Competition for a Cooperative Institute for Modeling the Earth System

Funding Agency:
Department of Commerce


 The NOAA Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) invites applications for the establishment of a Cooperative Institute (CI) for Modeling the Earth System. This new cooperative institute supports the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) as it works toward advancing NOAA’s ability to understand and predict variations and changes in weather, climate, oceans and coastal systems on a spectrum of timescales, through advanced numerical modeling of the Earth System’s physical, dynamical, chemical, biogeochemical, and ecological processes. The scope of the new Cooperative Institute incorporates explicitly the consideration of the unforced variability of the Earth System, natural and anthropogenic forcings that include regional contributions and feedbacks, which together govern the response and temporal evolution of the Earth system (IPCC, 2001, 2013). 

Current state-of-the-art coupled climate models used to forecast weather-to-climate conditions particularly from subseasonal to seasonal to interannual to decadal and longer timescales must be improved dramatically. Fundamental research is needed to improve the representation of many processes and interactions of importance if these models are to fulfill their promise of advancing the scientific understanding and prediction and addressing NOAA’s goals. Consistent with the National Research Council, “A National Strategy for Advancing Climate Modeling” (2012) recommendation of a focus on advancing climate modeling across the continuum of time scales from weather-to-climate, this new Cooperative Institute is expected to conduct research and modeling across the continuum extending from the weather all the way to multidecadal timescales, covering processes, phenomena, variations, changes, and extremes. In the context of whole Earth System science and applications, it is imperative that this new Cooperative Institute address global-to-regional climate variations and changes affecting the world’s terrestrial and oceanic ecosystems and biogeochemical cycles and, equally importantly, how ecosystems, in turn, can affect climate change. The Cooperative Institute must possess a vigorous Earth System modeling capability that is rooted in fundamental physics, dynamics, chemistry and biogeochemistry, and ecological principles, taking advantage of the various climate observing programs of NOAA and the nation, and leading to successfully addressing the NOAA mission objectives as identified in its “Next Generation Strategic Plan” (NGSP, December 2010, see: 

Deadline: Feb. 16, 2018

Agency Website

Eligibility Requirements

Eligibility is limited to non-Federal public and private non-profit universities, colleges and research institutions that offer accredited graduate-level degree-granting programs in NOAA-related sciences.

Amount Description

All funding is contingent upon the availability of Federal appropriations. NOAA anticipates that up to approximately $8M-$10M will be available annually for this CI. The actual annual funding that the CI receives may be less than the anticipated amount and will depend on the actual projects that are approved by NOAA after the main CI award begins, the availability of funding, the quality of the research, the satisfactory progress in achieving the stated goals described in project proposals, and continued relevance to program objectives.

Funding Type





Engineering and Physical Sciences
Environmental & Life Sciences

External Deadline

February 16, 2018