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Research Grants On Fast Track After Harvey

$5.3 million in funding will go to Harvey researchers.

Researchers survey evidence of erosion and plant damage after Hurricane Harvey.

More than $2 million of a $5.3 million National Science Foundation grant award went to researchers in Texas. Many of those researchers are in the Houston area.

Anna Armitage is a part of a team at Texas A&M Galveston studying wetlands, mangrove trees, and their use in coastal protection. “Literally the storm was still over Houston,” as she realized the research potential, she said. “It was still raining at our house and I was on the phone with my collaborators and the NSF program officer.” Within two weeks of the storm, Armitage had the funding she needed, a turnaround somewhat unusual for scientists.

With an NSF program that Armitage calls “fast-track,” natural disasters like Harvey can be a major opportunity for scientists, and an important one as well. Jen Figus is studying how barrier islands responded to the storm.

“After disaster, when things happen, physical processes, if you don’t measure immediately after the event happened, the data won’t be available anymore,” he said.

Figus says getting that data while it is still there can help the region better prepare for future storms.

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