Building Partnerships with University Faculty

Early Career Faculty Innovator Program


Building on the expertise in interdisciplinary and social science research at NCAR, the Early Career Faculty Innovator Program is a new NSF-funded program to support the co-development of interdisciplinary research projects between faculty and NCAR researchers. 

The Innovator program is built around summer sabbaticals for faculty and year-round support for their graduate students, and offers career mentoring and cohort building in addition to the scientific collaborations at NCAR.  A primary goal of the Innovator Program is to address complex research problems by leveraging NCAR expertise and building partnerships with early career faculty. Research themes that align with NSF and NCAR strategic priorities are selected for each cohort. The Innovator program is accompanied by an independent evaluation for the duration of the grant. Formative and summative assessment will inform and improve the structure of the program each year.

Program Objectives:
Address complex research problems by partnering with faculty in STEM and social science fields that complement NCAR’s core programs
In collaboration with NCAR scientists, co-develop interdisciplinary research projects and future funding proposals for sustained partnerships
Rejuvenate NCAR’s scientific and engineering workforce and enhance strategic, interdisciplinary connections with university scientists
Accelerate innovation and discovery in Earth system science and improve the creation and delivery of scientific information that is responsive to societal needs

2019-2020 cohort

2019-2020 cohort

In 2019, the first cohort was recruited through a national competition and six social science and three physical science faculty were selected to work on research related to the cohort theme “Coastal Regions and Human Settlements”.

The nine faculty and their graduate students spent the summer at NCAR, participated in weekly collaborative workshops, professional development seminars and started to get to know NCAR and made connections with researchers.Several participants used the sabbatical to access tutorials and workshop at NCAR, such as the workshop “Envisioning of hurricane storm surge and sea level rise.”