OU wins $75M for weather research
Laney Ellisor, The Oklahoma Daily
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has selected OU for a research agreement worth up to $75 million, President David Boren announced at a news conference Monday.
The federal funds will go to the Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies through 2016 to advance weather radar research, improve severe storm forecasts and increase understanding of extreme weather and short-term regional climate, according to a press release.
The agreement will maintain employment levels and additional staff could be hired. The grant will involve about 160 jobs, Boren said.
OU has had an agreement with NOAA for five years but had to re-compete for the grant this year. Because OU won the competition, it will not have to compete for the grant in the future, he said.
Oklahoma is ideal for weather research because of its remarkable geological dynamics and volatile weather, NOAA assistant administrator Craig McLean said. However, NOAA selected OU because of its students and its excellence as a research institution, McLean said.
Boren said research grants to OU have increased by 25 percent in the last three years. In the last few weeks alone, OU has won $115 million in research grants.
“We’re talking about 1,000 jobs created by OU Research in the last few weeks,” he said.
To illustrate OU’s research growth, Boren reflected on the weather center itself, which he said was a vacant lot just six years ago.
The afternoon conference was attended by numerous OU deans and administrators as well as Norman Mayor Cindy Rosenthal.
By the numbers
What can $75 million buy?
937,617 — $79.99 weather radios
7,500,000 — $10 umbrellas
600,000 — $125 women’s rain boots
10,791,366 — $6.95 OU ponchos