NOAA -- Collaborative Science, Technology, and Applied Research (CSTAR) Program

Funding Agency:
Department of Commerce

Through the Collaborative Science, Technology, and Applied Research (CSTAR) Program, the NWS Office of Science and Technology Integration is soliciting proposals to conduct research and development activities. NOAA/NWS believes its warning and forecast mission will benefit significantly from a strong partnership with outside investigators in the broad academic community. The CSTAR Program represents a NWS effort to create a cost-effective transition from basic and applied research to operations and services through collaborative research between operational forecasters and academic institutions which have expertise in the environmental sciences. These activities will engage university researchers and students in applied research of interest to the operational meteorological community for the provision of improving the accuracy of forecasts and warnings of environmental hazards. This announcement is for research and development topics identified as priorities by the NWS to support field forecasting operations. There is one grant competition under this announcement valued at approximately $600,000 for three to five new projects.

The objective of the Collaborative Science, Technology and Applied Research (CSTAR) Program is to improve the overall forecast and warning capabilities of the operational meteorological community by addressing science and technology research priorities through collaborative research efforts between the National Weather Service (NWS) and academic institutions that have expertise in the environmental sciences. These activities engage university researchers and students in applied research of interest to the operational meteorological community. A goal of this announcement is to foster long-term collaborative interactions between a university and NWS operational offices.

The focus of this funding opportunity is on current science challenges of NWS field offices and NCEP Centers. The research themes of this FFO focus on the application of new science, data, and technologies for the provision of improving the following: i) lead time and accuracy of forecasts and warnings for high impact weather and climate events; and ii) impact-based decision support services (IDSS) and the application and integration of physical and social sciences for improved messaging of weather and climate hazards.

Principal investigators (PIs) should indicate specific collaborative plans for appropriate interactions with personnel at operational NWS units, including Weather Forecast Offices (WFOs), regional NWS offices, and/or NCEP Centers. The focus of the research and development should be on high-impact events, and have long-term potential to be applied on a national scale for operational implementation by NOAA. 


  • Letter of Intent: Sep. 25, 2019
  • Full Applications: Nov. 20, 2019

Agency Website

Areas of Interest

Program Priorities

1. Improving the lead-time and accuracy of forecasts and warnings for high impact weather, water, and climate events. This may include:

a. Utilizing convection-allowing models and storm-scale ensemble systems to advance Warn-on-Forecast (WoF) capabilities.

b. Improving application of Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) information in the forecast and warning process at various time scales.

c. Improving the use of ensemble prediction systems in order to: i) enable more effective forecaster assessment of uncertainty and historical context of potential high impact events; and ii) develop Probabilistic Hazard Information (PHI).

d. Developing improved surface analyses using data fusion to aid in the identification and characterization of high impact events in complex terrain, including rain, snowfall, and terrain-driven wind events.

2. Improving IDSS (Impact-Based Decision Support Services) and the application and integration of physical and social sciences for improved messaging of weather, water, and climate hazards. This may include:

a. Developing innovative methodologies with experienced social scientists to enable better understanding and communication of Probabilistic Hazard Information (PHI).

b. Incorporating social science knowledge and practices to more effectively communicate forecast confidence, uncertainty, and impact-based historical context, and identifying potential improvements to warning systems to make them more effective.

Eligibility Requirements

Eligible applicants are United States institutions of higher education and other nonprofits.

Principal Investigators (PIs) must be a full, assistant, or associate college or university professor with substantial documented involvement in the proposal. In addition, collaboration with PIs at different universities is allowed, but there must be a single application from a lead university with sub-awards to any participants from other institutions. Other arrangements will not be considered. Proposals should clearly state the role of each PI in the project. Federal government employees and federal contractors are not allowed to be listed as PIs or receive funding, although collaboration between the academic community and NOAA within the project is required. While an eligible institution may submit more than one application, the Selecting Official may require that proposals be combined to increase the cost-benefit to the public. Only one proposal per principal investigator or co-principal investigator at a given institution may be funded.



Amount Description

The total funding amount available is estimated to be approximately $600,000 per year. Funding of any proposal is contingent upon the availability of these funds. Individual annual awards are limited to a maximum of $150,000 total per year for no more than three years. It is anticipated that approximately 3-5 awards will be provided.

Funding Type





Engineering and Physical Sciences
Environmental & Life Sciences
Social Sciences

External Deadline

November 20, 2019