Center especially encourages humanistic and social science research that makes use of the Library's large and varied collections. Interdisciplinary, cross-cultural, or multi-lingual research is particularly welcome. Among the collections available to researchers are the world's largest law library and outstanding multi-lingual collections of books and periodicals. Fellowships are tenable for periods from four to eleven months at a stipend of $4,200 per month.

Deadline: July 15, 2020


NSF Dear Colleague Letter 

  • On March 25, NSF released a Dear Colleague Letter: Request for SBIR/STTR Phase I Proposals Addressing COVID-19. NSF invites U.S.-based businesses to submit Phase I SBIR/STTR proposals focused on “the development and deployment of new technologies, products, processes, and services” that have the potential to help respond to COVID-19. The DCL highlights the following areas of research: artificial intelligence, digital health, diagnostics, distributed ledger, environmental technologies, medical devices, pharmaceutical technologies, disinfection and sterilization, and filtration and separations. The DCL is available at 


Urban Communication Foundation - Jane Jacobs Urban Communication Book Award

The annual Jane Jacobs Urban Communication Book Award recognizes an outstanding book, published in English, which exhibits excellence in addressing issues of urban communication.

Deadline: July 15, 2020


Society for Cinema and Media Studies - Anne Friedberg Innovative Scholarship Award

This award recognizes innovative work that expands the discipline of film and media studies, emphasizing its relationship to other visual fields, including architecture, art history, and digital media.

Anticipated Deadline: July 30, 2020


Society of Architectural Historians (SAH) - Alice Davis Hitchcock Book Award

Established in 1949, the Alice Davis Hitchcock Book Award aims to annually recognize the most, “distinguished work of scholarship in the history of architecture published by a North American scholar.”

Anticipated Deadline: June 1, 2020


Herbert Feis Award, American Historical Association

This prize is offered annually to recognize distinguished contributions to public history, broadly defined. Contributions could, for example, include work as the administrator of a public history group or agency (such as a historical society, a historic site, or a community history project) or as the creator or producer of a public history product or products (such as a museum exhibit, radio script, web site, oral history collection, or film). Often, the contribution will be the result of years of effort in the field, but the prize might also recognize a singular contribution of major importance such as a pathbreaking museum exhibit.  Individuals and collaborative groups are eligible to apply.

Deadline: May 15, 2020


James Harvey Robinson Prize, American Historical Association

The James Harvey Robinson Prize is awarded biennially for the teaching aid which has made the most outstanding contribution to the teaching and learning of history in any field for public or educational purposes. The work should be a "teaching aid," which encompasses textbooks, source and reference materials, audiovisuals, computer-assisted instruction, and public history or museum materials.  The work should have the potential to influence history education.

Deadline: May 15, 2020


John H. Dunning Prize, American Historical Association

The John H. Dunning Prize is awarded for an outstanding monograph on any subject relating to United States history. This biennial prize must be the author’s first or second book.

Deadline: May 15, 2020


Shafik Gabr Foundation

East-West: The Art of Dialogue -- Gabr Fellowship

The Foundation sponsors and fosters exchanges between emerging leaders from Egypt and the other countries in arts, science, law, media and entrepreneurship – both business and social. Program participants spend two weeks in Egypt, followed by a further two weeks in the U.S., building enduring connections through hands-on activities, rigorous discussions, web-based interaction and most importantly, their own collaborative ‘action projects’.  There is not a stipend; however, all lodging, travel, and meals are covered by the Foundation.

Deadline: May 31, 2020


Lewis-Burke Associates Report April 20, 2020

Earth & Environmental Sciences Newsletter

As countries across the globe grapple with COVID-19 and its effects, the U.S. Congress has responded by passing four different stimulus packages to support businesses, spur biomedical research, and supplement corporations and individual incomes.  These packages have done little to support environmental research as the central focus has been on developing rapid testing capabilities, treatments, and vaccines.  While the Senate has returned to session this week, and the House may follow shortly after, the possibility of an environmental stimulus package remains to be seen.  House Democrats have called for the inclusion of reskilling and other green workforce development initiatives in future legislation, but Senate and House Republicans continue to be hesitant to include any climate related funding.   

Despite COVID-related setbacks, both chambers have continued work on legislation affecting environmental research including a possible National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) authorization and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) reauthorization.  There has also been increasing concern around community and infrastructure resilience and the potentially catastrophic impact of a natural disaster in the time of COVID-19.  With the predicted approach of a worse-than-average hurricane season, Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) Administrator Pete Gaynor, announced that development is underway for COVID-19 Pandemic Operational Guidance for the 2020 Hurricane Season.  The guidance is indicative of federal concern for hazards like hurricanes and worries about a lack of preparedness due to the current focus on COVID-19.  Simultaneously, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee has introduced and unanimously advanced a package aimed at addressing President Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s calls for infrastructure legislation.  The bill, described in detail below, focuses on improving America’s water infrastructure including storm and disaster resilience, drinking water safety, and other public utilities.  While the call has not ended for a sweeping infrastructure package, this bill provides a promising direction for future bills and demonstrates that environmental issues are likely to be a Democratic priority in a larger package.  

In the coming months, it remains to be seen how these new priorities will manifest in legislation and how continued partisan divides on a response will inhibit forthcoming legislative proposals.  On Capitol Hill, the plan is to move forward with the appropriations process as usual, however, given the significant delays and complications to conducting regular business, it is uncertain if that plan will come to fruition.  

Biological and Environmental Research Advisory Committee Shares Future Research Priorities  
The Department of Energy (DOE) Biological and Environmental Research (BER) program held a meeting of the Biological and Environmental Research Advisory Committee (BERAC) on April 16, 2020 to discuss program priorities and future research directions of biological sciences and earth and environmental sciences.  In fiscal year (FY) 2020, Congress appropriated $750 million for BER, an increase of $45 million or 6 percent.  While the FY 2021 President’s budget request proposes a cut of $233 million or 31 percent compared to FY 2020, this is similar to proposals from the last three years and will again be rejected by Congress...

In addition to Biological Systems Science, BERAC also shared the future direction of the Earth and Environmental Sciences division.  Notably, this division has been renamed from the Climate and Environmental Sciences Division.  The change is intended to reflect the full breadth of science and research capabilities that go beyond climate modeling and include all earth system-relevant atmospheric and ecosystem processes, including ecology, to improve predictive tools that can address environmental and energy-related challenges, especially extreme weather events.  BER’s overall research priorities within this division include a focus on Terrestrial Aquatic Interfaces, an enhanced focus on coastal issues especially related to resiliency, an interest in expanding knowledge of how watersheds function, and rolling out second and improved version of the Energy Exascale Earth System Model (E3SM), among others.  Notably, Consistent with the five-year strategic plan spanning 2018-2023, the main broad research priorities for the Earth and Environmental Systems Science program include integrated water cycle, biogeochemistry, high latitude components, drivers and responses in the earth system, and data cycle integration. 

Similar to Biological Systems Science, BER is still formulating FY 2021 funding opportunities for the Earth and Environmental Systems Science program, but likely opportunities include: 

  • Atmospheric System Research: This funding solicitation will likely seek proposals that use observations, including DOE’s Atmospheric Radiation Measurement user facilities, to advance fundamental understanding of the cloud, aerosol, precipitation, and radiation processes across a range of scales to improve the predictability of the Earth’s radiative balance and hydrologic cycle.  Similar to last year’s solicitation, research topics are likely to include aerosol, warm boundary-layer atmospheric, convective cloud, and Southern Ocean cloud and aerosol processes.  Approximately $10 million should be available to fund between 15 and 24 awards ranging from $150,000 to $750,000 over two to three years.  In FY 2020, BER received 87 proposals, and the peer review to select proposals will occur May 11, 2020.  Last year’s funding solicitation is available at
  • Earth system modeling: This funding call will likely support the development, coupling and testing of global climate model systems.  The focus is on developing and applying a computationally advanced climate and Earth system model to investigate the challenges posed by the interactions of climate change with energy and related sectors.  This includes atmospheric dynamics, clouds and chemistry; ocean dynamics and biogeochemistry; sea-ice and dynamic land-ice systems; land hydrology and biogeochemistry; and representations of human activities that have important interactions with climate.  About $6 million should be available to fund around 10 awards for $200,000 a year over three years.  In FY 2020, BER received 70 applications and the peer review to select proposals will occur on May 28, 2020.  Last year’s funding solicitation is available at

Sources and Additional Information: 

NSF Releases Coastlines and People Hub Solicitation 
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has released a new multi-directorate solicitation for Coastlines and People (CoPe) Hubs for Research Broadening Participation.  The purpose of the CoPe Hubs is to conduct basic research to improve the understanding of interactions among natural, human-built, and social systems in coastal, populated environments at multiple scales.  Project topics can cover a wide range of issues including disaster resilience and decision making, interactions with the built versus natural environment, or natural coastal ecosystem processes, among other areas.  Hubs should establish partnerships that can lead to the development of practical planning and adaptation methods for responding to sea level rise, climate change, and natural disasters.   

There will be two project funding tracks, Focused and Large-Scale: 

  • Focused Hubs will serve a specific geographic region or scientific question with smaller budgets.  These projects will be funded at up to $1 million per year for 3-5 years. 
  • Large-Scale Hubs will have large regional or national coverage and a broader scientific question.  These awards will have larger funding amounts, between $2-4 million per year, and may be carried out by either continuing grants or cooperative agreements for up to 5 years.   

Applications should also address plans for broadening participation in STEM within the Hub and the surrounding community.  Proposers are encouraged to form partnerships and define an organizational structure to engage with stakeholders including other institutions, non-academic organizations, and community groups and demonstrate how such partnerships will contribute to the Hub’s objectives.  In addition to prioritizing broadening participation to foster a more inclusive scientific workforce, the CoPe program also focuses on stakeholder engagement through efforts such as “citizen science, stakeholder partnerships, community engagement,” and more.  The solicitation points to the NSF Committee on Equal Opportunity in Science and Engineering (CEOSE) report Investing in Diverse Community Voices for recommendations that could be integrated into proposals.   

The CoPe Hubs solicitation is the largest and final mechanism unveiled as part of the CoPe program.  NSF has previously awarded Conference grants, EAGER (exploratory) awards, and Research Coordination Networks (RCNs) as part of the CoPe program.  A list of all these awards is available below.  In addition, four scoping sessions were held to drive the direction of the CoPe program and the whitepapers and background on the sessions are also available below. 

Letters of intent for Focused Hubs are due August 10, 2020, and full applications are due on September 9, 2020.  Letters of intent for Large-Scale Hubs are due on September 28, 2020, and full applications are due on October 28, 2020.  NSF anticipates granting a total of $29,500,000 for 8-10 total Hubs.  It is not indicated how many of each kind of Hub will be granted.   

Sources and Additional Information: 


Department of Energy (DOE): DOE’s COVID-19 website is at  

  • DOE continues to extend certain deadlines for funding opportunities open to research universities. Most recently, the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) extended the deadline for the Bio-Optimized Technologies to Keep Thermoplastics out of Landfills and the Environment (BOTTLE) solicitation.  Concept papers are now due April 29, 2020 at 5:00 PM ET.  Full applications will be due July 2, 2020 at 5:00 PM ET. For more information, DOE recommends referencing the full FOA at  In general, DOE extensions are still on a case by case basis, and we recommend that researchers contact the lead program manager assigned to the funding opportunity for up to date information on due dates.  
  • DOE plans to release new guidance for grantees that directly addresses guidance in OMB Memo M-20-11, "Administrative Relief for Recipients and Applicants of Federal Financial Assistance Directly impacted by the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)."  The updated guidance should address all issues related to DOE’s financial assistance awards, including allowable costs for supporting graduate students and postdocs.  




Conference Opportunities, Workshops and Collaborations

EPA's FY 2020 Children's Healthy Learning Environments Grant Webinar

On May 14, 2020 from 2:00 pm-3:00 pm EDT, EPA is hosting an informational webinar to provide an overview of the FY 2020 Children's Healthy Learning Environments grant initiative and the request for application (RFA) process. There will be time after the presentation for questions and answers.

To register for the webinar, please visit:

Following the webinar, the slides and a FAQ document will be posted at:

For more information on the webinar, please contact: Becky Cook-Shyovitz at

About the FY 2020 Children's Healthy Learning Environments Grant Initiative

EPA is seeking grant applications through the Children's Healthy Learning Environments Grant Initiative from states, federally recognized tribes, universities, local governments, non-profits, and other groups to support children's environmental health in schools and childcare settings. These grants advance children's environmental health by providing education, training, tools and capacity building. EPA anticipates awarding two grants of approximately $145,000 each for up to a two-year funding period.

Applications are due June 1, 2020.

Grant applications should reflect multi-media and holistic approaches for reducing environmental exposures in schools and childcare settings through capacity building, trainings, and technical assistance. Proposals should also demonstrate a broad reach and collaborative problem-solving with appropriate partners.

For more information, please visit

To view the press release on the Children's Healthy Learning Environments Grant Initiative, click here:



  • UN-Water, the mechanism that coordinates efforts at the United Nations and international organizations working on water and sanitation issues, has compiled water and sanitation-related resources related to stopping the transmission of COVID-19. The resources provided by several UN-Water Members and Partners identify the ways water and sanitation are key to stopping the virus. With over 13,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Africa, this resource is enabling message campaigns and interventions by international organizations and bilateral aid agencies designed to improve access to handwashing and to measure how improved sanitation can slow the spread of new COVID-19 infections. More information is available at


Dubai 2020: Rapid Cities - Responsive Architecture

A conference coinciding with EXPO 2020: design, planning & construction in the modern world. 

Place: American University in Dubai
Dates: 22-24 November 2020
Abstracts: 30th June 2020 (Round One)



In historic Canterbury, the University of Kent hosts a conference on built heritage, future architecture and the digital turn.

Conference Dates: 29-30 June 2020  

Conference Location: Canterbury, UK. University of Kent

Abstracts: 10th Feb 2020 (Round One)


* The City and Complexity - Life, Design and Commerce in the Built Environment - Virtual Options Added 

In London, City University hosts a conference on urban design, architecture and infrastructure in the context of the city as a social and economic entity. 

Conference Dates: 17-19 June 2020 

Conference Location: London, University of London

Abstracts: 1st Dec 2019 (Round One) 


University Research Initiative Sub-Pillar:  Built Environment Research


Drachman Institute News

Find the latest news for the Drachman Institute at