SCEC Science Plan


The Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC) was founded as a Science & Technology Center on February 1, 1991, with joint funding by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the U. S. Geological Survey (USGS). Since 2002, SCEC has been sustained as a stand-alone center under cooperative agreements with both agencies in three consecutive, five-year phases (SCEC2-SCEC4). The Center has been extended for another 5-year period, effective 1 Feb 2017 to 31 Jan 2022 (SCEC5). SCEC coordinates fundamental research on earthquake processes using Southern California as its main natural laboratory. Currently, over 1000 earthquake professionals participate in SCEC projects. This research program is investigator-driven and supports core research and education in seismology, tectonic geodesy, earthquake geology, and computational science. The SCEC community advances earthquake system science by gathering information from seismic and geodetic sensors, geologic field observations, and laboratory experiments; synthesizing knowledge of earthquake phenomena through system-level, physics-based modeling; and communicating understanding of seismic hazards to reduce earthquake risk and promote community resilience.

The annual SCEC Science Plan (aka RFP) solicits proposals from individuals and groups to participate in the SCEC research program on an annual basis. Typical grants awarded under the SCEC Science Plan fall in the range of $10,000 to $35,000. This is not intended to limit SCEC to a fixed award amount, nor to a specified number of awards, but rather to calibrate expectations for proposals submitted to SCEC. Field research investigations outside southern California are generally not supported.

Questions not answered in the Science Plan? Email proposals[at]
Questions about the online SCEC Proposal System? Email web[at]


The Southern California Earthquake Center is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) through cooperative agreements with the University of Southern California (USC). Additional funding for the SCEC research program is provided by the Pacific Gas & Electric Company, the Keck Foundation, geodesy royalty funds, and potentially other sources.

All research awards will be funded as subawards or fixed-priced contracts from the University of Southern California. Because SCEC5 operates under new cooperative agreements with the NSF and USGS, all 2017 research awards will be established as new subcontracts between USC and the institution to receive funding. When SCEC award funding becomes available to investigators will depend on (1) how soon SCEC/USC receives SCEC5 funds from the NSF and USGS, and (2) how quickly contracts are negotiated between USC and institution to receive funding.

Participant support (workshops, intern project supplement, and travel) award expenditures will be managed through the master SCEC account at USC.

Funding for Collaborative Proposals may also be delayed or denied if any of the investigators has overdue project report(s) for prior SCEC award.