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National Science Foundation Awards Post 9/11 Attack Grants

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a total of 13 Small Grants for Exploratory Research to engineering and social science researchers to conduct post-disaster assessments at the terrorist attack sites and to study human and social behavior responses to the terrorist attacks of September 11. Of the 13 grants, five awards went to sociologists.

Social science research has contributed important knowledge to understanding natural and human disasters. Rapid research in response to the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon will be used to improve the nation’s response to future threats or disasters. Below are the sociologist awardees and a description of their projects.

Mehdi Bozorgmehr, Department of Sociology, City University of New York, is examining at the organizational response of U.S. based groups threatened by the backlash of September 11 events by gathering longitudinal data on their efforts to monitor hate crimes, follow media reports, and contact important policy makers. He will compare these data with accounts of previous crises.

J. Craig Jenkins, Department of Sociology, Ohio State University, is gathering reports from local nationals trained in the field of five former Soviet republics in Central Asia to compare their accounts with event reporting from the Reuters news service. The objective is to evaluate the complex relationship between civil instability and international conflict.

David Mileti, Chair of the Department of Sociology and Director of the Natural Hazards Center, University of Colorado, Boulder, is coordinating the travel of and expansion of the Center’s Quick Response (QR) Research Program regarding social and behavioral aspects of disasters to include studies of the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks. The QR Program involves a variety of studies by sociologists and other social scientists.

Mansoor Moaddel, Department of Sociology, Eastern Michigan University, is collecting data for before-and-after September 11 comparisons of attitudes and values in Morocco, Iran, and Egypt regarding religion, Westernization, national identity, trust, and other issues.

Tom W. Smith, National Opinion Research Center (NORC), University of Chicago, is studying how people learned of the disaster, what their reactions were, what their general psychological response was, and how their basic beliefs and values were affected. This study builds on previous studies of national trauma and crises such as the assassination of President Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crises.

The NSF supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. For more information, contact William Harms, (703) 292-8070, For more information on the NSF response to the attacks as well as grant information see