“The addition of the Cooperative Institute to The University of Alabama’s campus bolsters UA’s position at the epicenter of water research and operations,” said UA System Chancellor Finis St. John. “The opportunity to earn this competitive grant and lead the nation in this transformative work providing exceptional educational opportunities for our students would not be possible without Sen. Richard Shelby’s support to bring the National Water Center and U.S. Geological Survey partners to our campus.”
With transformative support of up to $360 million over the next five years from the federal government, The University of Alabama is poised to become a standard bearer in translating water research into operations that improve the nation’s ability to predict water-related hazards and effectively manage water resources.
The award from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the largest external award in the University’s history, will be administered by the Alabama Water Institute and acknowledges UA’s commitment to make water a signature research and academic focus.
The effort establishes the Cooperative Institute for Research to Operations in Hydrology, or CIROH. Headquartered at AWI, CIROH consists of a consortium of 28 academic institutions, non-profit organizations and government and industry partners bringing together a powerful team of hydrologic researchers across the United States and Canada. They will develop and deliver national hydrological analyses, forecast information, data, guidance and equitable decision-support services to inform essential emergency management and water resources decisions.
“I am thrilled that The University of Alabama has received this competitive award to facilitate a cutting-edge Cooperative Institute focused on hydrology,” said U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.). “UA has the unique environment and expertise to lead the nation in high-level water research between 28 partners. Thanks to the Alabama Water Institute’s leadership in assembling a world-class team, the growing scientific expertise and collaborations in Alabama will continue to benefit the nation. Additionally, NOAA’s efforts to create this innovative institute will, in turn, protect communities and promote wise investments across the nation through better water models, forecasts and predictions. This award is excellent news for Alabama and its findings will influence decisions made across the continent for years to come.”
CIROH will work closely with two federal organizations located on campus — NOAA’s National Water Center and the recently announced U.S. Geological Survey Hydrologic Instrumentation Facility — allowing for highly productive collaboration between AWI and other federal agency scientists.
“The research institutes were established on campus to support and expand upon the great work done by our faculty, staff and students in addressing real challenges facing our society,” said UA President Stuart R. Bell. “This award will elevate those contributions, bringing innovation to such a critical issue as water quality and availability while enriching the educational experience of our students. The expertise of the Alabama Water Institute is positioned well to answer our nation’s call to improve the lives and livelihood of Americans and our partner nations.”
Dr. Steven J. Burian, AWI director of science and professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering, will serve as the executive director of CIROH.