The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) is a US nonprofit consortium of more than 100 colleges and universities providing research and training in the atmospheric and related sciences. UCAR manages the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and provides additional services to strengthen and support research and education through its community programs. Its headquarters, in Boulder, Colorado, include NCAR's Mesa Laboratory, designed by I.M. Pei.
UCAR was established in 1959 by faculty from 14 leading universities to support and nourish the atmospheric sciences. They were motivated by a newly recognized need for pooled observational and computational facilities and a strong research staff, which together would allow the academic community to carry out complex, long-term scientific programs beyond the reach of individual universities.
This group’s first major action, in partnership with the National Science Foundation, was to establish NCAR. Since then, UCAR has managed NCAR on behalf of NSF to address pressing scientific and societal needs involving the atmosphere and its interactions with the oceans, land, and Sun—what is now called Earth system science.
UCAR’s role in supporting and complementing the work of academia has grown to include new research, service, and education efforts, including
The organization hosts numerous workshops, community meetings, and opportunities for collaboration throughout the year.
As of 2016, UCAR comprises 109 member colleges and universities and 52 international affiliates. The organization has a total of 1,390 staff, including 877 at NCAR and 282 engaged in community programs. Total expenditures for fiscal year 2015 (October 2014–September 2015) were approximately $204.2 million.
UCAR and NCAR are headquartered in Boulder, Colorado, spread across four campuses. Ancillary activities take place in Cheyenne, Wyoming, Washington, D.C., and in about 15 other states.
Walter Orr Roberts was UCAR’s first president. Antonio J. Busalacchi Jr. has been UCAR president since August 2016.
A list of all UCAR presidents is given below.
|UCAR President||Dates in office|
|Walter Orr Roberts||1960 - 1974|
|Francis P. Bretherton||1974 - 1980|
|Robert White||1980 - 1983|
|Clifford Murino||1983 - 1988|
|Richard A. Anthes||1988 - 2012|
|Thomas Bogdan||2012 - 2015|
|Michael Thompson (interim)||2015 - 2016|
|Antonio J. Busalacchi||2016 -|
In addition to NSF sponsorship, funding includes grants from and contracts with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Department of Defense (DOD), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Department of Energy (DOE), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and other agencies and organizations.