Trends in Multidisciplinary Hazard and Disaster Research: A 1982-2017 Case Study

Adam Behrendt, Kathryn Lukasiewicz, Daniel Seaberg, Jun Zhuang
Risk Analysis: An Official Publication of the Society for Risk Analysis 2019 March 28
From 1982 to 2017, 539 unique awards studying extreme events and natural disasters have been funded by the Infrastructure Management and Extreme Events (IMEE), Decision, Risk and Management Science (DRMS), Humans, Disasters, and the Built Environment (HDBE), and Hazard Science, Engineering, and Education for Sustainability (Hazard SEES) programs under the National Science Foundation, totaling approximately $450 million. The relationships between discipline, topic, and funding are explored through review of the data on each award's active dates, amount of funding received, specific hazards and disasters studied, and principal investigator (PI) and co-PI affiliations. A positive correlation between award funding and increasingly larger multidisciplinary teams of PIs on projects is observed. However, these teams of four or more PIs only account for about 18% of the total number of awards. In terms of topic, projects applicable to general hazard/disaster research encompass the largest portion of awards, but not the greatest funding per award on average. Additionally, both the number of awards per year and the total funds allotted per year show an increasing trend. Finally, some of the trends in project team discipline with relation to hazards show a shift to equal numbers of engineers and social scientists on multidisciplinary teams while others remain fairly homogeneous in their team dynamics. This article provides unique perspectives on how to better allocate funds through extensive topic and funding analysis. This work is a brief analysis of trends in the hazard and disaster research community, focusing on multidisciplinary project teams and their correlation to funding amounts and research areas.

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