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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. The following science areas are of particular interest:

  1. Research to support air quality management and water, energy, and food security
  2. Research to reduce damage and disruption to critical infrastructure from weather and space weather hazards
  3. Research to advance predictive science and technology for weather and hydrology
  4. Research to advance development and analysis of climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies. 

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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:Mentoring and Collaboration

  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.