Relations Committee Meeting
21-22 April 2004
The University Relations Committee met at Iowa State
University in Ames, Iowa on 21-22 April 2004.
Committee members present were:
John Merrill, University of Rhode Island (Chairman)
Kerry Cook, Cornell University
Efi Foufoula-Georgiou, University of Minnesota
Jim Hansen, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
David Karoly, University of Oklahoma
Arlene Laing, University of South Florida
Michael Morgan, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Ken Pickering, University of Maryland
Gene Takle, Iowa State University
Sepideh Yalda, Millersville University of Pennsylvania
UCAR Trustee Liaison:
Len Pietrafesa, North Carolina State University
UCAR/NCAR resource people:
Mary Barth, Mesoscale and Microscale Meteorology Division
Ginger Caldwell, Scientific Computing Division
Joanne Graham, Unidata
Cliff Jacobs, Head, UCAR & Lower-Atmosphere Facilities
Others present for all or part of the meeting were:
Richard Anthes, President, UCAR
Jack Fellows, Vice President of Corporate Affairs and Director
Susan Friberg, Administrator, UCAR
Tim Killeen, Director, NCAR
Susan Warner, Executive Asst., UCAR
TUESDAY, 15 APRIL
1. Welcome Remarks
Chairman John Merrill convened the meeting. Gene Takle
welcomed the committee to Iowa State University. The agenda
was reviewed and approved by the committee.
2. Opening Remarks
UCAR President Rick Anthes announced URC member
Arlene Laing’s joint appointment to NCAR’s MMM division and
the COMET program, and consequently her resignation from this
committee. He then reviewed the main items on the agenda and
pointed out that a generous amount of time has been set aside
3. October 2003 Meeting Notes
Merrill reviewed the draft notes from the October
2003 meeting. The committee approved the notes with no changes.
4. Review of UOP Non-Core and NCAR Non-NSF Proposals
Merrill, in the absence of Subcommittee Chair
Stephen Monismith, gave the Subcommittee’s report. Thirteen
proposals, from the 32 proposals submitted during the six-month
period July through December 2003, were examined by the subcommittee
(Monismith, Kerry Cook, Everette Joseph, and ex-officio Merrill).
Merrill reported that the reviewed proposals adhered to the
guidelines and recommended approval of the report; approval
of the committee was received.
Merrill then asked for approval to raise the threshold
of reviewed proposals from $50K to $100K. He explained that
during this past review, on a trial basis, only proposals
above $100K were examined. It was pointed out that only 11%
of proposals fell into the range $50K-$100K, a relatively
small number. The committee unanimously approved to raise
the threshold from $50K to $100K.
5. NSF Report
Cliff Jacobs, Head of ATM’s UCAR & Lower-Atmosphere
Facilities Oversight Section, reported on the NSF budgets—level
funding in FY04 and a modest, if any, increase expected for
FY05 and most likely beyond.
Jacobs reviewed NSF’s policy and history on the competition
of management for FFRDCs (Federally Funded Research and Development
Center). FFRDCs, set up in the early 1970s, were organized
as independent entities, working in the public interest and
operating as long-term strategic partners with their sponsoring
government agencies. An FFRDC since the early 1970s, NCAR
has been managed by UCAR since its founding in 1960. Jacobs
pointed out that there are currently 20 plus FFRDCs, of which
five are NSF-sponsored centers, and that they are managed
by various entities—private companies, universities, and consortiums.
Jacobs also explained that the NSF policy is to hold an the
open competition for management of its centers, thus they
will compete the cooperative agreement in the next review
cycle of the management of NCAR.
6. BASC Study and Recompetition
Anthes reported that in May 2003, the National Science
Board (NSB) awarded management of NCAR to UCAR and recommended
NSF initiate a strategic review of mechanisms most appropriate
to move the nation’s science and educational goals forward;
this recommendation resulted in the upcoming BASC (NAS Board
on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate) study.
In preparation for the BASC study and for the upcoming
NSF reviews of NCAR and UCAR, a three-day President’s Council
Retreat was organized in late November 2003 to seriously examine
the strengths and weaknesses of UCAR and NCAR, and to how
best prepare for upcoming scientific and organizational changes.
In response to the discussions at the Retreat, Anthes reported
that NCAR’s reorganization is underway.
In talking about the competition of NCAR’s management,
Anthes said that the Board, the Members, and the URC would
be involved in the preparation work and that, most importantly,
we need to capitalize on our strengths, and to address issues
7. NCAR Reorganization
NCAR Director Tim Killeen
explained that the impetus for the reorganization came from
the last management review and subsequent conversations. He
reported that the goal is to improve collaboration and interdisciplinary
research by creating "leaky" divisional boundaries,
and to carry out current science thrusts more effectively.
He presented the diagram of the five laboratories, and explained
the role of the five laboratory leaders who will be appointed
Associate Directors, and the thematic organization under each
of the labs.
Killeen then discussed new university collaborative
activities at NCAR: the Undergraduate Leadership Workshop,
the revitalization of the Graduate Fellowship Program, UCAR/NCAR
Junior Faculty Forums, a centralized visitor program, among
others. He also added that the majority of NCAR’s peer reviewed
publications are co-authored with university and federal laboratory
colleagues, and are not single-authored papers.
In describing the next steps of the reorganization, Killeen
said that it would be a phased-in approach, going slowly without
making it disruptive. In the discussion that followed, questions
were asked about the new Institute for the Study of Society
and the Environment (ISSE)—a broader program than that of
ESIG (Environmental and Social Impacts Group). David Karoly
commented that communication was rather limited on NCAR’s
reorganization and that university members had little involvement
in this restructuring. Killeen said that hopefully more opportunities
for university participation will develop from this reorganization,
including broader service on advisory committees. In this
vein, Sepi Yalda suggested that URC liaisons become active
members of these advisory committees. Killeen pointed out
that these advisory committees are being upgraded and opportunities
should be available soon.
8. Level of Effort Allocation Study
Anthes reviewed the Level of Effort Allocation Study, an
analysis showing how NCAR and UOP contribute to research,
facilities, education and outreach, and other categories.
Metrics were developed to measure such areas as scientific
productivity and quality, administrative efficiency, and diversity.
Anthes then summarized the results by presenting two matrices—the
first containing percentages of total effort given by NCAR
staff to education & outreach, community facilities, community
support, and research and development; and the second, percentages
of effort allocated to visitors, technology transfer and collaboration.
In review, Anthes said that he thought the exercise useful
and credible—with a plus or minus 5% error factor. Jacobs
also thought that this exercise was extremely useful and added
that it will serve as a metric for the reorganization. In
the discussion that followed, Merrill suggested adding another
category to the metric— writing reviews and letters and serving
on panels, which consumes a huge amount of time for university
faculty. Other differences between universities and a national
center were examined, i.e. teaching and advising is a large
part of faculty’s time while low for NCAR scientist.
9. Panel Discussion
A very stimulating panel of Iowa State faculty, moderated
by Catherine Kling (Department of Economics), discussed biogeosciences
as a basis for policy-making relating to managed landscapes.
10. Members’ Meeting Agenda
The committee discussed the draft agenda of the Members’
meeting that was provided in the meeting materials. In discussing
the theme of the meeting—recompetition, the NCAR reorganization,
and the future of NCAR/UCAR and university partnership—the
committee agreed on the importance of having informed participants
and of motivating the Members to play an active role in these
issues. Suggestions were to set up email discussions prior
to the meeting; a Dear Colleague letter apprising the community
of changes; and/or a web-based meeting to address the community’s
questions and concerns.
After noting that the URC is the primary interface between
the Members and the corporation, Merrill stated his concern
of having panels too specialized or too distant for the majority
of the Members. Another concern of the Members is a potentially
Boulder-centric theme of the Members’ meeting. As an alternative
Merrill suggested inviting university faculty to talk about
their collaboration with NCAR. He stressed that a topic and
a mechanism needs to be found that would engage the largest
number of participants.
Takle asked how to get Members to take ownership of NCAR’s
reorganization; Killeen responded he foresees broader university
involvement in the new initiatives once NCAR itself has had
a chance to re-balance and settle in with the new structure.
At this point, Merrill summarized the comments on the
Members’ agenda: 1) it is too early in the cooperative agreement
cycle to get too deeply engaged in addressing the competition,
2) there is strong interest in having materials and discussions
on the reorganization before the meeting, and 3) we need to
provide more of a science connection.
After the committee questioned if broad topics such as
biogeosciences would be of interest to the Members, it was
pointed out that the younger faculty are more interested in
broader scientific issues than would have been the case 20
years ago, and also that it is the responsibility of scientists
to think of all fields, not just their own areas of expertise.
Anthes expressed surprise that the universities are interested
in the reorganization. Jim Hansen replied that the community
has heard NCAR scientists express concerns with the reorganization,
thereby arousing the community’s interest. Members have expressed
concern that science at NCAR not be de-emphasized. Kerry Cook
said that universities have broader interdisciplinary projects
than NCAR and suggested NCAR have short-term collaborative
visitors from the universities. Discussion followed on the
difficulties faced by early career faculty when working in
an interdisciplinary environment, and in taking on even more
responsibilities. Hansen pointed out that the tenure process
discourages young faculty to pursue different research than
their main topic of research. Also Michael Morgan stated that
young faculty are looking to be lead PI on a proposal and
not just one of many PIs on collaborative proposals.
Merrill turned the discussion back to the Members’ agenda.
Killeen said that he liked the idea of having UCAR-mediated
interactions with the Members’ before their October meeting,
and Merrill proposed either a cyber seminar or an exchange
of emails, under the auspices of the URC. In considering agenda
topics, Anthes said that "the role of a national center"
as a subject for panel discussion was timely in view of the
upcoming BASC study. He also suggested that a report on the
competition issue from NSF’s viewpoint and putting it in the
context of the FFRDC structure would be of interest to the
Members. Morgan brought up the importance of finding engaging
panelists and also suggested that a science component relating
to biogeosciences be included in the Member’s agenda. Other
suggestions included having poster sessions or exhibits on
"new opportunities" and have these presentations
available to the Members during their breakfast, lunch, and
The meeting recessed for a reception
held at the Reiman Gardens on the Iowa State campus.
THURSDAY, 22 April
10. Members’ Meeting Agenda (cont’d)
In recapping yesterday’s discussion of the Members’ meeting
agenda, Merrill said that Jacobs’ report on recompetition
and FFDRCs would be replacing Killeen’s report on reorganization.
The panel, with the topic of The Role of a National Center,
would be moderated by Merrill and would consist of Tim Killeen,
an NCAR scientist, a URC member, an Academic Affiliate member,
and possibly another. Covered in this panel discussion would
be the reorganization and the resulting new opportunities,
and emerging scientific needs. A plenary discussion would
Killeen suggested that posters on each NCAR scientific
initiative and on the reorganization be available during the
afternoon break. Morgan suggested the posters be up before
the meeting convenes and proposed some of the posters be sent
out to the Members as powerpoints, requesting their comments.
Format of the panel along with make-up and number of
panel members was discussed; it was decided that Anthes and
Merrill would fine-tune it at a later date.
In discussing the second day of the agenda, Karoly proposed
adding a report on the International Affiliates Program; the
committee agreed and Karoly was appointed to present the report.
Yalda suggested that the role and purpose of the URC
should be emphasized in the URC Report to the Members; Merrill
Deliberation then continued on the Members’ agenda item,
"Strategic Plans for Community Observational and Computational
Facilities." The committee was comfortable with the suggested
format of this discussion item and agreed with Killeen’s suggestion
that Unidata be included in this discussion.
Merrill concluded the discussion by saying that in the
near future a draft agenda would be sent out to the URC for
their comments. Anthes thanked the committee for their thoughtful
and valuable input.
11. Liaison Reports
Michael Morgan, liaison to Scientific Computing
Division (SCD), reported on the SCD Advisory Panel meeting
held on April 1. Three key topics were discussed: 1) the increasing
security issues and the issuance of crypto cards to university
users that allow them to bypass firewalls, 2) options in modifying
the current computing infrastructure because of the need for
more space than what is available on the Mesa, and 3) a new
collaborative program with CU students.
Jim Hansen, liaison to Climate and Global Dynamics Division
(CGD), reported on his discussions with the staff, of which
the main topic was NCAR’s reorganization. Some of the staff
expressed concern with the process of the reorganization,
and how the new structure might effect their science. It was
announced that Maurice Blackmon would be stepping down as
CGD Director and that in the interim Jim Hurrell would be
appointed Acting Director.
Ken Pickering, liaison to Atmospheric Chemistry Division
(ACD), reported on his meeting with ACD Director Danny McKenna.
Pickering reviewed ACD’s new initiatives, modeling activities,
and current university interactions. He briefed the URC on
ACD’s new building, slated for groundbreaking in late summer
of 2004. In conclusion, he asked the committee how these liaison
reports could be communicated to Member universities and suggested
possibly placing the reports on an UCAR web page.
12. Faculty Fellowship Report
reported that this program, which would invite university
faculty for short-term visits to NCAR to develop associations
and collaboration with NCAR scientists, has been funded for
FY05 as an $150K per year increment to the Advanced Study
Program (ASP). After Killeen asked the URC to become directly
involved in this program, the following questions arose: pre-tenure
faculty only, minimum time for visits, UCAR member universities
only? Killeen responded that no policies have been written
as of yet, and therefore time limitation on visits have not
been defined. After further discussion, it was agreed that
this program would be exclusive to pre-tenure faculty and
that while it would not be exclusive to UCAR universities,
preference would be given to UCAR Member and Affiliate institutions.
The other part of the program, NCAR scientists visiting
universities, was also discussed. Rick Anthes pointed out
that the invitations would need to come from the universities
and suggested the URC promote this. He added that full support
of up to one year would be given to the NCAR scientists.
In discussing the selection of university faculty to
participate in this program, the committee proposed a selection
committee consisting of some URC members, some NCAR and UCAR
staff, and the ASP director an ex-officio member.
It was agreed that a short outline of this program would
be written by ASP and then reviewed by the URC at their Fall
Jim Hansen reported on this project which aims
to use massive ensembles of complex coupled climate models
to help quantify the uncertainty associated with projections
of climate change. These massive ensembles will be generated
through public participation. Jacobs commented that this proposal,
submitted to NSF’s Information Technology Research (ITR),
has all the important components—education, real science,
university involvement, CSSM. He added that this proposal
couldn’t have happened without NCAR.
14. Open Discussion
Options on teaching instrumentation to university students
were discussed—possible workshops, virtual or real, publish
a manual on the internet were some options proposed. Also
discussed was the importance of GPS observations and the need
for more involvement in this activity from US universities.
The committee adjourned at 11:45am.
~ End of Notes ~
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