UCAR 2000 October Meetings

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UCAR President's Annual Report to the Board, Members, University Relations Committee, and Academic Affiliates
October 2000

Balloon to launch Bubble and Balloon Festival
A huge balloon is poised to launch the Bubble and Balloon Festival on 18 June, honoring UCAR and NCAR's 40th Anniversary.


Ladies and Gentlemen:
This report covers some of the highlights of UCAR's corporate activities since the October 1999 meetings. It covers an exciting time in UCAR's history -- UCAR and NCAR's 40th anniversary, HAO's 60th anniversary and NSF's 50th anniversary. It has been a year of celebration, reflection and looking toward the future. Tim Killeen and Jack Fellows provide summaries of NCAR and UCAR Office of Programs (UOP) activities over this period at:

Killeen's report: http://www.ncar.ucar.edu/Board/Oct00.html
Fellows' report: http://www.uop.ucar.edu/botoct00

In addition, I refer you to the February 2000 reports from Bob Serafin, Jack, and me to the Trustees. These reports contain additional information about UCAR, NCAR and UOP during the past year and may be found at:

Anthes' report http://www.ucar.edu/governance/meetings/feb00/pres.html
Serafin's report http://www.ncar.ucar.edu/Board/feb00NCAR.html
Fellows' report http://www.uop.ucar.edu/botfeb00.html

My major activity over the past year has been the search for a new NCAR Director. In July 1999, shortly after the announcement by Bob Serafin that he intended to step down as NCAR Director, I appointed a Search Committee chaired by NCAR Senior Scientist Joe Klemp. Other members of the Search Committee included Dave Burridge, Edna Comedy, Len Fisk, Michael Knölker, and Paola Rizzoli. Details of the search and selection process may be found in my February report to the Trustees.

Following the approval of both the UCAR Board of Trustees and the National Science Foundation, I appointed Tim Killeen on 16 February 2000, and he officially joined NCAR on 1 July. Tim was born in Cardiff, United Kingdom and is a citizen of the United States. He received a B.Sc. (first-class honors) in Physics and a Ph.D. in Atomic and Molecular Physics from University College London. Killeen joined NCAR from the University of Michigan, where he was a Professor of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences as well as Associate Vice-President for Research. He also served as Director of the Space Physics Research Laboratory and was Director of the Global Change Laboratory at Michigan.

Tim Killeen and Rita Colwell

NCAR Director Designate Tim Killeen and NSF Director Rita Colwell at the Bubble and Balloon Festival, celebrating UCAR and NCAR's 40th Anniversary and NSF's 50th Anniversary on
18 June 2000.

Tim has authored or co-authored over 100 scientific publications in refereed journals. He currently serves as President of the Space Physics and Aeronomy Section of the American Geophysical Union and is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics. He has been honored with both the Excellence in Teaching and the Excellence in Research awards from the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan as well as two NASA Achievement Awards.

Tim has been a frequent scientific visitor to NCAR and has served on a number of NCAR and UCAR visiting and advisory committees. He is continuing his research interests as NCAR Director, in collaboration with NCAR's High Altitude Observatory (HAO). He is currently a Principal Investigator and instrument developer on the NASA TIMED space-borne Doppler Interferometer (TIDI) investigation. Killeen is a past chair of the Science Steering Committee of the NSF Coupling, Energetics and Dynamics of Atmospheric Regions Program (CEDAR). Killeen also has distinguished himself in the area of education reform and was the Principal Investigator of the NSF-funded Institution-Wide Reform of Undergraduate Education Program at the University of Michigan, as well as the founding Director of the Research Experiences for Undergraduates site at Michigan.

In addition to Tim's appointment, we were fortunate to recruit his wife, Dr. Roberta Johnson, who is also a scientist, educator and administrator from the University of Michigan. Roberta joined UCAR as a scientist in HAO for 50% of her appointment and Director of UCAR Outreach and Education for the other 50% of her appointment.

Robert Johnson Roberta Johnson

Roberta attended the University of California at Los Angeles, where she received her B.S. (cum laude), M.S. and Ph.D. in Geophysics and Space Physics. She was a full Research Professor in the Space Physics Research Laboratory within the Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences Department at the University of Michigan and was Director of the Michigan Space Grant Consortium. Johnson's research interests include observational and theoretical studies of the Earth's upper atmosphere and ionosphere, studies of upper- and lower-thermospheric dynamics and energetics utilizing ground-based radar, optical, and satellite measurements and numerical modeling results. She coordinates the Lower Thermospheric Coupling Study (LTCS), a component of the National Science Foundation's Coupling Energetics and Dynamics of Atmospheric Regions (CEDAR) program. She has authored or co-authored over thirty refereed papers.

Roberta was the Principal Investigator on the University of Michigan's Windows to the Universe Project, a primarily NASA-funded project to develop an educational web browser on the Earth and space sciences for the general public. The web site http://www.windows.ucar.edu has won over 50 web awards to date and thousands of web sites from around the world link to it. During the past year, over 2.5 million users have accessed the site. The Windows activity moved to UCAR with Roberta, though collaborations with the University of Michigan and other institutions will continue.

Roberta is a strong atmospheric scientist and will contribute to NCAR/HAO's scientific program. Also, she has a very strong leadership record in education, and UCAR has been considering for some time the need to create a position in UCAR to lead and coordinate UCAR's education activities across the organization, including NCAR and UOP. In fact, this appointment is consistent with the recommendation of both the UCAR and NCAR Education Task Force, chaired by COMET Director Tim Spangler, and an internal panel chaired by Steve Dickson that more recently reviewed UCAR's education, outreach and communication programs.


1.0 UCAR's Corporate Activities

1.1 UCAR and NCAR at 40th Anniversary Celebration

As you know, the annual meeting of the UCAR Members' Representatives in October 1999 kicked off a year of celebration for UCAR and NCAR's 40th anniversary and planning for the future. UCAR management, the Board of Trustees, and the UCAR and NCAR directors used this milestone as an opportunity to reflect upon past achievements and to help set the agenda for the institution well into the 21st century.

The year of celebrations will come to a close on 10 October with a gala reception and banquet for Trustees, Members' Representatives, and special guests. Anniversary events were launched last 12 October with a program entitled, Visualizing Our Planet: Digital Animations on the Big Screen, presented to an overflow audience (approximately 700 people) in the National Institute of Science and Technology auditorium in Boulder.

In February, UCAR's 40th anniversary web site unveiled Web Weather for Kids in time for the AAAS' National Public Science Day. For the University of Colorado's Conference on World Affairs in April, UCAR and NOAA (celebrating its 30th anniversary) teamed to present two panels on space weather and climate change. Panelists were recruited from across the country including Boston University, the World Resources Institute, NASA, the NOAA National Climatic Data Center, and UCLA. The panels were supported by Walter Orr Roberts Institute funds in honor of the 40th. In May, UCAR/NCAR employees enjoyed the 40th anniversary Spring Fling by twisting the night away to 1960's rock and roll hits played by Chucky and the Cyclones.

The major 40th anniversary public event was held in mid-June and was attended by what we think may have been the highest ranking, largest NSF contingent ever to visit Boulder. NSF Director Rita Colwell, Deputy Director Joe Bordogna, and Geosciences Director Margaret Leinen were accompanied by ATM Director Jarvis Moyers and the Head of ATM's UCAR and Lower Atmospheric Facilities Oversight Section Cliff Jacobs for several days of celebration that focused on NSF's 50th anniversary as well NCAR's and UCAR's 40th. Dozens of NCAR, UCAR and UOP staff members participated in special sessions arranged to showcase our facilities and inform the NSF visitors of our scientific, training and educational programs. On 18 June, the Bubble and Balloon Festival attracted over 5,000 visitors (many of them under the age of four!) from neighboring Front Range communities. That afternoon, Colwell and the Boulder City Manager, Ron Secrist, cut the ribbon to officially open Atmospheric Odyssey, our new 40th anniversary atmospheric sciences exhibit. (During the year, considerable corporate funding was raised to expand the scope of the exhibit.) The Mesa Lab halls resounded as the Boulder Brass played the Fanfare for NCAR. Following the Trustees' meeting the next day, Colwell gave a UCAR-sponsored public talk at the University of Colorado about the NSF's research expeditions in arctic regions.

HAO's 60th anniversary symposium and banquet will be held on 9 October. AeroVironment Chairman, Paul MacCready, will keynote the final NCAR and UCAR anniversary event, the banquet at the Mesa Lab on the evening of 10 October. A retrospective on completed activities and the schedule of upcoming events can be found on UCAR's 40th anniversary web site www.ucar.edu/40th/.

In an effort to make widely available the content of 40th anniversary special lectures and panels, Hill briefings, and future UCAR outreach events, we are establishing the Roberts Forum. The Forum is a web-based collection of recorded events that provide scientific information of great importance to society. The very first Forum efforts are now available on the 40th anniversary web site. By the time of the October meetings, we should have completed a more user-friendly demonstration site that we will use to attempt to raise outside funding to continue this education project for students, the public and policy-makers. The Forum web address is: http://www.ucar.edu/40th/Roberts/index.html.

1.2 Community Survey

As one method of seeking community input into UCAR activities and programs, in May we conducted a survey of over 2000 members of our constituent communities, with emphasis on the universities. We sought quantitative data to assess the quality and number of interactions with UCAR programs and divisions and to understand future needs and expectations from the broad community of member and affiliate universities and colleges, sponsors, facility users, and scientific collaborators and governance participants. The survey also sought to elicit personal views and experience on the broader issues affecting the research community. Some of these issues are:

  • the place of inter- and multi-disciplinary research in a primarily discipline-organized research environment;
  • the need for more and better instrumentation development and education;
  • the sources and use of observational data;
  • data access and management;
  • opinions on how research priorities are, and should be, determined;
  • the appropriate allocation of the nation's research resources among field research, modeling, theory, and laboratory work; and,
  • the quality and quantity of graduate students attracted to the atmospheric and related sciences.

The web-based survey consisted of four parts. Part I asked about the background of the respondent and how he or she had interacted in general with UCAR in the past. Part II asked the respondent to indicate all specific UCAR programs or activities that he or she has had some significant association with over the past 10 years. Part III included questions about challenges, issues and future activities; these were developed based on the UCAR Forum at the October 1999 UCAR Members' Representatives meeting.

Finally, Part IV asked questions about specific divisions or programs within NCAR, the UCAR Office of Programs (UOP) and UCAR activities such as advocacy on behalf of the community. It was tailored to the specific experiences of the respondent (i.e., questions were included only for programs or activities that the respondent had indicated in Part II).

The response of the community was strong, with 599 people responding or 29.2% of the 2048 people asked. Most of the respondents were from universities, and most indicated atmospheric science/meteorology as their primary discipline. However, there was a significant number of respondents from other disciplines such as oceanography, astronomy/solar physics, physics, computer science and geology/geophysics. Many people provided thoughtful comments; these totaled approximately 3000, covering over 250 pages of single-spaced text!

A summary of the responses to the questions asking for quantitative responses is presented at http://www.ucar.edu/may2000survey/PublicResults.html. We assured the respondents that their replies would be kept confidential, thus the statistical results are given without the comments. In general, people wrote of their frustrations with graduate student recruitment, the importance of interdisciplinary efforts and attendant difficulties in funding for such efforts. They wrote about the need for student understanding of observations, data sources and analysis; frustrations with low pay in our field compared to others; the need for experimental science and basic research as well as directed research.

While I realize that every person who looks at these results may arrive at somewhat different conclusions about what they mean, I would like to offer my personal interpretation of some of the results. First, and most important, the high response rate of nearly 30% and the very large number of comments indicate that the community has strong interest in UCAR activities and programs and in the issues raised in the survey. In addition, the results strongly show the interest of the community in a broad UCAR program of science, facilities, education and outreach.

When asked to identify the relationship with UCAR over the past ten years (in Part I), respondents indicated strong participation in all categories. The largest number of responses were in the areas of: (1) user of data sets or data streams, (2) visitor to UCAR, (3) collaborator, (4) user of UCAR software, and (5) user of a community model. The very strong showing of visitors, collaborators and users of UCAR software and community models, which came out ahead of users of UCAR computational and observational facilities (though these were strong as well), indicates to me the importance of having a broad scientific program at the National Center and UCAR Office of Programs as well as first-class community facilities. This community interest in a broad UCAR was confirmed in Part III. When asked what additional or increased areas of service to the community should UCAR consider, there was widespread interest in all of the categories presented. Leading areas were: (1) data sets and data streams, (2) educational and/or training materials, (3) community workshops on topics of interest, (4) provision of real-time data to universities, and (5/6) tied for fifth and sixth place, instrumentation and community models.

The community also indicated a strong interest in participating in UCAR activities. Although strong interest in all areas was indicated, the leading responses included: (1) collaboration with UCAR scientists, educators or other staff; (2) user of community models; (3) UCAR governance activities; (4) participation in UCAR educational activities; and (5) user of UCAR computational facilities.

To very briefly summarize results from other parts of the survey, the community perceives that research priorities are determined more by the needs and priorities of the funding agencies than they should be. It also feels that interdisciplinary research should be increased but that the federal agencies and, to a lesser extent, the academic community are not organized adequately to carry out interdisciplinary research. There is continued concern in the community about the balance of research among observational, theoretical and modeling research. While respondents indicated a significant, and I suspect growing, interaction with the private sector, there is a perception that the quality of these interactions could be improved.

The greatest concern expressed in the survey is the quality of graduate students. This result confirms those of a separate survey conducted by UCAR earlier this year (see next section of my report). The UCAR Trustees have taken a special interest in this issue and will continue to investigate ways to address it by the community.

Finally, the community provided much input into the individual divisions and programs on NCAR and UOP in Part IV of the survey. This input is being considered by the senior management of the divisions and programs as they assess the strengths and weaknesses of their programs and plan for the future.

We express our sincere thanks to the people who participated in the survey. It took longer than we estimated, and we appreciate the time and thought invested by the respondents. The survey results will be useful in the development of a new NCAR strategic plan and a strategic plan for education and outreach as they unfold over this next year.

1.3 Graduate Student Applications and "Recruiting For The Discipline"

During the past year the UCAR Trustees, led by Gabor Vali, Dennis Thomson and David Houghton, have spent considerable time studying an issue regarding a decline in quantity, and possibly quality, of graduate student applications to UCAR universities. My article in the Spring 2000 issue of the UCAR Quarterly introduces this issue and provides some interesting demographics about the atmospheric sciences workforce:

http://www.ucar.edu/communications/quarterly/spring00/president.html

Because of the Board's concerns, UCAR carried out an anonymous survey of all UCAR Members in March. We asked them to provide information over the past five years on the number of graduate student applications, students admitted and students actually entering. In order to get some idea of possible trends in quality, we asked for the mean GRE scores of those students admitted with and without support. Finally, we asked for an assessment, on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being most serious, of the magnitude of the problem.

The response of the UCAR Member institutions was good with 36 institutions out of 63 (57%) providing the requested data. Vali analyzed and interpreted these data and their trends; his report is available at:

http://www-das.uwyo.edu/~vali/grad_stud_recruit.html

Vali analyzed trends for all 36 institutions responding. He also broke down the results by the size of the institution (determined by the number of students entering) according to the 3 largest, 6 large, 8 medium and 19 smallest schools. The most significant results, as discussed in Vali's report, are that there is a significant decline in total applications (8.7% per year), but there is no significant trend in the GRE scores of admitted students. The respondents rated the seriousness of the problem as 3.3 on the scale of 1 to 5, which indicates a moderate concern on the average.

The issue of graduate student recruitment will be discussed in the UCAR 2000 Members' meeting forum and in the AMS-UCAR Heads and Chairs meeting immediately following the October meeting of the UCAR Members' Representatives.

1.4 Data Issues

A number of international and national issues regarding the ownership, use and exchange of scientific data continue to concern the UCAR community. For background on these issues and how they relate to the academic community, please see my October 1999 report at:

http://www.ucar.edu/governance/meetings/oct99/reports/anthes/index.html

Two database bills were introduced in 1999: The Collections of Information Antipiracy Act Judiciary Bill (H.R. 354) and the Consumer and Investor Access to Information Act of 1999 (H.R. 1858). As you may recall, academic institutions are concerned that new database protections would limit access to research information. H.R. 1858 is much more favorable to the academic community than is H.R. 354.

Neither bill made it to the House floor for a vote in 1999 or 2000. While H.R. 354 was at one point ready for House floor action, the Rules Committee was unwilling to move the bill because of the academic community's concerns about some problematic wording. There has been no action on the Senate side.

1.5 Legislation Affecting The Mission of The National Weather Service

This year, the House approved the NOAA Reauthorization Bill, including language directing NOAA not to provide services that can be provided by the private sector. The Senate Commerce Committee passed its version of the NOAA Reauthorization Bill without this provision. Senator Brownback (R-KS) has vowed to offer an amendment on the Senate floor to insert the House provision into the Senate version. It is unlikely that this bill will be brought to the floor during the current session, but this is one of those issues that continues to surface annually, so you can expect to hear about it again next year. Senator Stevens (R-AK), who holds a seat on the Commerce Committee, has made it clear that he will oppose the amendment if and when it is offered. We will continue to work with the Senate Commerce Committee to oppose this provision.

1.6 Budget Doubling Legislation

NSF Doubling Initiative. Senators Chris Bond (R-MO) and Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Chairman and Ranking Minority Member of the VA-HUD Appropriations Subcommittee, circulated a letter to their Senate colleagues promoting doubling the NSF budget over the next five years, which would bring the agency's budget to $8B by FY2006. In order to reach this goal, the NSF budget would need to increase 15% for each of the next five years. As of the beginning of September, the Senate VA-HUD Appropriations Subcommittee had not attempted to draft a bill for FY 2001 because it has so little money with which to work. The House version does not include any attempt to double the NSF budget. Recently, Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS) and Republican Senators Abraham (MI), Inhofe (OK), and Robert Bennett (UT) sent a letter to Appropriations Chair and Ranking Member Ted Stevens (AK) and Robert Byrd (D-WV) urging support for the Bond-Mikulski initiative. This summer UCAR wrote a letter to all Senators endorsing this effort. We will continue to work on this as the Senate prepares to draft their version of the VA-HUD FY 2001 Appropriations Bill.

Doubling R & D Bill - Federal Research Investment Act - S. 296. This bill, which recommends doubling federal basic research funding over 11 years, was passed by the Senate after technical amendments were made by both Senator Frist (R-TN) on the Senate floor and Senator McCain (R-AZ) in the Senate Commerce Committee markup. It was then referred to the House Commerce Committee on 27 July but has not moved because of the opposition for various political reasons by House Science Committee Chairman Sensenbrenner (R-WI). We do not anticipate House action this year, and long-term prospects for this bill do not look good.

1.7 Visa Legislation

The enormous growth in the technology sector of the economy has placed a tremendous strain on the H-1B visa program as dot-com companies seek more high-tech workers. In 2000, the cap on H-1B visas was reached on 21 March, and there have been no new H1-B visas issued since that date. Unfortunately, this is the same visa program used by academic and scientific organizations to employ foreign experts, researchers and professors. The result has been that universities and UCAR have been unable to hire foreign personnel.

This year the House Judiciary Committee approved the Lamar Smith (R-TX) version of H-1B Visa Bill, which raises the cap on the number of visas that can be issued but makes no provision for setting aside visas for the academic community. Several additional bills have been proposed, two of which include special provisions for the academic and research communities to ensure that visas are available. The Dreier-Logren Bill, sponsored by David Dreier (R-CA), who is Chairman of the House Rules Committee, provides 10,000 visas for academic use. The H-1B Visa Bill S-2045 sponsored by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) goes even farther by providing a permanent exemption from the cap for all academic visas.

The House Rules Committee, chaired by David Dreier (R-CA), sponsor of the Dreier-Lofgren Bill, is expected to find a way to pass the Dreier-Lofgren Bill on the House floor without offending Chairman Lamar Smith. The Senate has yet to consider the Hatch bill. The likely outcome this year will be passage of some version of the Hatch bill which may be included in an end-of-session Omnibus Bill. UCAR is writing letters of support and making targeted calls to let key Congressional Members know that either the Hatch or Dreier-Lofgren Bill will be acceptable to our community.

2.0 Education and Outreach Activities

UCAR's educational and outreach mission is to use its unique resources to conduct science education and public information programs dealing with the behavior of the atmosphere and the global environment. These programs are conducted in collaboration with other research and educational institutions including UCAR's member universities, academic and international affiliates, and they leverage scientific research and applications for the benefit of wider audiences. Program elements include teacher training, informal science education, exhibits and tours and a growing program of web-based outreach. Many of these activities address the concern about the declining number of graduate student applications in the atmospheric sciences by bringing the excitement and importance of the discipline to a wide audience of young students.

2.1 Education and Outreach Strategic Planning

Led by Roberta Johnson, UCAR is in the process of developing a comprehensive strategic plan for its education and outreach program. Building on the strong program elements identified below as well as those existing in UOP and NCAR, the plan will identify goals and objectives for achieving a comprehensive education and outreach program that utilizes and leverages the unique resources of UCAR, NCAR and UOP to address national priorities in science education, public literacy and diversity. This effort should be completed by March of 2001.

2.2 Project LEARN

Project LEARN (Laboratory Experience in Atmospheric Research at NCAR) is an NSF-funded enhancement program for fifth- through eighth-grade teachers in rural Colorado. The overall purpose of this four-year project has been to increase teachers' knowledge of and interest in the atmospheric sciences so that they are better prepared to present scientific content to all students in ways that are interactive, relevant and meet the standards of the district, state and nation. During the academic year 1999-2000, LEARN completed its final year of teacher training and conducted training for over 330 teachers in the rural districts. Atmospheric chemistry was the focus of the science content, and activities were drawn from the LEARN teaching module, Ozone in our Atmosphere. Additional training focused on effective uses of the Internet and educational technologies.

LEARN has also received supplemental funding from NSF to develop a science education web site based on the LEARN teaching materials. COMET staff will assist in the web site design and conversion of the LEARN modules to the online format. An additional proposal to expand the LEARN training model is Collaborations Linking Mentors in Atmospheric Science for Teacher Enhancement (CLIMATE). This proposed collaboration between NCAR and universities serving under-represented populations will establish regional atmospheric science education at six academic affiliate institutions. The purpose of the centers is to advance teaching and learning about the atmosphere at the middle school level.

2.3 Environmental Stewardship Awards

Environmental Stewardship Awards, jointly sponsored by NCAR and Boulder's Collage Children's Museum, are funded by the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District. Their purpose is to promote environmental awareness and stewardship among school populations. In 2000, awards were granted to three elementary and three middle schools for environmental projects.

2.4 Informal Science Education

UCAR collaborates with area schools, museums and science centers to conduct education programs for educators, students and the general public. Activities often include jointly-sponsored education programs and consultation on exhibit development. Special events over the past year included:

  • 12 October 1999, Visualizing Our Planet: Digital Animations on the Big Screen was presented to an overflow audience at the National Institute of Science and Technology.
  • A week later, John Firor delivered the second Walter Orr Roberts Distinguished Lecture at the Boulder Public Library, speaking on A View of Grand Canyon to a Vision of Science in the Twenty-first Century.
  • 18 June, Fathers Day, drew over 5,000 families and friends from neighboring Front Range Communities to the Mesa Lab's Bubble and Balloon Festival for fun, science activities and performances of bubble and balloon artists.
  • 19 June Dr. Rita Colwell, Director of the National Science Foundation, gave a public talk at the University of Colorado about NSF's research expeditions in arctic regions.
  • 20 September HAO scientist, Tom Bogdan, will speak at the Boulder Public Library about Living with a Turbulent Sun: The History and Scientific Discoveries of NCAR's High Altitude Observatory.

2.5 Super Science Saturday

Super Science Saturday is a day of activities at NCAR's Mesa Lab designed to promote public science literacy and enrich the science experiences of area students and teachers. Last year's event on 30 October drew a record crowd of more than 2,000 members of the public. With a Halloween theme, NCAR and UOP staff demonstrated "Frighteningly Good Science" including Halloween chemistry. Boulder's Collage Children's Museum, the Wild Bear Nature School, Denver Museum of Natural History, and Science Discovery Program of the University of Colorado hosted activity tables with a "creepy crawly" theme. The NCAR Chromakey exhibit provided visitors the opportunity to perform their own live weathercast on closed-circuit TV. Workshops for kindergarten through eighth-grade students offered ideas and methods for creating meaningful science-fair projects and photography for science. Super Science Saturday was funded by Friends of UCAR and a grant from the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District.

2.6 Exhibits and Tours

The visitor center at NCAR's Mesa Laboratory features exhibits that demonstrate scientific principles underlying the atmospheric sciences and describe research programs at UCAR. Open 365 days a year, the center hosts an estimated 74,000 visits annually for guided and self-guided tours. Students comprised the majority of visitors taking guided tours given in the last year - about 9,600 of the total 12,800. During April, public galleries showcased student art reflecting environmental themes. Other special events included a number of "Days at NCAR" offered as science fair or auction prizes, in-service training for teacher groups, the annual Egg Drop contest, and the Friends of UCAR Junior Scientists' picnic.

The new Science Store opened to the public in June, providing visitors and staff with the opportunity to obtain books including UCAR staff publications, as well as other scientific and educational products related to the atmospheric sciences and UCAR. The goal of the Science Store is to extend and enrich NCAR/UCAR's public and educational outreach efforts. Profits from sales will go to Friends of UCAR to support additional education programs.

UCAR's corporate traveling exhibit highlights the variety and breadth of UCAR programs. During the last year, the exhibit has been displayed at the annual meetings of the AGU, AMS, AAAS and the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA). This exhibit has drawn significant interest in UCAR's education and visitor programs.

2.7 Web Outreach

Web Weather for Kids

A new web site for middle school students based on activities in the LEARN teaching module, Atmospheric Dynamics, features weather forecasting competition and hands-on science inquiry activities about tornadoes, thunderstorms, and lightning. Web Weather for Kids received the Unisys Prize for Online Science Education in a nation-wide competition and has been awarded funding from NSF/GEO to add more information on meteorological principles and develop additional hands-on activities. The web site address is: http://www.ucar.edu/40th/webweather/index.html.

Windows to the Universe

This award-winning web site that spans the Earth and space sciences for students, educators and the general public includes a rich array of images, movies, animations, and data sets that explore the Earth and space sciences and the historical and cultural ties between science, exploration and the human experience. Serving over 3 million users per year, 45% of whom are pre-college students, the Windows to the Universe project has been adopted by thousands of K-12 teachers around the world as a tool for engaging and deepening their students understanding of the Earth and space sciences. With the recent appointment of Roberta Johnson as UCAR Director of Education and Outreach, Windows to the Universe will continue to develop at UCAR, providing a high leverage vehicle for UCAR to share NCAR science advances with a wide audience. The project has recently been awarded continuation funds from NASA, as well as additional targeted support from JPL and NSF. The web site is at: http://www.windows.ucar.edu

2.8 Global Change Instruction Program

The Global Change Instruction Program provides materials on global change topics for undergraduate, survey-level classes. This activity has been funded by NSF EHR, Undergraduate Curriculum Development. The ninth publication in the series, Effects of Changing Climate on Weather and Human Activities by Kevin Trenberth et al. was published by University Science Books in July. Stratospheric Ozone Depletion by Ann Middlebrook and Maggie Tolbert (CU) is due out in September. A video introduction to climate modeling was completed this summer, and we are negotiating a contract with a distributor.


3.0 Corporate Affairs

UCAR Corporate Affairs activities include three components: governance, communications and development and government affairs.

3.1 Corporate Affairs Governance Activities

UCAR Governance office activities include planning, coordination and support for the Board of Trustees and its Committees, the Annual Members' Meeting as well as the meetings of the University Relations Committee, the Membership Committee, and the Nominating Committee. UCAR governance activities undertaken since the October 1999 meeting have been as follows:

The Board of Trustees (Otis Brown, University of Miami, Chairman).

The Board held three regular meetings over the past year: October 1999 in Boulder, February 2000 in Washington D.C and June 2000 in Boulder. The minutes from these meetings are available on the web at:

http://www.ucar.edu/governance/bot/bot_minutes.html

I want to thank Lyn Hutton, Conway Leovy and Maggie Tolbert for their service on the UCAR Board these past years. Lyn and Conway have served two full terms and are not eligible to run this year. Maggie has chosen not to run again because of her heavy schedule. I have enjoyed working with each of them and hope they will stay active in UCAR matters, or at the very least stay in touch with us.

University Relations Committee (Kelvin Droegemeier, University of Oklahoma, Chairman).

The Committee met in Boulder last October immediately following the Members' Meeting. In April, Rich Clark and the faculty of the Meteorology Department at Millersville University in Pennsylvania graciously hosted the URC at their campus. During the upcoming meeting on 11 October, the URC will further discuss its role in strengthening communications between the universities and UCAR and NCAR.

The report on non-NSF funding at NCAR and UOP will be available at the meeting, and the URC report containing summaries of each of their meetings can be found in the meeting materials.

Also, please note that the URC supports liaisons to each of the NCAR divisions. The url to find out more about this activity is:

http://www.ucar.edu/governance/committees/urc/liaisons.html.

For further information on the URC, the Committee web site can be found at:

http://www.ucar.edu/governance/committees/urc/index.html.


The Membership Committee (Mary Jo Richardson, Texas A& M, Chairwoman).

The Committee met in Boulder this past May to review renewal applications from ten Member institutions, three new Member applications and one Academic Affiliate. We are pleased that Arizona State, Howard University and Rutgers have applied for UCAR Membership.

In addition, Dalhousie University was approved as an Academic Affiliate by the Committee in May. We are very pleased that there continues to be interest in this program as well.

The Committee's report can be found at: http://www.ucar.edu/governance/meetings/oct00/membership_report.html.

The Members' Nominating Committee (Paola Rizzoli, MIT, Chairwoman).

The Committee met in May to determine the slate of candidates you will vote on during the election of Trustees and Member Committees. The slates the committee created are a fine set, and I look forward to the Trustee elections and working with the new additions to the Board and Member Committees.

The Nominating Committee Report can be found at: http://www.ucar.edu/governance/meetings/oct00/nom_report/index.html

3.2 Communications

UCAR at 40, a retrospective look at some of UCAR's greatest achievements focusing on the last 15 years, was issued in September. This full-color, 60-page publication features a narrative history, time-lines, and commentary from some of UCAR and NCAR's most eminent collaborators, accompanied by many historical photographs. The graphic design, including original art, points up the artistry inherent in scientific creativity. This document will serve in lieu of the usual Highlights brochure for the next two years.

The 40th anniversary thread has also run through our periodicals this year. The UCAR Quarterly features columns by Richard Reed, Susan Solomon, T.N. Krishnamurti, Robert Rosner and Paul Crutzen describing what NCAR has meant to their careers. In December, Staff Notes became a family album, with formal photographs and informal snapshots of people and programs from the '60s through today.

Our video introduction to NCAR and UCAR, completed in the fall of 1999, received the Award of Distinction from the Communicator Awards program in January. This is a juried awards program and is open to video productions of all kinds.

In Media Relations this year, the topics of greatest interest have been climate change and its relation to weather (particularly the warm winter of 1999-2000 and this summer's droughts); HAO's technique for verifying the existence of planets around stars; aviation safety, particularly RAP's turbulence and icing work; and hurricane forecasting and damages.

STEPS (the Severe Thunderstorm Electrification and Precipitation Study) received a lot of publicity this summer. Following a media day we organized in June, this Kansas-Colorado field study of lightning and low-precipitation storms was featured on ABC's Good Morning America, NBC and ABC nightly news, the BBC, German television, The New York Times, USA Today, the Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, and many regional newspapers and television stations.

ClimateStock (http://www.ucar.edu/communications/climatestock), funded by the EPA, brings video footage on climate issues to weather broadcasters and other television producers. This public service continues to be extremely popular with the media. We issued an updated compilation of the series for Earth Day in April. A final product in the series will be distributed this winter.

3.3 Office of Development and Government Affairs (ODGA)

3.3.1 Congressional Activities

Many of UCAR government affairs activities are accomplished with the extensive involvement and/or guidance of Lewis-Burke Associates in Washington, D.C. April Burke and her staff (Mark Burnham, in particular) provide assistance with and advice concerning UCAR events held in Washington, advocacy strategy, and agency and Hill contacts. They alert us to relevant issues concerning legislation, as well as provide us with analysis of (pending) bills.

Testimony. UCAR provided written testimony on the President's FY 2001 request regarding the budgets of NSF, NASA, NOAA, DOE and the FAA. Both the House and Senate versions of these documents may be found on the web at: http://www.ucar.edu/oga/testimony.html.

Letter Campaign. On behalf of the community, UCAR communicated with Congress via formal correspondence on the following:

  • Proposed FY 2001 budgets allocations/appropriations for NSF, NOAA, NASA, and DOE - letters supporting and commenting on the proposed budgets were sent to all Members of the VA-HUD, Commerce, and Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittees.
  • President's FY 2001 request for NSF - a letter from the UCAR Board of Trustees urging support for the requested 17.3 percent increase was sent to the Congressional Leadership and to all members of the Appropriations Committees and the Budget Committees.
  • Initiative to double NSF's budget -- letters were sent to all Senators asking them to support the Bond/Mikulski initiative that would double NSF's budget in five years.
  • Increased funding for R&D -- letters of appreciation were sent to those Congressional Members who supported increased FY 2001 funding for R&D.
  • Community-relevant legislation - letters were sent concerning H-1B visa legislation, database legislation, and efforts to privatize some National Weather Service services.

Action Alerts. As of the beginning of September, eight Action Alerts had been generated including five to the entire UCAR community and three to UCAR Member Representatives with House or Senate Members on key appropriations or budget committees. The alerts requested that recipients make phone calls or visits or write letters urging their Congressional Members to support the highest possible appropriations budget numbers for science (major focus on NSF, NOAA, NASA) and issues of importance to our community such as increased budget allocations and doubled funding for NSF over the next five years.

Those persons in the community who have either communicated with Members of Congress directly, and/or forwarded the Action Alerts to appropriate colleagues and kindly copied their letters to us include:

Kraig Adler Peter Likins
Ernest Agee Menglin Lin
Syun Akasofu Jim Miller
Alan Anderson Gary Ostrander
Nolan Atkins Len Pietrafesa
Eric Betterton Peter Rabideau
Arthur Few Mary Jo Richardson
William Goldman Claes Rooth
Richard Grotjahn Glenn Shaw
Samuel Gruber Sharon Smith
Bill Gutowski Fred Stafford
Steve Halperin Robert Talbot
Ben Herman Tasos Tsonis
Eugenia Kalnay John Wallace
David Kingsmill Gerry Wilemski
Jordan Konisky Don Wuebbles


We thank these people for their efforts and encourage more of you to join us!

Capitol Hill Briefings. In an effort to continue to spread the word about atmospheric sciences research and issues, UCAR held four Capitol Hill luncheon briefings for Hill staffers. All were sponsored by Congressional Members and were well attended. The House Science Committee has become very involved in helping us to arrange these events, which is a good sign that they are finding the information useful. From comments we have received, we believe that the briefings are succeeding in spreading the word about the community's research. This year's briefing topics and participants included:

The East Coast Storm of 24-25 January: What Happened and What Can be Done to Improve Future Forecasts, Louis Uccellini (NCEP), Lance Bosart (University of Albany, SUNY), Chris Davis (NCAR) and Bob Gall (NCAR)

Aviation Weather Research: What is Being Done to Improve Safety and Reduce Delays, Bruce Carmichael (NCAR), Tom Carney (Purdue), Bruce Landsberg (Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, Air Safety Foundation), Carl Knable (United Airlines)

Burning Clues: The State of Wildfire Research, Terry Clark (NCAR), Don Latham (Forest Service's Fire Behavior Research Unit of the Fire Sciences Laboratory), Janice Coen (NCAR), Larry Radke (NCAR)

Space Weather: Living with a Turbulent Sun, Joan Burkepile (NCAR), Barbara Thompson (NASA), George Siscoe (Boston University)

UCAR also organized a breakfast briefing in Denver for Colorado delegation district directors and staff. Participating institutions included the members of the Colorado Federal Relations Coordinating Council (UCAR, University of Colorado, NOAA, NIST, NREL, Colorado State University, University of Denver, Colorado School of Mines).


Visits to UCAR. Washington visits to UCAR over the past year included:

  • Staffers from the House Science Committee, Technology Subcommittee
  • D.C. staffer from Congressman Mark Udall's office
  • D.C. staffer from Senator Wayne Allard's office
  • Members of the Russian Leadership Program, a Library of Congress initiative
  • NSF contingent including Rita Colwell, Joe Bordogna and Margaret Leinen.

Visits to the Hill. UCAR administration and staff and the Lewis-Burke staff were involved in many visits to the Colorado Delegation, Appropriations Committee staffers, House Science Committee staffers, the Office of Management and Budget, and the Office of Science and Technology Policy. All meetings were focused on the federal R&D budget and issues of critical importance to the atmospheric sciences community including the entire NSF and NOAA budgets, the NOAA non-compete issue, database legislation, and funding for the U.S. Weather Research Program. Our relationship with the Colorado Delegation has become very productive, and staff in the Udall, Campbell and Allard offices have been very active on our behalf.

Events/Meetings:

  • UCAR participated in the annual Coalition for National Science Funding (CNSF) Exhibit and Reception for Members of Congress and staff on the Hill. NSF-sponsored programs and projects were highlighted.
  • UCAR participated in the first Natural Hazards Caucus Forum and reception for Members of Congress. UCAR is a member of this new caucus that addresses how the social and environmental costs of natural hazards might be reduced.

Publications. UCAR produced a number of government affairs-related communication tools throughout the year including:

Washington Updates. These are distributed periodically to the UCAR community by ODGA via e-mail. Updates provide information on appropriations activities as well as updates on relevant bills and initiatives.

Science Briefs. This quarterly publication highlights atmospheric sciences research and its relevance to society. It is sent by ODGA to over 1,000 congressional members, staffers, agencies and briefing attendees.

OGA Web Page. This site includes current federal budget information and may be found at: http://www.ucar.edu/oga/index.html. This year, UCAR Trustee, David Skaggs, a former U.S. Representative from Colorado, was kind enough to record for the site a message on how best to communicate with congressional representatives. The message is available at: http://www.ucar.edu/oga/skaggs_video.html. Also new this year is a UCAR Federal Relations document addressing advocacy activity procedures and priorities. It may be found at: http://www.ucar.edu/oga/oga_priorities.html.

Why Should You Care About Weather and Climate? Good or Bad: Weather and Climate Cost Our Society! This was a joint UCAR/AMS document distributed to the campaign directors for presidential candidates (before the field narrowed). The document may be found at: http://www.ucar.edu/oga/awareness_2000.html.

3.3.2 Friends of UCAR

The Friends of UCAR 40th anniversary fund drive raised approximately $10,000. The funds were used to support Super Science Saturday, the Mesa Lab Student Art Showcase, the Junior Scientists program (which included a tour of the C-130 aircraft), and expansion of Web Weather for Kids. Many thanks to those of you who have joined Friends. Contributions from Trustees, Members Representatives, Academic Affiliates, staff and others are most welcome as we start our FY 2001 campaign. A brochure for Friends of UCAR can be found at: http://www.ucar.edu/friends/ and will be available at the October meetings.


4.0 Finance and Administration

4.1 Boulder Research and Administration Network (BRAN)

As discussed in my February report, the BRAN is an 11-mile fiber optic network that runs through the City of Boulder, linking several major research facilities. Construction, operation and maintenance of the BRAN is accomplished through a unique partnership between the City of Boulder, the University of Colorado-Boulder, the Department of Commerce Boulder Labs and UCAR.

BRAN construction is complete and became operational in May; a map and further information may be found at: http://www.branfiber.net.

4.2 Workforce Diversity

Many efforts are underway to address the need for increased and sustained diversity in our scientific and technical workforce. We commissioned a review by the Committee on the Status of Women in Science (CSWS) of the American Physical Society, and that review was conducted on site in July 2000. The Committee also distributed a survey to a subset of UCAR staff. The final report is in preparation, and we look forward to receiving it.

We also commissioned an internal Diversity Task Force. This group has just completed two out of three of its planned reports. The two completed reports, with recommendations on recruiting and mentoring, were accepted in principle by the President's Council, and implementation is underway. The third, workplace environment, is in process.

4.3 Mesa Lab Refurbishment

ML Tree Plaza Reconstruction of Tree Plaza
Photo on left shows Tree Plaza before construction began in July.
Photo on right shows construction underway.

The reconstruction of the Tree Plaza began in July. The new design is intended to be more inviting than the previous design and will include grassy areas as well as new trees. Refurbishment activities next year will include the main drive and entrance to the Mesa Lab. We recognize that there has been and will continue to be considerable disturbance to our employees and visitors, but we think the end result will make it all worthwhile!

4.4 Finance and Administration Move

Programmatic increases required that roughly half of the Finance and Administration employees move out of the Foothills Lab. Temporary space at below-market rates was found on Pearl Street just off the Foothills Parkway; the location makes it easily accessible for the shuttles to service. It is clear that we have and will continue to outgrow our existing space; this fall we will conduct a requirements study to look at the need for and feasibility of constructing a new building on the Foothills Campus.

4.5 Business Continuity Plan

Due to staff turnover, the Business Continuity Plan was significantly delayed. We are now back on track and expect the plan to be completed by the end of March 2001. The Business Continuity Plan will address procedures for continuing critical operations in the event of a small or large disaster.

4.6 Automated Processes

We are increasing our efforts to make extensive use of the web to automate our processes to improve efficiency and accuracy. This year, we rolled out an automated timecard system that has significantly reduced the effort involved in timekeeping and payroll. We also developed a web-based contribution form for our annual charity campaign. This will decrease our processing time and also help the charities our staff supports (United Way and Community Shares, specifically) since we will be able to transmit data to them electronically.

4.7 Debt Service

In late July we closed on a Debt Service Forward Supply Agreement which, in essence, allows people in the financial markets to have the use of our money to make money for themselves. In return, they pay us for the use of the money. The agreement reached paid us $475,900, considerably more than our initial estimate of $411,000.


5.0 Significant Opportunities in Atmospheric Research and Science (SOARS)

Summer 2000 SOARS Protégés Summer 2000 SOARS Protégés in front of the Mesa Laboratory in June.

SOARS, (http://www.ucar.edu/soars) an education and outreach program, was implemented to create a four-year pipeline to bring students from groups that are historically under-represented in science into careers in the atmospheric and related sciences including engineering, mathematics and social sciences. The goal of the SOARS program is to significantly increase the number of African American, Native American, Chicano, Hispanic and Latino American and women students into graduate programs in the atmospheric and related sciences.

SOARS provides a unique science education and research learning community developed to support, teach, and guide college and university students from diverse backgrounds. Students, termed protégés, are provided opportunities to be "scientists" (i.e., members of local and national communities of scientists as well as "researchers"). Protégés benefit from multi-year support during their critical junior and senior undergraduate years through the completion of a two-year graduate degree.

The ten-week multiple summer immersion experience in world-class research environments is a critical SOARS program component. Each summer, protégés conduct a ten-week research project and participate in an eight-week scientific writing and communication workshop. Research projects for protégés stem from their science research mentor's ongoing research programs. Protégés define their individual research project, conduct research, write a formal research report and present their research results at a SOARS-sponsored colloquium. Their research reports may result in publishable papers and/or conference presentations.

Protégés also participate in workshops on cultural, ethnic and gender diversity; take part in seminars with peers and scientists; and receive counseling and guidance on graduate education programs and the graduate school application process. Protégés receive a competitive stipend, housing, local transportation and round-trip airfare to attend the summer program.

During the academic year, SOARS protégés benefit from continued correspondence with their mentors, maintain contact with their peers, and receive financial support to present their summer research at regional, national and international conferences. Protégés also receive information about education and career opportunities, counseling and guidance on the graduate school application process and may receive financial support for graduate school.

1996-2000 Program Results. From the first summer program in 1996 through FY 2000, a total of 51 protégés have participated in SOARS. Participants' ethnicity and gender are outlined in Table 1. Twenty-seven protégés have received bachelor's degrees in an atmospheric or related science. Six of these have completed their master's degrees and are SOARS alumni. Five alumni have entered the professional scientific workforce; a sixth is enrolled in a Ph.D. meteorology program. This fall, 17 SOARS protégés are enrolled in graduate programs in the atmospheric and related sciences. Two are on schedule to receive their master's degrees in winter 2000, two others are AMS Graduate Fellows and one other has passed her qualifying exams and is now pursuing her Ph.D. in computational and applied mathematics. No SOARS protégé, including the nine who left SOARS without completing the program, has withdrawn from college or university without having completed an undergraduate degree with a major in an atmospheric or related science.

Table 1
Protégé ethnicity and gender, 1996-2000
Ethnicity and gender
Number of protégés
% of protégé population
African American
14
35%
Native American
7
18%
Asian American
1
3%
European American
4
10%
Hispanic/Latino American
13
33%
Female
27
69%
Male
12
31%

Graduate schools report that SOARS protégés are well prepared. For example, Colorado State University Associate Professor and Graduate Student Counselor for the Atmospheric Science Department, Jeff Collett, wrote:

"SOARS protégés, applying to CSU's graduate program in atmospheric science, compete quite effectively with a large pool of outstanding applicants from around the country and abroad for admission to the master's program. The research experience gained by SOARS protégés, as a result of their participation in the SOARS summer program, makes them particularly strong candidates for appointment as graduate research assistants."

Summer 2000 Program Highlights. This summer, 23 students from colleges and universities across the U.S. and Puerto Rico participated in the ten-week internship program component.

Summer 2000 SOARS Protégés

2000 SOARS Protégés: Front row, left to right: Jamila Greene, Bernice Rosenzweig, Amanda Szymczak, Waleska Rivera Ríos, Andrew Church, Shaan Bliss. Back row, left to right: Yarice Rodriguez, Summer Sands, Monica Rivera, Kevin Green, Aisha Reed, Brandeis Hill, Brad Navarro, Theresa Johnson, Jonathan Vigh, Maribel Martinez, Preston Heard, Rynda Hudman, Sharon Pérez Suárez, Sarah Tessendorf, Yasmin Rodriguez, Lorenza Levy, Darilis Suárez González. (Photo by Carlye Calvin.)


Each protégé participated in an ongoing research project and presented their research reports at the Summer 2000 SOARS Protégé Colloquium. Protégés also took part in a three-day leadership training program and an eight-week scientific writing and communication workshop. All 23 protégés were paired with science or technical research and scientific writing mentors. First- and second-year protégés were paired with community mentors. All returning protégés served as peer mentors. All mentors participated in an orientation program that included a three-hour workshop on the mentor-protégé relationship. Along with conveying technical knowledge, mentors helped protégés make a smooth transition into the UCAR and Boulder communities. The names of the protégés, their mentors and their research projects are listed at: http://www.ucar.edu/soars/researchtopics2000.html.

Several protégés have or will be presenting their summer research results at student or professional conferences. In August, second-year protégé Rynda Hudman, with her science research mentor Mary Barth, presented her research findings at the WMO 5th International Cloud Modeling Workshop. Sarah Tessendorf, second-year protégé, presented her research at the AMS 20th Conference on Severe Local Storms, chaired by her science research mentor Jeff Trapp. Preston Heard, a fourth-year protégé, will present a poster of his research at the January 2001 AMS Annual Meeting. In addition, first-year protégés Yarice Rodriguez, Summer Sands and Darilis Suárez González, along with second-year protégé Theresa Johnson, will present posters of their research at the 2000 Meeting for Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science. Several others are awaiting decisions on abstracts that they have submitted to meetings and conferences. A complete list of protégé publications and presentations is available upon request.

Impact of SOARS on the Scientific Community: SOARS sponsorship is increasing the presence of ethnically-diverse groups and women within the atmospheric and related sciences. During the past five years, SOARS protégés have participated in scientific conferences and co-authored papers published in peer-reviewed journals. Protégés who have completed their master's degrees are now in the professional scientific workforce in atmospheric and related science positions.

An immediate impact of SOARS is that UCAR is becoming a much more diverse research center. SOARS mentors have many opportunities to learn about the diverse backgrounds and life experiences that these young protégés are bringing to their science careers. HAO Scientist and SOARS Steering Committee Member, Maura Hagan, finds the immediate side effects of the SOARS program to be of equal importance to the long-term objective of placing protégés in careers in the atmospheric and related sciences. In an interview for the SOARS Newsletter, she said, "The protégés broaden the perspective of NCAR scientists. For me, this program is as much for the present as it is for the future."

Through their interviews in the recently completed High Hopes: Careers in the Atmospheric Sciences video sponsored by NSF, the experiences of SOARS protégés may encourage younger students from groups historically under-represented in science to think about careers in the atmospheric sciences. The High Hopes video will be used in middle and high school classrooms to encourage students to consider advanced studies in the atmospheric sciences.

SOARS Sponsors. SOARS was launched in 1995 with support from UCAR, NSF, and the university community. Forty universities have committed in writing to participate (Table 2). Since 1996, DOE-ESD, NASA and NOAA have joined as sponsors. Proposals for continued multi-year funding for SOARS were recently submitted to NSF and DOE. Early indications suggest favorable reviews.

Table 2
SOARS Participating Universities
40 Universities - September 2000

Colorado State University
University of California at Irvine
Cornell University
University of California at Los Angeles
Dartmouth College
University of California at San Diego, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Drexel University
University of Colorado at Boulder
Florida State University
University of Hawaii
Georgia Institute of Technology
University of Illinois/Urbana Champaign
Iowa State University
University of Iowa
Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
University of Miami
Michigan Technological University
University of Michigan
New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology
University of Missouri at Columbia
North Carolina State University
University of Nebraska at Lincoln
Old Dominion University
University of Nevada at Reno
Oregon State University
University of Oklahoma
Pennsylvania State University
University of Rhode Island
Purdue University
University of Texas
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
University of Utah
Stanford University
University of Washington
University of Alabama at Huntsville
University of Wisconsin at Madison
University of Alaska at Fairbanks
University of Wyoming
University of Arizona
Washington State University

6.0 Intellectual Property, UCAR Foundation and WITI Corporation

The big news in technology commercialization this year is that the UCAR Foundation sold WITI Corporation, its for-profit subsidiary, to LifeMinders, Inc. Over the past several years, WITI had worked closely with the scientists and engineers in RAP to convert NWS weather information into forecasts tuned to areas as small as a zip code and keyed to specific events. WITI was offering these "personalized forecasts" for more than 120,000 locations within the United States. The company led the way in wireless weather forecasts when it launched its Weather Window service in 1998. Last year WITI expanded its offerings to include two new services: Alert2Go (wireless weather alerts and messaging used by leading radio stations) and NOWAlert (a similar service for television stations). At the time of the sale, radio and television stations offering WITI products served more than 10 million viewers and listeners across the country.

LifeMinders is a member-based marketer that sends personalized e-mails each week to more than 19 million LifeMinders.com members. A free service, the company helps its members keep track of various areas of their lives, such as family, entertainment, home, automobiles and personal finance. LifeMinders members had indicated that they also wanted weather information, and LifeMinders was looking at a number of options for on-line and wireless delivery. They chose WITI because it appeared to be the most scalable and robust product.

The UCAR Foundation received cash and stock in the deal. Confidentiality provisions in the sales agreement prevent me from being more specific about the sales price at the present time. Under the terms of the sale, the LifeMinders stock cannot be sold until March 2001, but options and derivatives to hedge against fluctuations in the stock price can be entered into beginning on October 2000. I can tell you that, from the proceeds of the sale, RAP will receive $640,000 over the next three years. This represents the royalties RAP could have earned under the licensing arrangement that was in place with WITI prior to the sale to LifeMinders.

In other IP/technology commercialization activity, 12 technology disclosures have been made for intellectual property protection, evaluation, and potential commercialization. Since October 1999, two patents have been issued: Enhanced Microburst Detection System by Dave Albo (RAP), and Method and Appartus Using Slant-Path Water Delay Estimates to Correct Global Positioning Satellite Survey Error by Christoper Alper, Christian Rocken, Fred Solheim and Randolph Ware; and one patent application was filed: Recoverable Airborne Instrument Platform by Ken Howard (ATD), Mike Douglas (NSSL), Davis Egle and Dudley Smith (University of Oklahoma).

The UCAR Foundation (UCARF) continues to focus on the commercialization of UCAR technologies through licensing. In FY2000 the UCAR Foundation generated $389,000 in licensing revenue, 90% of which will be returned to the NCAR divisions and UOP programs that developed the technology generating the revenue.

The UCAR Foundation is either actively licensing or seeking licensees for the following technologies:

  • Low-Level Wind-Shear Alert System (LLWAS)
  • LD2 Dropwindsonde
  • GPS Dropwindsonde
  • PC-based Integrated Radar Acquisition System (PIRAQ)
  • Relaxed Eddy Accumulator (REA)
  • WEATHER Software
  • Bistatic Doppler Radar Network (BiNet)
  • Square-Cone Parachute
  • GEMPAK Analysis and Rendering Program (GARP)
  • Self-Guided Recoverable Airborne Instrument Module (a.k.a. Recoverable Dropsonde)
  • Storm Predictability Detector

Information about these and other UCAR technologies that are available for licensing can be found on the UCAR Foundation's web site: http://www.fin.ucar.edu/ip/techtransfer.html.

- END OF REPORT -

 

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