than the resources of the committee have allowed. As an interim step, the committee recommends that a workshop be held to facilitate communication, coordination, and planning among stakeholders from governmental, academic, and professional constituencies. Representatives from NSF and DHS should play key roles in the workshop because of their historical (NSF) and more recent (DHS) shared commitment to foster the next generation of hazards and disaster researchers.

Summary Recommendation 3: NSF and DHS should jointly support the comparative research, strategic planning, and institution building called for in Summary Recommendations 1 and 2.

The proposed leveraging of NSF with DHS support is critical because these two agencies are focal points of federal funding for research on all types of extreme events. The two agencies should take advantage of opportunities to leverage their resources by jointly funding social science hazards and disaster research whenever possible. This could lead to a better understanding of the similarities and differences between natural, technological, and human-induced hazards and disasters. It could also provide the foundation for sound science-based decision making by policy makers and practitioners, whether they are developing measures to counter a major natural disaster like Hurricane Katrina or a terrorist-induced event like the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. Social science research on the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks as well as more limited observations that have been made thus far on Hurricane Katrina indicate, first, that many previous findings about societal response to hazards and disasters remain valid, and second, that there is still much to be learned about responses to truly catastrophic events.


While NSF social science studies supported through NEHRP are summarized in some detail in the report that follows, the committee’s overall vision of future hazards and disaster research underlies the summary recommendations that have been developed. The committee envisions a future:

  • where the origins, dynamics, and impacts of hazards and disasters become much more prominent mainstream as well as specialty research interests throughout the social sciences;

  • where traditional social science investigations of post-disaster responses become more integrated with no less essential studies of hazard vulnerability, hazard mitigation, disaster preparedness, and post-disaster recovery;

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