NOAA -- Competition for a Cooperative Institute for Satellite Earth System Studies

Funding Agency:
Department of Commerce

The NOAA National Environmental Satellite Data and Information Service (NESDIS) invites applications for the establishment of a new Cooperative Institute (CI) for Satellite Earth System Studies. This new CI shall undertake a wide range of NOAA activities, primarily supporting the following NOAA Line Offices and Program Offices: the NESDIS Center for Satellite Applications and Research (STAR) and National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI); the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research’s (OAR) Air Resources Laboratory and Climate Program Office; the National Weather Service (NWS); and the National Marine Fisheries Services (NMFS).

The new CI will primarily support the NESDIS mission of providing secure and timely access to global environmental data and information from satellites and other sources in order to promote and protect the Nation’s security, environment, economy, and quality of life. This will be accomplished by assisting the NOAA science enterprise in transforming the ‘bits and bytes” received from satellites and other sources around the globe into information about the environment. The new CI must possess the breadth of expertise and resources necessary to conduct research and development activities that span sensor calibration to product validation, and application development to enable the transfer and visualization of information.

The new CI must be proficient in acquiring, analyzing, storing, disseminating and applying environmental data, both remotely-sensed and in situ, for a variety of Earth system related disciplines in order to observe, monitor and model the earth as a system of integrate processes. The focus will be primarily on activities with spatial scales ranging from regional to global and time scales spanning from weeks to decades. The institute must possess expertise and resources necessary to develop and evaluate complex algorithms, products and models that exploit both satellite and in situ measurements in order to provide information on the atmosphere, land, ocean, biosphere and anthroposphere. Activities will include, but are not limited to, the calibration of satellite measurements, validation of derived products, and the development of new techniques to merge satellite data with in situ observations in order to create consistent and accurate climatologies and time-series. The CI will also need to perform activities centered on topics related to the Earth system that predominantly incorporate satellite observations and climatologies, such as atmospheric chemistry, end-to-end water cycle prediction, and seasonal to decadal forecasts. Finally, the new CI will need to engage in a number of data stewardship activities for data sets developed and maintained by NOAA, including storage, access and dissemination of experimental and demonstration data sets to the community, and advanced visualization techniques. 

The proposed CI can be comprised of a single academic institution that offers accredited graduate level degree-granting programs in NOAA-related sciences or a consortium of academic institutions with the aforementioned programs and their supporting research affiliates. Each proposing entity must have strong programs in support of at least one of the identified research areas. The CI would be expected to develop and implement mechanisms to facilitate collaborative research, education, and outreach with NOAA (e.g., post-doctoral appointments, graduate research assistantships and research appointments). 

 To strengthen the interaction between NOAA and CI scientists, students and postdocs, the CI should be located close enough to the offices of NOAA/NESDIS, OAR, NWS and NMFS in the Maryland/Washington, DC and Asheville, NC areas to allow them to meet and work together on a routine (weekly) basis. On-site CI administrators in both locations would be highly advantageous. 

Deadline: Jan. 31, 2019

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 $20M - $40M 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





Curriculum Development
Engineering and Physical Sciences
Environmental & Life Sciences

External Deadline

January 31, 2019