Our Plan

CIRA’s Strategic Plan is developed as a dynamic document, updated periodically and dependent on several documents to include:

  • CIRA Vision and Mission Statement
  • Colorado State University and the College of Engineering Strategic Plans
  • Federal Sponsor strategic plans and other published guidance
  • National and State priorities as reflected in their budgets and published interests

This Strategic Plan will be updated as required to reflect advancement in technology and the sciences as well as evolving priorities. The major revisions will be associated with the NOAA/CSU 5-year Cooperative Agreement process, as well as other major funding agency activities, e.g., DOD Center for Geosciences and NASA CloudSat planning and budgeting cycles.

CIRA’s Strategic Plan focuses on the execution of its Vision and Mission by acquiring and improving the intelligence, infrastructure, and support which allow us to respond to opportunities as they arise. Our major research theme areas and the personnel, equipment, and data needed to perform these scientific endeavors are all underpinnings to the success of this Strategic Plan.



The following Strategies form the foundation of our Strategic Plan:

  • Entrain skills beyond the meteorology disciplines in support of proposals and infrastructure development.
  • Pursue more than one major funding entity to ensure long-term viability.
  • Focus our research in designated theme areas to improve the efficiency of our research and maintain excellence in these areas. Changes in these theme areas will be made in close collaboration with our government sponsors and in light of the long-term research trends of CSU’s Department of Atmospheric Science.
  • Exploit cutting-edge advances in engineering and computer science to develop cost-effective methods and techniques for data collection, analysis, and distribution.
  • Facilitate transitional activity between pure and applied research and strive to develop applied research results that are both relevant to our government sponsors’ missions and supportive of the CSU educational mission.
  • Assist the Nation through the application of our research in public policy and economic and societal impacts of weather and climate.
  • Assist national and international weather and climate managers in their selection, exploitation, and optimization of satellite, aircraft, and ground sensors.
  • Continue to partner with federal and state agencies and laboratories to assure that our federally funded research is both cost-efficient and non-redundant at the national level.
  • Work closely with our federal partners to assure that our research is not only relevant but also packaged to be readily transferable to either operational prototyping activities or can address their Mission technical/scientific shortfalls.
  • Maintain employment career opportunities. Assure our scientific staff members have a promotion and career track. Implement and sustain matrix management at CIRA so employees can move from project to project as new projects are funded and old projects are terminated.
  • Foster diversity through hiring and graduate student support.
  • Enhance employee cultural competencies via diversity awareness training and other presentations.
  • Provide high school and undergraduate employment opportunities as student hourlies. Provide consistent year-to-year opportunities to allow students to become excited about career opportunities in weather research.


Oversight of the CI

Planning for CIRA research and other activities is performed on many levels. The Executive Board has the primary responsibility for setting the vision of the Institute and providing general oversight. The Executive Board consists of the CSU Vice President for Research of the University (Chairperson), the NOAA Deputy Assistant Administrator for Laboratories and Cooperative Institutes, the CSU Vice Provost for Graduate Studies, the Director of NOAA/NESDIS/STAR, the CSU Dean of the College of Engineering, and the CSU Atmospheric Science Department Head. The Director of CIRA serves on this Board in an ex officio capacity. The responsibilities of the Advisory Board include the evaluation of CIRA programs and activities, the recommendation of new program directions, and the review of general policies of CIRA.

In addition to the Executive Board, CIRA also receives technical guidance from its Council of Fellows (PDF). The Council of Fellows is comprised of University professors and NOAA senior administrators and chaired by the CIRA Director. Fellows of CIRA are a distinguished group of scientists of established national and international standing who either hold regular teaching or research faculty appointments in the University or who are scientific staff members of NOAA. Fellows are normally appointed for three-year terms. Senior members of the Fellows are appointed to our Council of Fellows to provide technical guidance on research theme activity and the direction and future growth of CIRA research programs.

Because the Council of Fellows consists of University and NOAA scientists, guidance, and strategic planning are done collaboratively. This usually is accomplished through regular meetings and biennial retreats. The research theme leader(s), through additional focused discussion groups, develop or refine theme Objectives. Strategic planning is an on-going process that results from these retreats and discussions. Joining in these avenues for discussion are additional CIRA scientists who provide leadership on on-going research projects and endeavors.