Staff and Visitor Balance (continued)

Postdoctoral Program and Visitors

The Advanced Study Program (ASP) has been extremely successful over the years, extending the education and experience of young scientists just out of graduate school and establishing productive contacts between NCAR and other institutions that go on for many years after the postdoctoral fellow leaves NCAR. Similarly, visitors from universities bring new ideas and perspectives into NCAR, contribute to NCAR projects, and establish long-term relationships between the universities and NCAR. To be most effective, university visitors should spend a significant time (at least six months) at NCAR and then return to active teaching and research at their home institutions.

  1. Increase the total number of postdoctoral appointments immediately by 30% by augmenting ASP and subsequently growing its budget with NCAR NSF base funding.
  2. Hire postgraduate scientists instead of postdocs when the goal is work on a specific project for a limited period of time.  Hiring postgraduate scientists would effectively augment the number of postdocs and be more affordable (from a base-funding perspective).
  3. Increase the number of long-term visitors from universities by about five per year. Improve the definition and tracking of all visitors to NCAR.

Career Advancement

  1. Enable employees to advance their careers through current job duties and/or other opportunities.
  2. Adopt the recommendation for PhD equivalence from the 2002 Dickson study (
    • A master’s degree and experience past the master’s level that has led to published research (which might typically extend over a ten-year period).
    • Thematic development of some area of research to a level comparable to that expected in a PhD research project, or a record of peer-reviewed publications equivalent to that expected of a PhD scientist over a several-year period.
    • Demonstrated expertise and general experience comparable to that expected from PhD coursework.

Relationships with Universities and Other Agencies

  1. Strongly encourage sabbaticals to and from NCAR and develop an appropriate sabbatical policy, including consideration of financial incentives.
  2. Eliminate “safety nets” or extended leaves of absence (more than one year) for people accepting jobs elsewhere.
    These people seldom return, and their leaves create budget uncertainty and lack of flexibility for new hires.

Job Categories

Seek opportunities to simplify or streamline the number of job categories.