Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Hot Shots

What are Hot Shots?

Nimble, responsive and flexible – Hot Shots are a new model for national Extension collaboration.  Extension is the portal to the applied research capacity of our research universities, however accessibility to expertise in one’s office or existing network is not always feasible when responding to emerging opportunities.

To solve this problem, the Western Center and the National Urban Extension Leaders have assembled a national team of experts, called Hot Shots.

Hot shots can:

  • Increase the capacity of local Extension offices to serve their metropolitan stakeholders and funders
  • Make it possible for Extension to solve complex problems locally, by providing access to expertise nationally
  • Be called upon to conduct research, summarize findings and propose recommendations for short term, adequately funded projects that require credible university-based applied research.

Hot Shots are vetted for their expertise,  interest and capacity to take on new projects, and their willingness to work on projects outside their own region. Through the Hot Shot model, local Extension is more responsive to meet local needs and can readily take advantage of new funding opportunities.

Why be a Hot Shot?

As a Hot Shot, you will be contacted to work on projects that:

  • Connect you to colleagues across the nation as part of multidisciplinary teams to work on tangible projects, which you may be able to implement locally.
  • Provide scholarship opportunities.
  • Generate extramural funding.

If you are interested in becoming a Hot Shot, please register here.  We will follow up with more details and continue the process to list you as one of our Hot Shots.

If you are interested in requesting a Hot Shot team for your project, please contact Brad Gaolach, WCMER Director, at or 425-405-1734.

Hot Shot Model

Project opportunities in metropolitan areas can arise when you least expect them and the Hot Shot model is designed to help you respond quickly. When a project opportunity requires expertise beyond your local capacity, Hot Shots are your answer- allowing your response and the work of the project, to be completed within the schedule of your local client.

Hot Shot Model (Flowchart)


When additional expertise is required the Western Center for Metropolitan Extension and Research (WCMER) will select from the roster of Hot Shots based on the specific expertise needed for the project and their availability to meet the project timeline and deliverables. Ideally, each Project Team is comprised of Hot Shots as well as local Extension faculty and staff assembled to address an applied research project.

Project Based

The Hot Shot model makes an important distinction between projects and programs.  Simply put, projects include the following criteria:

  • Time bound – usually lasting 2 years or less, with a clear start and end date.
  • Defined deliverables, usually including a project report.
  • Defined budget that is full-cost recovery – we expect to collect full facilities and administrative costs (F&A) (aka indirect costs and overhead) on projects along with billing for wage and benefits for allocated staff time.
  • Staffing (including Hot Shots) is assembled for the duration of the project, and disbanded after the project is completed.

In contrast, programs imply long-term duration with dedicated staffing and consistent programs or activities, such as Extension legacy programs 4-H and Master Gardeners.

What are the benefits?

The Hot Shot model helps local Extension offices and county-based faculty by:

  • Increasing the capacity of your local Extension office(s) to serve your county in new areas or with additional expertise.
  • Acting as a jumping off point for long-term programming: Projects can turn into long-term programs delivered out of your local Extension office.
  • Helping you build multidisciplinary teams and engage in new funding opportunities: bringing new money to your office while demonstrating a positive ROI from local funders.
  • Ensuring that your Extension program remains relevant to your state’s metropolitan elected officials, businesses, non-profits, tribes and community leaders, while contributing to the socio-economic well-being of your metropolitan region(s).

The Hot Shot model benefits your university by:

  • Attracting funding from municipalities, federal and state agencies, businesses, and other sources conduit between the University and the community.
  • Supporting, mentoring, or coaching campus based faculty and students in the community engagement process in working with communities to develop solutions and capitalize on opportunities.
  • Providing campus-based faculty with a means to further their research and engagement interests in metropolitan issues, along with community based engagement opportunities for their students.
  • Supporting transdisciplinary applied research, extension, and extramural fund development for faculty from different departments and colleges.

Contracts and Fiscal Items

The WCMER (via host institution Washington State University [WSU]) establishes contracts with Hot Shots, either as independent contractors or through contracts with their home institutions. On the behalf of WCMER, WSU then sub-contracts with the local Extension program where the project is taking place. This allows the local Extension program to have a single sub-contract with WSU, even if multiple Hot Shots are used on the project.  If amenable to both parties, WSU will develop Master Agreements with institutions so work orders (scopes of work and budgets) can be developed quickly. Contracting universities will receive their full federally-negotiated F&A rates (as allowed by sponsors) and all prime contract requirements will be passed through to sub-contracted institutions.

Person writing