CIMMS Interim Director Randy Peppler, Executive Director for Finance and Operations Tracy Reinke, and Assistant Director for NOAA Relations Sebastian Torres recently attended and participated in the annual meeting of NOAA Cooperative Institute Directors and Administrators. The meeting was held March 7-8, 2016 at NOAA headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland, and brought together the 16 NOAA Cooperative Institutes in the U.S. (http://ci.noaa.gov/) to discuss efforts to strengthen ties to NOAA and its strategic goals. The groups considered how to improve CI coordination, learned about best practices in science administration, and identified actions that will support the strong, long-term partnerships between NOAA, the CIs, and their universities.
Among the NOAA leaders who attended the meeting and spoke were NOAA Chief Scientist Rick Spinrad, the Assistant Administrators of OAR, NWS, and NESDIS (Craig McLean, Louis Uccellini, and Steven Volz, respectively), Acting Deputy Assistant Administrator of NOS Chris Cartwright, the Director of the NMFS Office of Science and Technology Ned Cyr, and the OAR Deputy Assistant Administrator Steve Fine. The CIs also met for the first time the new Director of the Cooperative Institutes Program Office, Candice Jongsma, who comes to NOAA from the Food and Drug Administration. The major topic of discussion was “CI-21” – a prospectus for the CIs in the 21st century. CIMMS was one of two CIs chosen to give a 15-minute presentation on its science and administration.
On March 8-9, Randy Peppler accompanied a small group of CI Directors to Capitol Hill, the Department of Commerce, and the Office of Management and Budget to visit with staff on the value of the CIs to NOAA’s research, training, and outreach portfolios. Presently, the CIs represent half of NOAA’s research capability and, as such, are critical to NOAA achieving its mission of saving lives and protecting property. Congressional offices visited included the Senate and House Appropriations Subcommittees on Commerce, Justice, and Science, and the Office of Congressman Mike Honda (D-CA), who is the Ranking Member of the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and Science. Executive Branch staff visited included the Deputy Director of Policy and Strategic Planning at the Department of Commerce, and the NOAA Budget Examiner at the Office of Management and Budget. All of the meetings were productive and informative, and laid groundwork for continuing, fruitful collaborations between NOAA and its Cooperative Institutes.