ASP Postdoctoral Fellowships: Cross-Laboratory, Multi-Disciplinary Research at NCAR
Luciana Rizzo in Brazil. ASP is unlike most other NCAR divisions or institutes, because it contributes to all NCAR goals and strategic priorities. It serves as a catalyst for burgeoning research activities that span the boundaries of NCAR laboratories and divisions. As such, the ASP contributes to all five NCAR strategic goals and to multiple priorities within these goal areas.
The most important ASP component is the Postdoctoral Fellowship Program, which has been a part of NCAR for forty-three years and has brought over 425 postdoctoral scientists to NCAR. The ASP appoints approximately 7-10 new postdoctoral scientists each year. During their two-year NCAR appointments, the fellows conduct research in collaboration with NCAR scientists throughout the Center. Many fellows hold joint appointments across divisions or laboratories. All fellows benefit from the opportunity to work with NCAR scientists, from exposure to the breadth of science at NCAR, and from the independence they are encouraged to develop. Many former fellows now occupy prominent positions at UCAR universities or at NCAR, and many of the present collaborations between NCAR and university scientists derive from associations that developed in the postdoctoral program. The institution benefits from these appointments through the research and investigation of new topics and directions in areas that that might not otherwise be addressed.
Amit Teller in TurkeyIn FY08, the ASP appointed 8 fellows (from over 110 applications) in a diversity of disciplines spanning the various labs and divisions within the organization. In addition to the diversity of disciplines, the new fellows represent a diversity of population including gender and ethnicity. Also in FY2008, the ASP held monthly ‘socials' that often included an education or career development aspect. Socials during the past year included a panel discussion with IPCC members, a discussion entitled the International Coordination of Global Climate Research Programs and Setting Priorities for Future Funding Opportunities, and an opportunity to interact with journalists. These socials not only brought members of ASP together, but also included any postdoctoral fellow or graduate student within the organization who wished to attend. In 2006 ASP helped form a new NCAR Fellows Association. The Association generally meets on a monthly basis in a social setting in order to provide friendship and support to other postdocs and graduate students at NCAR. The ASP continued to support the Association in FY2008 and will do so in FY2009. The ASP aims to create a meaningful experience not only for ASP fellows, but for all fellows at NCAR. As part of this plan, NCAR/ASP is a sustaining member of the National Postdoctoral Association.
In FY2009, ASP plans to continue the core elements of the program, including monthly seminars, bi-weekly research reviews, monthly socials, and the Thompson Lecture Series along with the annual research planning sessions and on-going mentoring that postdoctoral fellows receive. The postdoctoral program receives its funding from the National Science Foundation.