Base Funding Cuts


Recently, NCAR announced an open competition to recruit more entry-level
scientists. The cut in base funding from NSF this year was distributed
among the scientific divisions unevenly, creating differences comparable to
what is needed to recruit a junior scientist. If this trend continues, I am
concerned that it may place some divisions at a disadvantage in the
competition. Perhaps the distribution of base funding cuts simply reflects
institutional priorities. If so, shouldn't this be made explicit so that
young scientists can make appropriate career decisions? If not, shouldn't
NCAR subsidize the positions at a higher rate for some divisions to level
the playing field?

Answered on June 30, 2005


The questioner is correct that the distribution of base funds is determined
by institutional priorities. Each laboratory and division undergoes a
detailed program and budget review every year. This process allows each
laboratory and division to articulate special needs, problems, and
opportunities that have budgetary consequences. It also explicitly links a
division's funded activities with the stated goals and objectives of the
laboratory/divisional, center-wide, and agency strategic plans. Based on
these goals and objectives, the NCAR Executive Committee determines each
laboratory's NSF base allocation for the year.

Support for the recruitment of early-career scientists has been an
important goal and priority not only for UCAR and NCAR but also for each
individual laboratory. By doing this, NCAR is maintaining a revitalization
of its science and facilities programs and ensuring a competitive benefit
for the management competition. The Directorate contribution in supporting
these positions was intended to allow time for each division to adjust its
funding structure to incorporate these early-career scientists into its
programs. Varying subsidies for the early-career scientists would run
counter to the programmatic decisions made in the budget allocations.

-Rena Brasher-Alleva, Director, Budget and Planning