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The following FAQ was developed to help RFP applicants after the recent CDI Risk Map workshop held on January 17-18, 2018.

Why is there a topical focus for a portion of the CDI RFP funding this year?

The proposal guidance this year states “The FY18 CDI RFP has a topical emphasis and encourages submissions …  in the specific focus area of risk assessment and hazard-exposure.” Our USGS leadership saw an opportunity to build upon the existing Department of Interior (DOI) Risk Map Project and leverage the CDI Request for Proposals (RFP) to work together and improve USGS risk research potential.

What is the difference between the Department of Interior (DOI) Risk Map Project, the CDI Risk Map Project, and CDI RFP-funded projects with the risk theme?

The DOI Risk Map Project, initiated in FY17, funds a USGS team to directly work with DOI emergency managers to create actionable information and delivery mechanisms for specific DOI planners. The CDI Risk Map Project is a current project funded by the CDI that will develop modular, transferable tools and services that will benefit the USGS community and its other partners. CDI RFP-funded projects are small seed projects that may contribute to the wider USGS risk research potential and build upon the existing CDI Risk Map Project.

I am not sure if my proposal fits into the risk assessment and hazard vulnerability focus, can you define the topic?

The purpose of the topical focus is to support tools that can work together and improve USGS risk and hazard-vulnerability research. Risk assessment is the scientific estimation of the potential for consequences where something of value is at stake and where the outcome is uncertain. A hazard is a dangerous process, phenomenon, substance, activity or condition that may cause loss of life, injury or other health impacts, property damage, loss of livelihoods and services, social and economic disruption, or environmental damage.* Here, hazards are not limited to geohazards, but also biological and climate-related hazards, e.g., invasive species and drought.

Projects that meet the focus topic could improve data collection, management and delivery of risk-related data, or help managers make data-driven decisions about their lands and resources. Projects could be much broader in scope, but specify benefits for a risk or hazard example.

* Definitions are from the USGS Risk Research and Applications Plan, which will be linked on the 2018 Proposals page as soon as available for further information about risk research at the USGS.

I saw a screenshot of the I-HER application in the materials provided - does this exist?

Please note that I-HER is a concept and does not yet exist.

If funded, how will my project be coordinated with other risk-related projects?

The CDI coordinator will work with the different projects, including the existing CDI Risk Map Project team to identify connections and ways to share lessons and outputs from separate teams available to anyone interested. This process will probably include one to two web calls during the project period.

What are some considerations to help write a good CDI risk-related Proposal?

  • The risk and hazard related proposals should still consider the CDI Guiding Principles, CDI Science Support Framework, and Evaluation Criteria (see RFP Guidance).

  • The proposed idea should be scalable and transferable outside of the study area (i.e., place-based studies should be framed as case studies for national application).

  • The focus should be on methodologies, tools, and frameworks as opposed to place-based results, e.g., analytics workflows and models.

Are there any identified gaps that need to be filled?

Attendees at the recent CDI Risk Map workshop (January 17-18, 2018) came up with the following ideas for gaps that the CDI RFP could possibly fill:

  • Mechanisms to scale up local and regional hazard studies for national application

  • Applications or analysis that connect different USGS Mission Areas e.g., characterizing cascading risks

  • New applications of non-geoscience hazards (e.g., invasive species, drought, etc.) to inform resource management

  • Meta-analysis of past CDI projects and activities to identify their connections to characterizing national risk

  • Create an inventory of national (USGS or others) risk-related data assets, and make it easily accessible

  • Approaches for visualizing multiple hazards, where the hazards vary spatially and temporally

  • Identifying usability and needs of risk visualization work

  • How can citizen science / crowdsourcing be harnessed to serve the Risk Map - is real-time data possible?

For any remaining questions, contact the CDI coordinators at

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