What is CPAESS?

The Cooperative Programs for the Advancement of Earth system science (CPAESS) serves the Earth system science community in three distinct areas of service. We partner with federal agencies and businesses to hire critical scientific staff enabling a more robust workforce. Through our scientific programs we seek to edify new research with our postdoctoral programs, our visiting scientist and internship programs, along with our interagency support programs. We also help build the Earth system science community by convening and managing summer schools and institutes, conferences, and advisory committees. 


The CPAESS vision is to advance scientific research and collaboration efforts for the benefit of all.


CPAESS develops customizable solutions to complex scientific challenges by advancing research capacity, building community collaborations, and fostering scientific leadership.

Scientific Partnerships

Through our Scientific Partnerships CPAESS supports large-scale partnerships and initiatives in the Earth system science (ESS) community, often funded through cooperative agreements. These collaborations may involve complex science program facilitation, coordination, management, and scientific workforce appointments. We also work in concert with numerous federal agencies and provide a vehicle for full-time scientific appointments. Currently we have about 120 scientists in a variety of federal agencies and laboratories ranging from many NOAA offices, to NASA, to the US Geological Survey, and many more. 

Scientific Programs

We have strategic partnerships with independent science programs, early career programs, and visiting scientist programs. As science develops there is a need for the support and hosting of unique, often interagency-sponsored programs that focus on specific national research efforts. CPAESS provides the support for such programs so that they can continue to develop and make outstanding contributions to science.  Currently we manage:

U.S. Carbon Cycle Science Program

The U.S. Carbon Cycle Science Program, in consultation with the Carbon Cycle Interagency Working Group (CCIWG) coordinates and facilitates activities relevant to carbon cycle science, climate and global change (such as the Second State of the Carbon Cycle Report) under the auspices of the U.S. Global Change Research Program. Its office is in Washington, D.C.

US Climate Variability and Predictability Program (US CLIVAR) 

US CLIVAR is a multi­agency-funded national research program investigating the variability and predictability of the global climate system on seasonal, interannual, decadal, and centennial timescales, with a particular emphasis on the role of the ocean and its interaction with other parts of the Earth system. Their office is in Washington, D.C.

Another aspect of our Scientific Programs is facilitating educational opportunities for early career scientists. Currently, we manage two post-doctoral fellowship programs for NOAA and NASA. They include: 

  • NOAA Climate and Global Change Postdoctoral Fellowship Program, which  has an outstanding reputation of attracting the best and the brightest PhDs in the sciences relevant to the NOAA Climate Program Office and has been instrumental in developing today’s climate research experts and leaders.
  • NASA Jack Eddy Postdoctoral Fellowship Program that trains the next generation of researchers needed for the emergent field of heliophysics which embraces all science aspects of the Sun-Earth connection. Explore this facsinating opportunity. 

As education and training is needed at every stage of one’s scientific career, CPAESS also manages opportunities for undergraduates and graduate students through senior scientists with these Scientific Programs. 

  • NOAA Ocean Observation's Explorer-in-Training Program, that is for both undergraduate and graduate students on the only federal vessel dedicated to exploring our ocean for the purpose of discovery and understanding the deep oceans. 
  • U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) Internship Program will soon be rolled out. NRL is the Department of the Navy’s corporate laboratory and is the principal in-house component of the Office of Naval Research’s effort to meet its science and technology responsibilities.
  • NOAA National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) Research Collaborations offer scientists at any career level an opportunity to conduct research within an NCEP center and be fully integrated within a national scale operational environment. 

Scientific Community Building

As a part of UCAR, CPAESS is embedded in the Earth system science culture and is uniquely positioned to assemble your scientific community for conferences, workshops, and events. We provide a comprehensive suite of services including virtual and hybrid meetings, planning and management, financial management, broadcasting capabilities, website development, registration services, digital communications, and a multitude of other logistic capacities. 


CPAESS also holds educational events such as summer schools, institutes, and advisory committee meetings. These enable sharing and deepening of specific scientific topics as well as training and networking opportunities. Some examples of this are:

  • NASA “Living With a Star” Heliophysics Summer School occurs each year in Boulder. It is open to both graduate students and educators and focuses on the physics of space weather events that start at the Sun and influence atmospheres, ionospheres, and magnetospheres throughout the solar system. 
  • NOAA Climate and Global Change Summer Institute is held every other year in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, for past and present participants of the fellowship program. The primary goal of the Institute is to build a stronger community by introducing the postdoctoral fellows - who are hosted at research institutions throughout the U.S. - to each other and to more senior scientists.

CPAESS is here to serve the Earth system science community in a wide variety of ways. To find out more explore our website here.

CPAESS Year in Review

CPAESS continues to make great strides in our Earth system science research and scientific support. Learn more in our: