Terror response research to get center

DHS Broad Agency Announcement on Center for the Study of High Consequence Event Preparedness and Response

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The Homeland Security Department's Science and Technology Directorate has issued a broad agency announcement to establish a university-based center that will study high consequence event preparedness and response, especially those arising from terrorist acts.

The directorate is seeking innovative multidisciplinary research, education efforts, and technology development in disaster preparedness to improve the nation's countermeasures against the effects of weapons of mass destruction, according to the BAA posted today. While there is much experience in natural disasters, there is little experience in dealing with WMDs.

"There are certainly useful analogues to be found in more familiar disasters, but the sparse historical record and the obvious impossibility of realistic full-scale experiment or rehearsal make research into high-consequence terrorist acts vitally important," the BAA reads. "Research that the center sponsors is intended to redress gaps in our understanding of how best to prepare and respond."

DHS officials are particularly interested in proposals that address the future needs for first responders and how they will achieve and maintain situational awareness and make informed and timely decisions. The center should also integrate education and research involving postsecondary students and scholars and develop innovative multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches.

The center should address preparedness, prevention and deterrence, decision-making, effective response networks and modeling and simulation.

DHS will award a total of $15 million for the center over three years. Proposals from eligible U.S. academic institutions must be received by April 22 and the award notification will be June 22.

The initiative will be the fifth Homeland Security Center of Excellence established since November 2003. The department is building a national network of such centers that will collaborate with each other.

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