The HDBE (Humans, Disasters, and the Built Environment) program supports convergent research on the interaction between human activities, the built environment, and natural hazards. The program focuses on the effects of hazards on populations and built environments, including critical infrastructure and physical/cyber spaces. Successful proposals should address all three elements (humans, disasters, and the built environment) and contribute to theories or insights applicable across scales and sectors. HDBE research aims to deepen understanding of human behaviors and inform risk management and adaptation strategies in the face of climate change and other hazards.

The program seeks research that advances foundational theories, methods, and data across disciplines such as engineering, social sciences, natural sciences, computing, and related fields. Interdisciplinary proposals are common and encouraged.

Methodological contributions to disaster research are also of interest, including translating engineering solutions to community or national scale investments, examining interactions between humans and the built environment during simultaneous hazards and pandemics, and handling sensitive data relevant to disasters.

Researchers are encouraged to utilize NSF’s investments in the Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure (NHERI) for testing, modeling, training, data sharing, and analysis. The program particularly encourages research addressing social equity, vulnerability, and environmental justice.

Prospective proposers are encouraged to email a one-page project summary to the HDBE Program Officer before submitting a full proposal to determine if their research topic aligns with the program’s scope and if co-review is appropriate.