Who We Are

I have a very strong feeling that science exists to serve human betterment and improve human welfare.

-Walter Orr Roberts, founding president of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) and the first director of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)

The Research Applications Laboratory (RAL) is  a world leader in community-driven, end-to-end research. We continually expand the reach of actionable Earth system sciences, and apply our discoveries to solving problems that impact society. Achieving this requires the leadership, inspiration, and diversity of talent to work in a multidisciplinary way with collaborators and stakeholders, building strategic partnerships that flourish well into the future. Just as important as our technology development is our reputation for transferring solutions to society for deployment. This distinction underpins the robust convergent and actionable science we study and deliver.

RAL’s mission is to

  • conduct fundamental and use-inspired research that contributes to the understanding of the Earth system and its interaction with society;

  • extend the capabilities of the scientific community; and

  • transfer knowledge and technology for the betterment of society.

We have successfully integrated the social and natural sciences in developing use-driven solutions to advance the well-being of society. The results of this mission-driven work support, enhance, and extend the capabilities of the scientific community; ultimately  developing and transferring knowledge, tools, and technology for the betterment of life on Earth.

RAL has grown from a small research and development program at NCAR in the early 1980s to its current status as an NCAR laboratory focused on actionable Earth system science. The staff of nearly 200 persons bring a diverse set of skills and deep experience in the physical sciences, Earth sciences, social sciences, artificial intelligence, mathematics, software engineering, project management, and business acumen.  RAL staff work across multiple disciplines to address the impact of weather and climate on issues of critical importance to society, such as water and energy resources, transportation, critical infrastructure, national security, and human health.

RAL Strategic Goals and Priorities

NCAR 2020-2024 Strategic Plan

RAL's Mission

To conduct fundamental and use-inspired research that contributes to the understanding of the Earth system and its interaction with society; extend the capabilities of the scientific community; and transfer knowledge and technology for the betterment of society.

I have a very strong feeling that science exists to serve human betterment and improve human welfare.      
- Walter Orr Roberts, First NCAR Director

Stay Connected

Main Phone
303.497.8422
303.497.8401(fax)

Mailing Address
PO Box 3000
Boulder, CO 80307-3000

Email