The Norman Transcript


November 8, 2011

University of Oklahoma extends NOAA contract

NORMAN — The University of Oklahoma won a five-year research agreement from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that could bring up to $75 million of federal funds to the university.

OU President David Boren and Craig McLean, acting NOAA assistant administrator, announced the agreement Monday at the National Weather Center.

The agreement will extend funding for OU’s Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies through 2016. CIMMS was created in 1978 to collaborate weather and climate-related research between OU and NOAA scientists.

“We have once again won the national competition,” Boren said. “This team will remain intact.”

The collaboration combines the OU’s Atmospheric Radar Research Center, Center for Analysis and Prediction of Storms, Center for Risk and Crisis Management, School of Meteorology and Oklahoma Climatological Survey with NOAA’s National Severe Storms Laboratory, Radar Operations Center, Storm Prediction Center, Warning Decision Training Branch and the Norman Weather Forecast Office.

A number of advances in radar technology and earlier weather alerts are credited to years of CIMMS research in Norman.

McLean said research agreement was “very competitive” between OU and other candidates. But after referring to the diverse weather activity that happens in Oklahoma and the valuable research that already has taken place at OU, McLean said it “makes good sense for this type of study to take place here.”

With the latest NOAA research agreement, Boren said OU has been awarded about $115 million in the external research funding in just the past month.

He also said OU research directly or indirectly has created about 1,000 high-paying jobs. Boren said about 160 people are involved with NOAA in Norman and that CIMMS currently employs 74 OU students — 48 graduates and 26 undergraduates — through NOAA-funded projects.

“This announcement is so great that it’s caused seismic events across the state,” Boren quipped, referring to this past weekend’s earthquakes. “This will help save lives, advance science and it can grow the economy.”

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