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Eligibility and Application Questions

  1. Is there a specific number of years after a terminal degree that would exclude a prospective applicant?

    • No. However, applicants must be pre-tenure, or pre-tenure equivalent.
  2. Are international graduate students on a Student Visa eligible to participate?

    • Yes

  3. Are international faculty with visas eligible to apply?

    • It depends.

    • If prospective faculty applicants cannot directly accept a summer honorarium and housing allowance (e.g. H1B Visa holders), they are not eligible.  However, there may be other ways in which faculty visa holders are able to participate in the Innovators Program through short term visits. Please email us at to learn more.

    • Faculty visa holders who can accept a large honorarium and housing costs may be eligible. However, to be considered for the Innovators program the prospective applicant’s sponsoring university must provide with a signed document saying the visa holder can accept an honorarium directly and are allowed to participate in the Innovators Program under the terms of their visa

  4. Are non-tenure track or research faculty eligible to apply?

    • It depends.

    • Please see our eligibility criteria for tenure-track equivalency and contact us at with any remaining questions or concerns.

    • NOTE: Non-tenure-track faculty must submit a departmental letter that affirms that the investigator's appointment is at an early-career level equivalent to pre-tenure status, pursuant to the additional eligibility criteria. Further, for non-tenure-track faculty, the departmental letter must demonstrate how the faculty member satisfies all the requirements of tenure-track equivalency as defined in the eligibility criteria.

  5. Will the Innovator Program support a research project with its geographic focus outside the United States?

    • Yes, we are accepting applications/proposals with a geographical focus outside of the US as long as the methods, outcomes or lessons learned are transferable to US coastlines as well. Be sure to describe how they will transfer in your Project Description.

  6. Do prospective applicants need to establish a collaboration with an NCAR scientist or lab to write the Project Description and apply?

    • No, a collaboration between NCAR and the prospective faculty applicant is not necessary at the application step. While connecting with NCAR programs or scientists in advance of the proposal submission may help with developing your proposed research, it is not a requirement for the application step. For the application, we do request that prospective applicants broadly identify (i.e. in the Project Description) which NCAR labs, NCAR tools, or NCAR personnel may help you achieve your proposed objectives.

    • Once early career faculty are selected, Innovator Program staff will ensure that the faculty fellows are connected to the appropriate NCAR labs, personnel, and resources.

  7. Are faculty and graduate students required to live in Boulder during the summer sabbaticals?

    • Faculty and graduate students must be able to live in Boulder, CO for most of the summer to foster collaborations with other cohort members and NCAR scientists. For faculty and graduate students with special circumstances, some funding is available for them to travel home once each summer. We encourage faculty and graduate students to bring their families to Boulder, if possible.

    • Prior commitments to summer conferences will not exclude faculty from consideration.

    • It is also acceptable for faculty to travel away from Boulder, CO for summer field work as long as that field work was part of the proposed research in the application, and as long as they are able to spend a significant portion in residence at NCAR.

  8. Do graduate students have to be at the same university as the faculty applicant?

    • Yes

  9. Do faculty have to be the primary advisor to the graduate student they nominate for the Innovators Program?

    • Yes

Honorarium and housing stipend Questions

  1. Can faculty summer honorarium be given to or used to employ an additional graduate student?

    • No

  2. Can faculty decline the summer honorarium?

    • Yes, if you have 12 months funding, you can decline the honorarium.

  3. Do graduate students and faculty receive a summer housing allowance?

    • Yes.  The Housing Allowance will not be taxable as long as you are maintaining a separate household in your home area.  

  4. During what time period are graduate students paid?

    • The Innovators Program intends to fund two years of tuition, research stipend, benefits, plus housing allowance for two summers in Boulder.

  5. During what time period are faculty given a summer honorarium?
    • Three summer months each year, for two years

  6. How are the summer honoraria and housing allowances distributed to faculty?

    • Summer honoraria are paid directly to the faculty. The amount of the honorarium will be based on the faculty's current monthly university income. NCAR will not withhold taxes on the honorariums because selected faculty are not considered an NCAR employee. However, honorariums are taxable and should be reported to the IRS on a 1099 Form.

    • Housing Allowances are paid monthly by direct deposit to the faculty.

  7. How are graduate students paid?

    • Funds are given to the graduate student’s university. The university will then distribute funds to the graduate student.

    • Housing Allowances are paid monthly by direct deposit to the student.