The Innovator Program ties directly with NCAR’s efforts to focus on strategic, interdisciplinary projects that span across NCAR’s organizational boundaries, engage collaborators from the community, and foster an inclusive and diverse workforce in atmospheric and related sciences.

The Innovator Program seeks to enhance NCAR’s capacity to partner effectively with external collaborators across the broad spectrum of human dimensions and social science research areas. Consideration will be given to projects that align with NCAR’s Strategic Priorities:

  • Air quality management and water, energy, and food security
  • Reduction of damage and disruption to critical infrastructure from weather and space weather hazards
  • Advancement of predictive science and technology for weather and hydrology
  • Development and analysis of climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies

Specific science areas of interest include:

  • Societal, economic, or infrastructure impacts of space weather
  • Environmental justice research on the effects of climate change, water availability, air quality or weather hazards on marginalized populations
  • Ethical and trustworthy artificial intelligence/machine learning
  • Land use policy and management with regards to urban development, agriculture, conservation, or remediation

The Early Career Faculty Innovator Program is currently accepting Letters of Intent from interested faculty. LOIs are due May 1st, 2022. Solicitation of proposals and subsequent awards are contingent upon funding. For more information visit our FAQ page, and see how to apply on our Eligibility and Application Process page.


Convergence Research at NCAR


Convergence research (as defined by the National Science Foundation, NSF) is a means of solving complex research problems with a focus on societal needs. It entails integrating knowledge, methods, and expertise from different disciplines and forming novel frameworks to catalyze scientific discovery and innovation.

The NSF identifies convergence research as having two primary characteristics:

  1. Research driven by a specific and compelling problem
  2. Deep integration across disciplines

The Innovators Program supports a convergence research paradigm with the specific goal of transforming our understanding of the interactions among natural, human-built, and social systems.


Definitions of Terminology

(defined in the NCAR strategic Plan)

Actionable Science

Provides sound knowledge, information, or technology that is useful either to the scientific community by supporting research or education, or to society by enabling decision making. Actionable science can be fundamental or applied, and can create benefits over the short or long term.


Brings people with multiple kinds of expertise together to form collaborative teams that jointly design and implement scientific or technological efforts.


The collection of individuals and organizations, including NCAR, in the academic, government, private, and

nonprofit sectors that are interested in Earth system science and technology. NCAR convenes, supports, and collaborates with other community members, with a particular focus on academic community members engaged in research and education in atmospheric and related Earth system science.


Organized groups and individuals who are affected by or make decisions about Earth system–related risks and opportunities.

Convergent research

Research that is driven by and addresses a specific, complex, compelling problem, which may arise from deep scientific questions or pressing societal needs. It uses deep integration across disciplines to form novel frameworks and catalyze scientific discovery and innovation.

Earth system science

Science of the atmosphere; connected components of geoscience including the land, ocean, ice and fresh water, geospace, and Sun; and their interactions with ecosystems, people, and the built environment.

Interdisciplinary research

research by teams or individuals that integrates data, techniques, perspectives, concepts, and/or theories from two or more bodies of specialized knowledge to advance fundamental understanding or to solve problems beyond the scope of a single discipline.


members of the community and constituencies with whom we collaborate in specific, explicit ways over time to actualize strategic goals.