Program Summary

Program Summary

During the past several decades, the United States has experienced major earthquake and windstorm (e.g., tornado and hurricane) events, resulting in loss of life, injuries, extensive damage, and loss of basic services vital for post-disaster response and recovery. Such impacts have led to long recovery periods for communities, states, and the nation. The use of experimental testing, computational modeling and simulation, research data, and their integration with theory have become increasingly important research resources to create the knowledge and innovation needed to mitigate the impact of future earthquakes and windstorms, including the natural hazards caused by these events such as tsunamis and storm surge, respectively, on our nation's physical civil infrastructure: buildings and other structures, underground structures, and critical lifelines such as communications, energy, transportation, and water/wastewater systems.


The National Science Foundation (NSF) has supported the construction (fiscal year (FY) 2000 - 2004) and operations (FY 2005 - 2014) of distributed, multi-user, national earthquake engineering research infrastructure (experimental facilities and cyberinfrastructure) through the George E. Brown, Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES). Through use of NEES, NSF-supported researchers have advanced fundamental knowledge about the seismic performance of civil infrastructure and created sustainable technologies for structural design, structural rehabilitation, and site remediation; computational, simulation, and visualization research tools; experimental simulation techniques and instrumentation; and sensor technologies. In addition, researchers have deployed NEES equipment, sensors, and data acquisition systems to capture large aftershock building response and generate site profiling data following the 2010 Chile and 2010/2011 New Zealand earthquakes.


NEES operations are currently managed under a cooperative agreement with Purdue University, hereinafter referred to as the "incumbent," expiring on September 30, 2014. The NEES research infrastructure supported by the incumbent is described at NSF's support for NEES operations and research ends on September 30, 2014. However, through NSF support, the incumbent will continue to operate only the NEEShub cyberinfrastructure through May 31, 2015, to provide continued operations for the research community and to assist the new cyberinfrastructure awardee made under this solicitation with the cyberinfrastructure transition.


This solicitation establishes the Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure (NHERI) for 2015 - 2019. NHERI will be a distributed, multi-user, national facility and will provide the natural hazards engineering community with access to research infrastructure (earthquake and wind engineering experimental facilities, cyberinfrastructure, computational modeling and simulation tools, and research data), coupled with education and community outreach activities. NHERI will enable the community to make research and educational advances collaboratively that can contribute knowledge and innovation to prevent natural hazards from becoming societal disasters. This knowledge base could potentially transform how future civil infrastructure will be designed and how existing civil infrastructure might be rehabilitated.


NHERI will consist of the following components, established through up to ten individual awards:

  • Network Coordination Office (one award),
  • Cyberinfrastructure (one award),
  • Computational Modeling and Simulation Center (one award), and
  • Experimental Facilities for earthquake engineering and wind engineering research (up to seven awards, including one award for a Post-Disaster, Rapid Response Research Facility).


Up to ten cooperative agreements are anticipated to commence in 2015, each with a five-year award duration. Awardees will not conduct research under their awards. The primary research enabled by NHERI will be conducted by investigators supported through separate NSF awards. The Awardees and the natural hazards engineering community will work together, through Governance and Awardee activities, to establish a shared vision for NHERI, set natural hazards engineering research and education agendas and priorities, and make NHERI a value-added and productive research infrastructure.

Application Limits

Application Limits

UIC may submit up to two proposals as the lead institution, but may not submit more than one proposal as the lead institution in any one of the following four proposal categories:

  1. Network Coordination Office (NCO),
  2. Cyberinfrastructure (CI),
  3. Computational Modeling and Simulation Center (SimCenter), and
  4. Experimental Facility (EF), which includes the Post-Disaster, Rapid Response Research (RAPID) Facility.

Additional Information


UIC Letter of Intent
September 30, 2014
UIC Internal Competition
Sponsor Letter of Intent
November 6, 2014
Sponsor Application
December 3, 2014

Letter of Intent

Letter of Intent

Letter of Intent (LOI) Form

Depending upon the number of LOIs submitted, OVCR might be required to facilitate an internal peer review process to select UIC’s submission(s) to this program.

Please contact Tony Halford at or 6-7036 with any questions.

If an authorized principal investigator is not listed above, please consider the limited competition still open. Contact for further information.