QUANTIFYING R&D FOR HAZARD LOSS REDUCTION
In this chapter, we describe our approach to quantifying federal spending allocated to R&D that contributes to the goal of hazard loss reduction. We outline the criteria used to identify R&D spending within the federal budget, and we describe the process we employed to isolate funding specifically devoted to hazard loss reduction.
First, let us clarify the terms. For our current purposes, we define natural hazards as natural processes that pose threats to humans, property, and the environment. Broadly, these include atmospheric processes, such as storms and hurricanes; geological phenomena, such as earthquakes and volcanoes; and a class of miscellaneous events, such as wildfires and landslides. In this setting, hazard loss reduction can thus take many forms, from the short-term (e.g., improvements in weather forecasting) to the long-term (e.g., changes in building codes or land use policy), from prediction-focused efforts to strategies designed to mitigate damage via sweeping infrastructure changes. For policy discussions, it is important to emphasize that R&D is a subset of these loss reduction activities. That is, an analysis of the R&D activities cannot be extrapolated to a comprehensive loss reduction strategy.
Our analysis necessitated using multiple data sources, as there is currently no single functionality to trace specific areas of R&D spending in a comprehensive way. In fact, there is no separately identified R&D budget within the federal budget. In turn, no means exist for the full range of agencies conducting hazard loss research to coordinate their spending with one another and to report on that spending en masse. Therefore, we developed criteria to search several sources in order to track all relevant R&D spending. Finally, upon isolating these expenditures, we were able to pinpoint the federal agencies conducting the largest amount of R&D and the kinds of hazards addressed by these efforts. In Chapter Three, we use these preliminary findings to develop a larger analysis of the federal hazard loss R&D efforts.
In recent years, the United States has allocated more than $100 billion annually to R&D efforts in universities, in the private sector, and within the government itself.1____________________