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Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER)


The Faculty Early Career Development Award program (CAREER) is the programmmatic framework within which NSF makes its most prestigious awards for early-career faculty members who are judged most likely to become the academic leaders of the 21st Century. Successful CAREER proposals contain creative career-development plans that effectively integrate research and educaiton within the context of the mission of the PI's institution. CAREER awards are expected to establish a firm foundation for a lifetime of integrated contributions to research and education.




The CAREER program recognizes and supports the early career development of outstanding young scientists and faculty who are expected to become the academic leaders of the 21st century. As such, the program makes an important national contribution to the health and vitality of the nation's higher education system (both public and private). The program also plays a major role in furthering NSF's stated goal of integrating research and education.

Each year NSF selects nominees for Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) from among the most meritorious new CAREER awardees. The PECASE program recognizes outstanding scientists and engineers who, early in their careers, show exceptional potential for leadership at the frontiers of knowledge. This Presidential Award is the highest honor bestowed by the United States Government on scientists and engineers beginning their independent careers.


As described above, CAREER is NSF's most prestigious program for early-career scientists. It provides encouragement and recognition for talented early-career ocean scientists who have demonstrated the potential to be leaders in integrating high-quality research with innovative educational contributions.


Yes. See above.


No EIS-provided information is available for CAREER Merit Review.

In ATM, after compliance checking, proposals are assigned to the appropriate program director, who selects a set of ad hoc reviewers. Panels are seldom used. Typically 5-6 revewers are asked to assess the scientific merit of the proposal as well as the educational component if they feel able to comment. In addition, two reviewers are selected specifically to review the education component; these individuals are usually active teachers or faculty.

In EAR, proposals are assigned to the appropriate science program. Peer review consists of both ad hoc mail review and science panel evaluation. Reviewers are given guidance on 1) the goals of the CAREER program and 2) expectations for the research and educational components of CAREER proposals.

In OCE, CAREER proposals receive a two-part review. Each proposal is assigned to a science panel and is evaluated via ad hoc mail review and panel review and discussion. In addition, a separate education panel meets to review educational components with 3 education panelists providing written reviews in advance of the panel. Funded proposals must be judged worthy of funding by both science and education subpanels. Typically, the Ocean Education program contributes 50% of the support and the relevant science panel the remaining 50%.

The reviewer information provided below in the Merit Review Diversity section is based on the 16 individuals who served as education subpanel members for the 2000-2002 OCE proposal cohorts. One individual in this group was Hispanic but this category is not included on the reporting form. In last year's FY2003 competition, one of the 7 panelists was African-American. This fall's panel is expected to contain two members from underrepresented groups.

For the ad hoc science reviews and the science panel evaluation, information on gender, race/ethnicity and other questions is not reported here. The available aggregate data was made available to the OCE Science Program COV earlier this year. On average, science review consists of 8 ad hoc reviews per proposal and written reviews from 3 panelists.


No EIS-provided information is available for CAREER Review Ratings, but these can be hand-calculated from the raw data.






Very Good 
















See note regarding these figures in the Merit Review Statistics section, above.

Male: 8 White: 13
Female: 8 Unknown: 2
American Indian or Alaskan:  Handicapped: 0
Black or African American:   
Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander:  New Reviewers: 4


Grant Number: 9984708 (Mark Green/St. Joseph's College)

Nugget: Yes | High Risk: No | Multi-disciplinary: Yes | Innovative: Yes

Dr. Mark Green at St. Joseph's College received a CAREER award in FY2000. His research focuses on the dissolution of Calcium carbonate (shells) of macro and micro-organisms in estuaries. In particular, he has identified seasonal variations in the dissolution rates of CaCO2. These variations have not been taken into account in previous estimates of the carbon cycle. In addition, this discovery may be of importance to fisheries, since an increase in the CaCO2 dissolution rates may be increasing the mortality of juvenile bi-valves in estuaries.

This CAREER award is also significant because the PI teaches at a small, liberal arts, undergraduate institution that attracts many students from very rural areas. Green has involved over 50 undergraduate students in his laboratory and field work, has broadened student horizons by taking 3-4 students each year to a major scientific meeting (for many students this is their first airtravel) and has been successful at initiating an undergraduate major in marine science at St. Joseph's. Students have used aspects of this project as the framework for their senior research projects and several have gone onto graduate school in the sciences. Female students in particular have benefited with 6 young women switching their majors to marine or environmental science after working with Dr. Green. There is also a strong community outreach element to the project via partnerships with regional organizations such as the Town of Brunswick Regional Shellfish Council.


Grant Number: 0094169 (Christopher Finelli/Louisiana Univ. Marine Cons.)

Nugget: Yes | High Risk: No | Multi-disciplinary: Yes | Innovative: Yes

Dr. Chistopher Finelli received a CAREER award in July, 2001 for research efforts that will lead to a greater understanding of the role that burrowing infauna have on nutrient processes in sedimentary habitats, particularly in estuarine systems. Dr. Finelli is focusing his work on the nutrient plumes released by the burrowing activities of two species of thalassinid shrimp from Louisiana. His work involves extensive field and laboratory measurements, and he has developed methods of data collection in which students can easily participate.

LUMCON is situated in rural Terrebonne Parish in the southeastern portion of Louisiana. In Terrebonne Parish about 52% of the land area is marsh, most of the industry is maritime (oil, minerals, fisheries), environmental concerns include rapid coastal subsidence and hypoxic “dead zones”, and yet, the schools have no marine science education programs. He is part of a team that is developing a field experience for grades 7-12 that is guided by state and national science education standards. The goal of the Bayouside project is to teach students about geochemical processes in a marsh environment, while instilling basic scientific concepts of data collection and analysis. The field experience requires students to collect water chemistry samples, analyze the data in the lab and interpret their results. The program was tested on a small group of teachers who attended professional development workshops and brought classes to Lumcon on field trips during the 2001/2002 school year. In year 2, this effort has expanded to serve a network of 9 schools that conduct semi-regular water quality sampling. Data from all the classes is made available online to encourage yearlong participation. Active and highly supportive partners in Bayouside Classroom effort are the Terrebonne Parish School District and the Barataria-Terrebone National Estuary Program. The project's involvement with the School District serves an audience of about 270 students and has significantly increased the visibility of LUMCON and NSF with the local community.

Grant Number: 0134843 (Julia Kubanek/Georgia Insitute of Technology)

Nugget: No | High Risk: No | Multi-disciplinary: Yes | Innovative: Yes

Dr. Julia Kubanek is trained in both natural products chemistry and marine ecology and has received CAREER program support for research on chemical interactions between grazing zooplankton and Karenia brevis, the toxic algae that is the organism underlying harmful algal blooms (or 'red tides') in the southeastern United States. In the first year of the project, a solid framework has been laid for the research with the establishment of cultures of pelagic zooplankton and phytoplankton (including K. brevis) and work on the design of diets (both artificial and live) that are palatable, nutritionally adequate and able to be supplemented by the addition of phytoplankton metabolites. Experiments on the role of chemicals on competitive interactions between K. brevis and other non-toxic algal species suggest that effects can be complex with different short-term and long-term outcomes. Work has also begun to study the effects of different diets on copepod survival.

In Dr. Kubanek's laboratory, there is a major focus on integrating research and education by providing extensive 'cross-training'in both analytical chemistry and the design of experiments to answer focused ecological questions. Thus, post-doctoral fellow Dr. Dwight Collins has designed and conducted a variety of experiments tht test ecological hypotheses and use analytical techniques such as liquid-chromatography/mass spectropmetry (LC-MS). Three undergraduates have assisted Drs. Kubanek and Collins and have also conducted their own independent projects. As part of an interdisciplinary program in aquatic signalling at Georgia Tech, Dr. Kubanek has designed and implemented a graduate course, Discovery of Signaling Molecules for students from multiple disciplines (biology, chemistry nd engineering). A seminar program on the intersection of science and public policy is under development. Kubanek's lab group is quite diverse: 7 of the 8 current members are women and 3 of the 8 are minorities.


Grant Number: 0094169 (Christopher Finelli/Louisiana Univ. Marine Cons.)

Nugget: No | High Risk: No | Multi-disciplinary: Yes | Innovative: Yes

The work of C. Finelli described in more detail in section 1 is an excellent example of the contributions that CAREER awardees who are leaders in integrating research into education may make to other NSF-funded programs. Support from CAREER has positioned Dr. Finelli to play a key supporting role in the Central Gulf of Mexico Center for Ocean Science Education Excellence (CGOM-COSEE) funded by OCE. Finelli has worked with co-PI Dr. Jessica Kastler on the design and implementation of various K12 projects at LUMCON and is providing ocean-science expertise to CGOM-COSEE regional summer teacher institutes. Finelli's CAREER award has also recently been supplemented by OCE to provide part-time salary support for an educator who will work with both the Bayouside Classroom project and coordinate COSEE activities at LUMCON.


Grant Number: 9983685 (Arnoldo Valle-Levinson/Old Dominion University)

Nugget: No | High Risk: No | Multi-disciplinary: No | Innovative: Yes

Dr. Valle-Levinson's research focuses on physical processes in both subtropical and temperate estuaries - in particular the characterization of the hydrodynamics of subtidal exchange as a function of the competititon between friction and rotation. CAREER support is notable because it provides recognition and support to a talented young scientist who is Hispanic and has a demonstrated track-record of translating his research into high quality educational programs for undergraduates (ie. a 'hands-on' oceanography course, REU supplements and an REU site program) and high school students and teachers (via weekly CTD measurements from a bridge crossing the Lafayette River in Virginia by students at 4 local high schools; data available via a homepage at Old Dominion with connections to the Windows to the Universe website). Valle-Levinson has also served as a role model and mentor for at least 5 Hispanic graduate students who have worked or are now working under his supervision.


Grant Number: 0134838 (Victor Pasko/Penn State) [ATM Aeronomy Program]

Nugget: Yes | High Risk: - | Multi-disciplinary: - | Innovative: -

People: Dr. Victor Pasko and other researchers working at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico reported observations of a blue jet over a tropical thunderstorm in September 2001. The purpose of the experiment was to show that blue jets and red sprites are manifestations of a direct path of electrical contact between thunderclouds and the lower ionosphere. The blue jets observed at Arecibo differ somewhat in appearance from those commonly observed over thunderstorms in the central U. S. Evidence for direct electrical coupling between cloud tops and the ionosphere helps theoreticians understand the basic physical processes taking place within the phenomena.

Blue jets and red sprites are recently discovered upper atmospheric phenomena which provide a global closure to the natural electric current systems of the Earth. This work was supported in part by a CAREER grant.


Grant Number: 9874925 (Ching-Long Lin/University of Iowa) [ATM Physical Meteorology Program]

Nugget: Yes | High Risk: - | Multi-disciplinary: - | Innovative: -

Doppler lidar measures the radial velocity of scattering objects such as cloud droplets and aerosol particles. Because aerosol particles move with the wind, a scanning Doppler lidar is able to map the pattern of the radial component of the wind velocity around the position of the lidar. A classical problem in atmospheric research using Doppler radar and Doppler lidar is to infer the three-dimensional pattern of the complete wind vector from the field of radial velocity measured at a single point. Dr. Lin approached the problem using a four-dimensional data assimilation method known as an adjoint model, to enable the determination of fine-scale details of the wind in the atmospheric boundary layer. The method essentially applies dynamic constraints to yield a dynamically consistent wind field that agrees with the measured radial velocity pattern. It makes possible for the first time the measurement of the 3-D wind field in the clear air on the basis of remote-sensing observations from a single point. The method will contribute to the understanding of low-level wind structures such as vortices, rolls, and eddies.

The research contributed to the career development of Dr. Lin, produced a powerful new method for observing atmospheric motions, and led to a collaboration between Dr. Lin and Dr. Rob Newsom of Colorado State University, who provided the lidar data used in the analysis.


Grant Number: 0132190 (David Thompson/Colorado State University) [ATM Climate Dynamics Program]

Nugget: Yes | High Risk: - | Multi-disciplinary: - | Innovative: -

CAREER proposal objectives: 1) To investigate the structure, seasonality, dynamics, and climate impacts of the annular modes in the global domain; 2) To improve our understanding of large-scale climate variability in the Southern Hemisphere in the context of the Southern Hemisphere annular mode.

Abstract from recent publication by David W. J. Thompson and Susan Solomon: Interpretation of Recent Southern Hemisphere Climate Change.

Climate variability in the high-latitude Southern Hemisphere (SH) is dominated by the SH annular mode, a large-scale pattern of variability characterized by fluctuations in the strength of the circumpolar vortex. We present evidence that recent trends in the SH tropospheric circulation can be interpreted as a bias toward the high-index polarity of this pattern, with stronger westerly flow encircling the polar cap. It is argued that the largest and most significant tropospheric trends can be traced to recent trends in the lower stratospheric polar vortex, which are due largely to photochemical ozone losses. During the summer-fall season, the trend toward stronger circumpolar flow has contributed substantially to the observed warming over the Antarctic Peninsula and Patagonia and to the cooling over eastern Antarctica and the Antarctic plateau.


Number of Proposal Actions
No EIS-provided information is available for CAREER proposal actions, however these can be hand-calculated from the raw data.

    FY00: 85

    • Awards: 19 (9 ATM;3 EAR; 7 OCE)
    • Declines: 62 (21 ATM; 31 EAR; 10 OCE)
    • Other: 1 withdrawal (EAR)
    • Continuing: 13 (OCE)
    • Closed: 3 (ATM)

    FY01: 67

    • Awards: 9 (3 ATM; 3 EAR; 3 OCE)
    • Declines: 54 (9 ATM; 33 EAR; 12 OCE)
    • Other: 2 withdrawals (ATM)
    • Continuing: 12 (OCE)
    • Closed: 3 (ATM, EAR, OCE)

    FY02: 100

    • Awards: 21 (12 ATM; 6 EAR; 3 OCE)
    • Declines: 652 (16 ATM; 31 EAR; 18 OCE)
    • Other: 2 withdrawal (ATM, EAR)
    • Continuing: 14 (OCE)
    • Closed: 10 (2 ATM; 8 OCE)

Award Size and Duration
No system-provided information is available for CAREER award size or duration.

Dwell Time
No system-providedinformation is available for CAREER proposal dwell time.

Funding Rate
No system-provided information is available for CAREER proposal actions, however these can be hand-calculated from the raw data.

    FY00 (n=81):

    • ATM: 9/30 = 30%
    • EAR: 3/34 = 9%
    • OCE: 7/17 = 42%

    FY01 (n=63):

    • ATM: 3/12 = 25%
    • EAR: 3/36 = 8%
    • OCE: 3/15 = 20%

    FY02 (n=86)

    • ATM: 12/28 = 43%
    • EAR: 6/37 = 16%
    • OCE: 3/21 = 14%

Success rates for other Directorates are as follows (data available for '01 and '02 only):

    • BIO: '01 - 19% -- '02 - 15%
    • CSE: '01 - 24%% -- '02 - 16%
    • EHR: '01 - 25% -- '02 - 23%
    • ENG: '01 - 17% -- '02 - 18%
    • MPS: '01 - 25% -- '02 - 21%
    • SBE: '01 - 10% -- '02 - 11%


    Awards (49)

    • Minority indicated: 3
    • No minority indicated: 39
    • Unknown: 7

    Declines (177)

    • Minority indicated: 10
    • No minority indicated: 148
    • Unknown: 19

    Other Proposal Actions (12)

    • Minority indicated: 2
    • No minority indicated: 7
    • Unknown: 3

    PI Gender [Female/Male/Unknown]

    • Awards: 8/40/1
    • Declines: 41/132/4
    • Other: 3/9/0

    EPSCoR States

    • Awards: 10
    • Declines: 33
    • Other: 2

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