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Director's Message

ASP Director Maura HaganThe Advanced Study Program (ASP) helps NCAR and the scientific communities that it serves to prepare for the future by promoting cutting-edge research activities, engaging in human and institutional capacity building, and developing partnerships between NCAR scientists and their colleagues in universities and other institutions.

Through its component Postdoctoral Fellowship, Graduate Visitor, and Faculty Fellowship programs, ASP primarily addresses the NCAR strategic goal: cultivating a scientifically literate and engaged citizenry and a diverse and creative workforce. But, the ASP postdoctoral fellows' research contributions also play a notable role in pursuing the NCAR strategic goal: improving understanding of the atmosphere, the Earth system, and the Sun. The two-year ASP postdoctoral fellowship appointments encourage the development of young scientists in the field of atmospheric science, direct attention to timely scientific areas needing special emphasis, and help NCAR and the community prepare for the future through the professional development of early career researchers. Approximately 10 new appointments are made annually for positions in all of the NCAR Labs. Fellows' research advances are reported separately in the NCAR Laboratory Annual Reports.


In FY2008, the ASP made eight new postdoctoral fellowship appointments and continued its collaboration with the Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research (IAI) with special NSF support by hosting two IAI-ASP postdoctoral fellows. ASP hosted 11 faculty fellows with eight accompanying student visitors and two NCAR scientists received support for their long-term visits to two U.S. universities through the Faculty Fellowship Program. The Graduate Visitor Program provided support for nine graduate students to spend time in residence at NCAR in support of their thesis research. Most of these awards also included support for at least one two-week visit for their thesis advisor. ASP successfully engaged student and faculty from two Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in our programs in FY2008, and made numerous fellowship and visitor awards to deserving candidates from historically underrepresented groups in the geosciences. More on all of these programs can be found in this report.

FY2009 Plans

ASP will continue to engage and develop the scientific workforce of the future through its core visitor and fellowship program elements that engage all graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in residence at NCAR, including monthly seminars, monthly informational socials, the annual ASP retreat and ongoing mentoring opportunities. Through the highly successful Thompson Lecture Series, ASP will bring two prominent scientists to NCAR for extended interactions with this cohort in fall 2008 and spring 2009.

The annual ASP Colloquium series will be expanded to include two events in summer 2009 on the topics of "Exploring the Atmosphere Using Observational Instruments and Techniques" and "Ecosystems and Climate: Modeling and Analysis of Observed Variability in Marine Ecosystems".

ASP will also provide organizational support for the NCAR Software Engineering Assembly and the activities of the Early Career Scientists Assembly (ECSA), including the Junior Faculty Forum on Future Scientific Directions. Additional details along with other ASP plans are included in this report.