Launched in May 2011, the NCAR Distinguished Scholar program offers the highest honors that can be bestowed upon NCAR scientists who are either retired or in a part-time phased-retirement position.

In rare instances, an appointment may also go to a preeminent scientist from another institution who retired from an equivalent position. Each distinguished scholar holds a four-year, renewable term in which she or he may receive non-salary funding (typically about $15,000 to $20,000 per year) to foster collaboration, mentorship, and other activities involving NCAR.