Sponsor Deadline
Posted: 4/11/2024

REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS (RFP): Wildfire Mitigation Strategies

The Joe W. & Dorothy Dorsett Brown Foundation (Foundation) is a private foundation based out of Metairie, Louisiana. The Foundation has proudly supported basic science research programs since its inception and enjoys longstanding relationships with some of the top scientific institutions in the United States. The Foundation proudly works to answer life's questions and relieve human suffering. 

Request for Proposals (RFP): The Brown Foundation’s home state of Louisiana is experiencing record-breaking heat and dryness, which have made it easier for wildfires to proliferate.

Wildfires pose a significant threat to ecosystems, communities, and economies, particularly in regions with abundant forest resources. The increasing frequency and intensity of wildfires in Louisiana, as well as in Canada, the Western states, and Hawaii, necessitate innovative strategies for mitigation and management. This Request for Proposals (RFP) seeks to explore and implement science-based solutions for wildfire mitigation that enable beneficial fire while also mitigating vulnerabilities to extreme wildfire.

The primary objective of this RFP is to sponsor research that will advance collective knowledge about science-based approaches to wildfire mitigation. Focus areas may include these or other topics:

  • Increased knowledge and understanding of wildfire behavior, the role of wildfire in the natural ecosystem, impacts on human health, and optimal thresholds for intervention.
  • Advances in science, technology, and data integration that make the most difference for improved early fire detection, consequence assessment, rapid response, and improved health outcomes.
  • Wildfire mitigation strategies that ensure that communities can coexist with the impacts of wildfire and smoke, including the economic cost-benefit analysis of wildfire mitigation strategies. 
  • Development or refinement of fire and ecosystem stewardship models to facilitate the use of prescribed burning under appropriate and beneficial conditions in the context of a changing climate.
  • Research and identify innovative scientific methods and practices aimed at mitigating the risk of wildfires, while simultaneously enhancing benefits such as carbon sequestration, ecological resilience, energy generation, improvements in population health, and economic advantages.
  • Research and recommend Nature-based Solutions (NbS) for wildfire mitigation. NbS are characterized by their alignment with nature and ability to offer cost-effective solutions that deliver environmental, social, and economic benefits. These solutions should empower decision-makers and policymakers to effectively address extreme wildfires, while prioritizing biodiversity conservation and ensuring the sustained provision of ecosystem services.
  • Research on the impact of forest fires on soil composition, structure, and fertility, including the assessment of short-term and long-term effects on soil health, nutrient cycling, and ecosystem resilience.
  • Research on the impact of wildfire mitigation on air quality and human health in the context of a changing climate.

The goal of this research is to provide evidence-based insights, actionable recommendations, and scalable solutions that support the transition towards more resilient and fire-adaptive landscapes, while simultaneously addressing pressing environmental challenges and advancing the goals of sustainable landscapes and climate resilience.

Proposal Review Process and Timeline: Final, institutionally approved proposals are due October 28, 2024. Selected applicants will be invited to meet in person with the Brown Foundation board of trustees on the Duke campus in Spring 2025. The funding decision will be made by June 1, with a project start date anticipated to be July 1, 2025.

Judging Criteria: All proposals will be reviewed by the trustees of the Brown Foundation, and, possibly, external scientific advisors. Judges will look for four factors in the selection process: (1) significance and potential impact; (2) degree of innovation; (3) scientific merit; and (4) feasibility.

Proposal Outline: We have no strict outline for proposals, though we recommend applications be no more than ten (10) pages long, single-spaced, with one-inch margins all around and 12-point font.  A small number of additional attachments, such as publications or brief c.v., are welcome. That said, there are some basics that should be included in any proposal; those basics are:

  1. Objectives: Summarize the key items to be accomplished for your project to be a success.
  2. Research Plan: Describe how the objectives will be achieved through a plan. This should include a statement on your research approach and literature review.
  3. Deliverables: What sort of deliverables are you anticipating to generate.
  4. Project Schedule: In an ideal world, we’d like to have a final report in twenty-four months from initial funding, but identify whatever time period you need for this work. Provide your proposed project timeline.
  5. Budget: Include an itemized budget with major expense categories. The Foundation will allow 10% of the project award to be set aside for institutional overhead. We anticipate providing one award of up to $200,000 to a selected Duke proposal.
  6. Equipment and Facilities: What sort of equipment and facilities do you need and will Duke be able to grant you access to same.
  7. Research Team: No one works entirely alone in 2024, identify who all may be sharing some of your research burden.

Proposal Delivery Instructions: Submit written proposals to this portal by October 28, 2024 by 11:59 pm. Applicants and grants administrators must assure that final review and approval by ORA/ORS is complete prior to submission. Upload to this portal constitutes submission to the external funder.

Please submit internal materials through My Research Proposal. (Code: ILN) https://www.grantinterface.com/sl/aZIiu4

Instructions for creating an account (if needed) and submitting your materials: https://ctsi.duke.edu/about-myresearchproposal

Please contact Rhonda Parker, Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations, Nicholas Institute for Energy, Environment & Sustainability at rhonda.parker@duke.edu or Brooke Church, Director of Foundation Relations & Strategic Partnerships, Duke Health Development and Alumni Affairs at brooke.church@duke.edu if you have questions about the application, or would like to discuss your proposal before submission.

Please do not contact the Brown Foundation directly.

Eligibility Requirements

Open to all Duke faculty and research staff.

Amount Description

One award of up to $200,000 for scientific research that adds to the body of knowledge related to mitigating the impact of wildfires on ecosystems and/or human health.

Funding Type