The pace of environmental change is now greater than any other time in human history. Climate and land-use change, population growth, and urbanization are putting human and ecological systems at risk, and they are affecting critical resources that support prosperous and healthy populations.

Two weeks ago, the east coast of the United States was devastated by hurricane Florence. Although many rivers have finally crested and are receding, the full extent of the storm’s damage is not yet known. For some communities, recovery will take years.

When events like hurricane Florence happen, its important for the research community to respond quickly. Time-sensitive sustainability research is better able to collect ephemeral data, easily lost as time goes on. For example, how people make travel decisions during an event, cultural aspects of disaster preparedness, and citizen responses can all inform resilience research.

The Environmental Resilience Institute enables researchers to be nimble by offering Rapid Response grants up to $15,000. Rapid Response grants are a key component of the institute’s mission. They provide funds Rapid Response grants fund specific and time-sensitive opportunities to help faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and students work on issues related to the institute’s mission.

Rapid Response seed funds support the research infrastructure, travel, and activity support to develop new areas of discovery.  Generating preliminary results helps researchers compete for targeted external funding or to help finance sustainability-related events. Quickly generating research products also helps get timely information into the hands of decision-makers, to help inform their ability to respond to and plan for similar events in the future.

ERI funded the following six submissions in response to hurricane Florence.