Presentations and Publications

Innovator Program faculty, students and collaborators have worked together on a number of presentations, publications and research outputs. Below we list some of the cohort-wide collaborations that have resulted from the program.


Connecting physical and social science datasets: challenges and pathways forward

Environmental Research Communications • Published September 2023


The integration of physical and social science data can enable novel frameworks, methodologies, and innovative solutions important for addressing complex socio-environmental problems. Unfortunately, many technical, procedural, and institutional challenges hamper effective data integration—detracting from interdisciplinary socio-environmental research and broader public impact. This paper reports on the experiences and challenges of social and physical data integration, as experienced by diverse Early Career Researchers (ECRs), and offers strategies for coping with and addressing these challenges. Through a workshop convened by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Innovator Program, 33 participants from different disciplines, career stages, and institutions across the United States identified four thematic data integration challenges related to complexity and uncertainty, communication, scale, and institutional barriers. They further recommended individual, departmental, and institutional scale responses to cope with and address these integration challenges. These recommendations seek to inform faculty and department support for ECRs, who are often encouraged—and even expected—to engage in integrative, problem-focused, and solutions-oriented research.

Advancing Interdisciplinary and Convergent Science for Communities: Lessons Learned Through the NCAR Early-Career Faculty Innovator Program

Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society • Published November 2022


The authors introduce the National Center for Atmospheric Research’s Early-Career Faculty Innovator Program and present lessons learned about advancing interdisciplinary and convergent science with and for society. The Innovator Program brings together faculty and students from the social sciences with NCAR researchers to conduct interdisciplinary and convergent research on problems motivated by societal challenges in the face of climate change and environmental hazards. This article discusses aspects of program structure and the research being conducted. The article also emphasizes the challenges and successes of the research collaborations within the Innovator Program, along with lessons learned about engaging in highly interdisciplinary, potentially convergent work, particularly from the early-career perspective. Many projects involve faculty PIs from racially, ethnically, or otherwise minoritized groups, and minority serving institutions (MSIs), or those who engage with marginalized communities. Hence, the Innovator Program is contributing to the development of a growing research community pursuing science with and for society that also broadens participation in research related to the atmospheric sciences.

Moving from interdisciplinary to convergent research across geoscience and social sciences: challenges and strategies

Environmental Research Letters • Published June 2022

This manuscript on the Innovator Program was accepted for publication into Environmental Research Letters. This perspective paper was authored by six Innovator faculty and five NCAR scientists. In this paper, the authors identify key barriers in convergence research and offer strategies to improve research outcomes at the intersection of geoscience and social sciences.

AAG 2023

Faculty from Cohort 2 of the Early Career Faculty Innovator program will host a 3-part session on Friday, March 24th at the 2023 American Association of Geographers annual meeting.

Climate Science and Environmental Justice Research, Praxis, and Methodologies

This session will bring together social scientists who have been working with climate scientists to apply climate data and modeling outputs to on-the-ground, lived realities of local communities. The papers attend to the messy historical, political, and economic contexts that produce uneven environmental vulnerability for marginalized communities. Papers may also evaluate the creative, mixed, and/or participatory methods needed to incorporate climate data into social science research with communities impacted by climate change. Collectively, the papers in this session explore potentials and challenges of using climate data in work with impacted communities and provide suggestions for designing climate models to better serve marginalized and vulnerable communities.

AMS 2022

The Early Career Faculty Innovator Program: A Collaboration Between University and NCAR Researchers on Actionable and Convergent Science

Presented on January 25th as part of the 17th Symposium on Societal Applications: Policy, Research, and Practice

Contributors: Christopher Davis (Presenter),Cassandra R. O’Lenick, Danica Lombardozzi, Rebecca Haacker, Rebecca Morss, Olga V. Wilhelmi (NCAR), Anamaria Bukvic (Virginia Tech), Kyle Mandli (Columbia University)

2021 Early Career Faculty Innovator Program PI Symposium (July 27-28, 2021)

Catalyzing Innovation Through Convergence Research

The Innovator Program led a 2-day symposium that explored interdisciplinary research within the Early Career Faculty Innovator Program, with an eye toward convergent research. The workshop featured presentations from Innovator faculty and small group discussions on the challenges of and strategies for doing convergence research. Outcomes from the symposium are currently being drafted and are slated for publication in 2022.



The Early Career Faculty Innovator Program hosted an oral and a poster session at AGU 2020. Poster presentations are available below.


Convergence research relies on interdisciplinary research teams to solve complex problems focused on societal needs. Synthesizing knowledge, methods, and expertise from different disciplines and forming novel research endeavors with the goal of new scientific discovery is vital to solving wicked problems. Climate science is no different. Increasingly, there have been calls to create interdisciplinary teams to make climate science more convergent.

To achieve integration across disciplinary boundaries, research teams often face common research challenges and barriers some of which can be overcome by development of effective communication strategies, adoption of common frameworks, and even the introduction of a new scientific language to solve large social and environmental problems.


Michala Garrison - Map Storytelling to Improve Climate Change Communication 

Caitlin Grady - Globally Mapped Adaptations across Water, Food, and Energy Systems: Interlinkages, Synergies, and Consequences

Brit Myers - Establishing Support for New Convergence Research Communities

Deana D Pennington - Learning to Converge Across Disciplines

Brian Andrew Reed - Climate for Data Scientists: Leveraging Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Expertise to Provide Decision Support Tools in a Changing Climate