NOAA-CREST Center Receives $12.5 Million Grant

NEW YORK - The NOAA Cooperative Remote Sensing Science and Technology Center (NOAA-CREST), a consortium of nine institutions based at The City College of New York (CCNY), was awarded a new five-year funding commitment with a base of $12.5 million from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), officials announced. The award period begins October 1, 2006, and runs through September 30, 2011. An $800,000 add-on grant will bring NOAA's commitment to the Center for 2006-2007 to $3.3 million. The funding, which was awarded through a nationwide open competition, will enable NOAA-CREST to carry on its extensive research in nationally significant remote sensing areas, including climate and air quality, coastal remote sensing, and precipitation and water resources.

NOAA-CREST was initially established in 2001 through a three-year, $7.5 million grant and had received $5 million in subsequent awards. "The CREST research thrusts serve as a platform that provides access to state-of-the-art facilities, education, and research opportunities for all of our graduate students, said Dr. Reza Khanbilvardi, CCNY NOAA chair professor of civil engineering and director of the NOAA-CREST Center. "The new commitment is an indication that NOAA sees us as a partner for the long-haul."

Over the past five years, CREST has become one of NOAA's main cooperative remote-sensing centers, according to Professor Khanbilvardi. It is the only center working on three of NOAA's research thrusts—climate and air quality, coastal remote sensing, and precipitation and water resources. CREST researchers support NOAA's prediction, analysis, and disaster prevention activities in a variety of ways, he noted. The center's activities include developing algorithms for forecasting, developing sensors, calibrating satellite equipment, validating data, and devising new applications and analytical techniques for satellite data. In addition, the center has recruited, mentored, and trained growing numbers of graduate students in NOAA-relevant science, engineering, and technology, with a special emphasis on underrepresented minorities. At the same time, it has worked to develop the pipeline of future researchers by actively recruiting at the high school level.

Established in 2001 through a cooperative agreement with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA-CREST is a partnership joining institutions of higher education, private industry, and the federal government. It has three primary objectives:

  • Conduct research consistent with NOAA's missions
  • Focus on research and training in sensor development, ground-based field measurements, satellite remote sensing, data processing and analysis, and modeling and forecasting
  • Create a framework to recruit and train graduate students from underrepresented minorities for professional opportunities within NOAA and related industries

The City University of New York (CUNY) is the lead institution for the program, with activities conducted at CCNY, Lehman College, Bronx Community College, and the CUNY Graduate Center. Participating institutions are Hampton University, University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez, University of Maryland at Baltimore County, Bowie State University, and Columbia University. Raytheon Corp. is the program's industry partner.

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