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JUNE 2020
Tony Busalacchi I hope this quarterly email finds you healthy and able to navigate these challenging times. Here at UCAR and NCAR, most of us have been teleworking since March in accord with federal, state, and local government guidance, with a few employees performing essential onsite services. I am very pleased to say that our staff has truly risen to the occasion, with scientists continuing to generate important research while operations and administrative staff provide critical support services. We have created a decision-making framework for a phased and flexible return to the workplace and have now transitioned to an expanded essential staff phase, which means that 5-15% of staff are able to work onsite. As we closely monitor this evolving situation, however, we expect that the majority of staff may continue to telework at least through the summer. In addition, our campuses remain closed to all non-essential scientific visitors, as well as the public.
Although we had to cancel or postpone some of our summer workshops and visitor programs, we are operating many of them online, including internships for undergraduate and graduate students. SOARS, for example, is using a virtual approach for returning proteges while deferring new proteges until next summer. We have also been supporting the REU (Research Experiences for Undergraduates) community in moving programs online, and we are leading a national effort, funded by the National Science Foundation, to create additional internships for students who had their programs cancelled due to COVID-19. The Early Career Faculty Innovator Program, launched last summer, is continuing on a remote basis, with scientists from numerous organizations collaborating on interdisciplinary research projects. This is certainly not how we originally envisioned our programs this summer, but the approach is proving productive, thanks to the commitment of our education and outreach staff, as well as our scientists and mentors. Visit our website for a complete update on our summer programs and for resources for how to run an REU during COVID-19.
Students and mentors participating in this year's Summer Internships in Parallel Computational Science (SIParCS) program met virtually for the first time in May. Like many of our student programs, SIParCS has moved online due to the pandemic. (Image: NCAR's Computational and Information Systems Lab)
We are also taking a virtual approach to our meetings with the Board of Trustees, which will be held online this month. In addition, we are working with the community on options for the members meeting in October, and I want to thank the member representatives who provided input to a survey about the possible benefits and challenges of holding that meeting online. We expect to announce the format for the members meeting after discussions at next week’s board meeting.
While the pandemic has forced us to be creative in how we convene and provide services to our community, it is also leading to new research to support society. The Earth system science community has a major role to play in better understanding the behavior and epidemiology of the COVID-19 virus as well as impacts on our environment. For example, NCAR is working with research partners to better understand how reduced emissions may affect air quality and climate. The research team has posted some preliminary findings. In addition, the Cheyenne supercomputer is part of the nation's COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium, and it is available to scientists looking into such problems as the impact of temperature, relative humidity, and other environmental conditions on the virus. Our news release provides additional details. UCAR is also working with partners on offering ultra-broadband research and education telecommunications networks and services, including the Front Range GigaPop, to help society move toward a reopening of economic activity while safeguarding public health.
The Cheyenne supercomputer will be used for research into the COVID-19 virus. (Image: Carlye Calvin/UCAR)
As you well know, the pandemic is creating enormous stress on our community. In addition to the impacts on individuals, it may have long-term implications for budgets and research. We will continue to work with our partners to highlight the importance of science for society, as well as the crucial need to educate and inspire the next generation of researchers.

I wish continued good health to all of you. Be safe and be well.

Antonio J. Busalacchi

This is the second of my new quarterly emails. In "From the UCAR President," I am highlighting recent events that I believe are significant for our community. I look forward to any feedback that you may have. Please email me at with comments or suggestions. 

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