Postdocs Applying Climate Expertise (PACE)

About the Program

"Keeping pace with a changing climate"


The goal of this postdoctoral program is to grow the pool of scientists qualified to transfer advances in climate science and climate prediction into climate-related decision framework(s) and decision tools. The program pairs early-career climate scientists with two co-hosting institutions: one host provides the climate research expertise guidance, and the other host is a decision-making institution that provides the opportunity for the PACE fellow to immerse themselves in a decision-making culture and learn from each other.

Demand for research and guidance in climate-related risk management and decision-making has increased in recent years. This is due in part to the work of those involved in the NOAA RISA (Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments) program and to the efforts of a relatively small group of scientists working at the interface between climate science and its applications. A growing number of people and institutions are emerging to work at this interface, but demand for these people exceeds supply.

Demand also stems from constant advances within climate science, including better understanding of predictability, better prediction ability, higher resolution of prediction products, and greater climate awareness.  These scientific advances make concerted efforts at the applications interface all the more imperative, since individuals are needed who understand both climate science and needs of decision-makers. Increasing interest from communities that engage in decision support and risk/disaster management makes this an opportune time to launch a post-doctoral program aimed at this demand. Wide societal interest also broadens the base from which potential candidates could be recruited.

One approach to grow the pool of climate scientists who can work effectively at the climate-society boundary is to encourage talented recent PhDs with expertise in climate science to work directly with institutions engaged in climate-related risk management and decision-making.  This developing body of professionals will simultaneously be scientifically and technically capable in climate sciences and possess an understanding of the needs and issues that affect climate-related sectoral decisions. All participants will inevitably gain new perspectives on the opportunities and limitations of incorporating climate information into decisions. This program offers a process for recruiting and training individuals with a focus on practical experience, and offers the prestige that comes from participation in a nationally recognized and coordinated program.

PACE Oversight Committee

  • Lisa Goddard (chair) – IRI/Columbia University
  • Matthew Druckenmiller - U.S. Global Development Lab
  • Benjamin Kirtman – University of Miami/RSMAS
  • Erin Towler - NCAR Earth Systems Laboratory
  • Anthony Westerling -- Sierra Nevada Research Institute

  • Hanne Mauriello – CPAESS Program Management