Two CU-Boulder Faculty Members Receive National Science Foundation Career Awards

Two University of Colorado at Boulder scientists have received National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development, or CAREER awards.

Assistant Professor David Noone of the atmospheric and oceanic atmospheric sciences department and Assistant Professor Noah Fierer of the ecology and evolutionary biology department received the prestigious awards, which provide recipients with significant monetary grants to further their research. Both Noone and Fierer also are fellows at CU-Boulder's Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences.

The NSF CAREER award supports faculty early in their careers who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research and education as well as the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations.

Noone received a $722,421 CAREER grant to analyze the exchange of water between the land surface and atmosphere to improve climate models and predictions of climate change. He also will deploy a new precipitation-monitoring network in coordination with middle schools in and around Erie, Colo., which is expected to engage students in the scientific process.

"Professor Noone winning this award highlights the excellent research being undertaken by our faculty," said Waleed Abdalati, director of the Earth Science and Observation Center at CIRES. "David's innovative approach to reinventing traditional water cycle research and his enthusiasm for student training continues to gain recognition and stand out at a time when advancing our understanding of climate is so critical."

Fierer received a $655,000 CAREER grant to study the effects of nutrient addition on soil microbial communities. Pollution and farming practices, such as the addition of fertilizers, are leading to inputs of nitrogen and phosphorous in the soil far beyond normal levels. Fierer will look at the impacts of these additions on microbes, which are important organisms for maintaining soil fertility.

"I think it is great that Noah receives this distinction," said Distinguished Professor Norman Pace of the molecular, cellular and developmental biology department. "It's good for everyone -- for Noah, CIRES, his department, and the university. The award is a strong stamp of approval for his work. He is working in an interesting and little-known arena, the interface between humans and the microbial world."

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