Memorandum of Agreement


Between the

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)



Concerning the





a. Purpose

This Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) reaffirms the shared priority interests of the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and The Board of Regents of the University of Oklahoma (OU) in establishing the Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies (CIMMS), a NOAA-. supported Cooperative Institute (CI). CIMMS will conduct collaborative research with NOAA scientists in five principal thematic research areas: (1) Weather radar research and development; (2) Stormscale and mesoscale modeling research and development; (3) Forecast improvements research and development; (4) Impacts of climate change related to extreme weather events; and (5) Social and socioeconomic impacts of high impact weather systems.

By virtue of its administrative structure and unique physical proximity to several research, academic and operational entities within the National Weather Center, as well as other organizations on the OU Research Campus, CIMMS is able to accomplish the following objectives:

  1. Conducting and promoting collaborative basic and applied research and development within its five principle themes;
  2. Improving the effectiveness of research and development through close collaboration of the parent institutions;
  3. Creating and sustaining a center at which scientists working on problems of mutual interest, across multiple disciplines and with attention to the enhancement of increased participation from traditionally underrepresented groups, may come together and work advantageously in an environment unique from that provided separately in the Federal and University structures;
  4. Promoting undergraduate and graduate-level education opportunities and scientific research experiences with students from all relevant disciplines;
  5. Leveraging NOAA investments in CIMMS by fostering collaboration within and among OU’s individual colleges, departments, and centers; with NOAA Line Offices; with federal, state, and non-governmental organizations in the region; and with selected cooperative research and development activities involving the private sector.

This MOA between OU and NOAA sets forth the details of cooperative institute administration in response to NOAAʼs Federal Funding Opportunity announcement number NOAA-OAR-CIPO-2011-2002772, dated February 11, 2011.

b. Scope

Participation in CIMMS is open to all NOAA organizational elements. Engagement across NOAA Line Offices and with other entities is critical to enable CIMMS to meet the objectives outlined above.  CIMMS shall foster a close research and training link between the NOAA Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) and the National Weather Service (NWS) and OU’s academic and research units that have related research and development interests.  OU participation also is open to other interested NOAA organizational elements, and research in CIMMS may be supported by other public and private organizations.

The range and task organization of administrative, research, and development relationships between CIMMS and NOAA are set forth as follows:

  1. Task I: Activities related to the management of the CI, as well as general education and outreach endeavors. This task also includes support of postdoctoral and visiting scientists conducting research that is approved by the CI Director (in consultation with NOAA) and is relevant to NOAA’s mission goals.
  2. Task II: Research activities usually involving direct collaboration with NOAA scientists. The collaboration is typically fostered by the co-location of Federal and CI employees.
  3. Task III: Research activities requiring minimal collaboration with NOAA scientists.


NOAA has authority to conduct research and to provide financial assistance for the research activities addressed in this MOA with CIMMS under 15 U.S.C. § 1540, which provides authority to enter into cooperative agreements and other financial agreements with any nonprofit organization to aid and promote scientific and educational activities to foster public understanding of the NOAA or its programs. Pursuant to 118 Stat. 71 (January 23, 2004) and under the cooperative agreement establishing the Cooperative Institute, NOAA may use CIMMS’s personnel, services, or facilities for research, education, training, and outreach to carry out NOAA’s mission. Other relevant authorities are described in the NOAA cooperative agreement and are used to fund such research activities.


This MOA does not constitute a financial commitment on the part of either Party. Financial support for CIMMS shall be contingent upon the availability of funds appropriated by Congress and subject to the ordinary budgetary and administrative procedures of NOAA and OU, as applicable. NOAA funds shall not be obligated directly or indirectly without written approval of an authorized NOAA official. This MOA does not replace the need for a financial assistance award or procurement award pursuant to 31 U.S.C. Section 6301, to legally authorize and obligate federal funds to OU for CIMMS activities. This MOA does not prohibit OU from soliciting funds solely for OU’s expenses and activities under CIMMS from other Federal, state, and local agencies, international entities, and private sources. OU, however, is prohibited from accepting funds through CIMMS from sources that are prohibited from conducting business with the United States government. Research conducted by each of the academic team members will be performed on a cost reimbursable basis.


A. Structure of CIMMS

1. Location

CIMMS will be managed overall and administered through OU on its Research Campus at the National Weather Center, where the CIMMS Program Office and site of the day-to-day operations, in conjunction with NOAA, will be located.

2. Composition

Director – The CIMMS Director, will be a non-Federal position, located at OU, and shall be appointed by the Board of Regents as recommended by the President of OU for a renewable term of up to five (5) years.  The Director will be a tenured member of the OU faculty in the School of Meteorology of the College of Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences or in the appropriate academic department or school.  The Director shall be responsible for oversight of all NOAA-funded activities associated with CIMMS, including the submission of any required proposal and reports associated with the Cooperative Institute award, participation in any renewal review, and correction of any problem that may arise during the course of the award. The Director, with the advice and assistance of an Executive Board and a Council of Fellows, will provide overall vision and scientific leadership to ensure the proper direction and quality of the CIMMS scientific program and the achievement of its purposes as outlined above.  The Director also will be responsible for overseeing the day-to-day administration of CIMMS, including supervision of the administrative team. The Director will represent CIMMS at relevant NOAA meetings. Other duties and responsibilities of the Director may include but may not be limited to: (a) serving as the contact point between CIMMS and NOAA; (b) convening meetings of the CIMMS Executive Board as chair; (c) convening and presiding over meetings of the Council of Fellows; (d) approving all CIMMS proposals sent to NOAA; (e) preparing the annual report of CIMMS; (f) providing scientific, educational and outreach leadership of CIMMS including the identification of new opportunities and collaborations across CIMMS and NOAA; and (g) being responsible for oversight and accountability of spending within CIMMS.

Associate Director – The CIMMS Associate Director will be a non-Federal position, located at OU and appointed by the Director for a renewable term of up to five (5) years. The Associate Director will stand in for the Director in his absence.

Executive Board – The Executive Board will provide advice to the CIMMS Director and communicate NOAA policies, priorities, coordination of opportunities, and performance matters as pertinent. The Executive Board will also review and comment on the CIMMS Annual Performance Report. Meeting at least twice yearly, the Executive Board works with the Director in ensuring that CIMMS’s strategic plan and activities meet the needs of NOAA and the Institute.  Membership of the Executive Board consists of senior management officials.

Council of Fellows – The Council of Fellows will be composed of a cross-section of local and national scientists who have expertise relevant to the research themes of CIMMS and are actively involved in the programs and projects of CIMMS.  Appointment to the Council of Fellows, by the Executive Board, is normally for a two (2)-year term, and reappointment is possible.  The Council of Fellows will participate in reviews of CIMMS activities and elect two (2) of its own members to serve on the Executive Board.

Research Staff – The research staff of CIMMS includes, but is not limited to, the following: (1) Research Scientists, Research Associates, and Scientific Programmers; (2) Visiting Researchers; and (3) Students (Graduate Research Assistants or undergraduate students hired as hourly employees).

Financial Administrator – The Financial Administrator will be a non-Federal position, located at OU, and will be responsible for both pre- and post-award administration of CIMMS, including but not limited to proposal review and submission, funding oversight and management, and compliance with all CIMMS and OU reporting deadlines. The Director will appoint the Financial Administrator.

B. Responsibilities of the Institutions

1. Responsibilities of CIMMS

  • OU will provide facilities to house CIMMS, the framework that supports current and new programmatic initiatives, and a centralized infrastructure that allows the Institute to manage effectively financial administrative operations in compliance with university, state and Federal regulations.
  • CIMMS will work collaboratively with NOAA on CI research and activities, and work with local and national NOAA administrators to ensure that management of CIMMS is consistent with NOAA’s CI policies and procedures.
  • CIMMS’ Director, or designee, Associate Director, or designee, will attend the annual NOAA/CI meeting for all CI directors and administrators.
  • OU shall maintain a separate, identifiable operating budget for CIMMS, together with any other administrative and reporting provisions negotiated with NOAA. Separate accounts will be maintained for each major research sub-award.
  • All staff will be hired according to the policies and procedures of the OU system and will not include Federal employees. OU assumes full responsibility for the management and cost of all employees funded through CIMMS.
  • CIMMS will coordinate with the designated NOAA representative who will provide oversight to ensure applicable NOAA programs are represented on the Institute’s councils and boards.
  • CIMMS will work cooperatively with NOAA to identify potential NOAA programs that would benefit from collaborations with the Institute.

2. Responsibilities of NOAA

 NOAA employees will work collaboratively with CIMMS to conduct research and joint activities. Specifically:

  • NOAA shall include CIMMS in NOAA’s Cooperative Institute activities and work with CIMMS to ensure that management of CIMMS is consistent with the NOAA’s Cooperative Institute policies and procedures.
  • NOAA shall convene an annual meeting of all Cooperative Institutes, including CIMMS.
  • NOAA shall facilitate ”One-NOAA” oversight by ensuring applicable NOAA programs are represented on CIMMS councils and boards.
  • NOAA shall identify potential NOAA programs that would benefit from collaborations with CIMMS.


This Memorandum of Agreement is effective as of the Effective Date and shall remain valid until September 30, 2016.


Either Party may terminate this agreement unilaterally upon six months’ prior written notice. Proposals to modify the terms of the MOA can be initiated by either NOAA or CIMMS and will be subject to approval by NOAA’s Assistant Administrator for OAR and the Vice President for Research of the Norman Campus at OU.


In accordance with the terms of the CIMMS Cooperative Agreement, CIMMS will submit an annual performance report that describes accomplishments associated with all activities during the award year, including any additional information requested by NOAA pertaining to operation of the CI. The CI Program Director is responsible for monitoring CIMMS and shall work with the NOAA Science Advisor to coordinate a review of the Annual Performance Report and discuss such findings, including any deficiencies with the CI.


a. Equal Opportunity

The University of Oklahoma, as an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer, complies with applicable Federal and State laws prohibiting discrimination. OU represents that all services are provided without discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, political beliefs, or veteran’s status; they do not maintain nor provide for their employees any segregated facilities, nor will the parties permit their employees to perform their services at any location where segregated facilities are maintained.

b. Compliance

The University of Oklahoma shall comply with all applicable laws, regulations, rules and ordinances. This Agreement is effective upon the date of signature of all Parties (“Effective Date”). The foregoing compliance requirements must also be imposed upon CIMMS.

c. Point of Contact

The CIMMS point of contact shall be its Director.