Innovation is at the heart of the Center, where significant advances in basic and applied research are expected and where commercialization is highly encouraged. The Center will stimulate and encourage innovation in subsurface hydrology.
In fact, the idea of building a research center incubated with endowments and private funding is in itself innovative, just as the founders of the hydrology program were innovative in starting it. Innovative ideas at the Center will be fostered in multiple ways.
First, the director will be selected in part on the basis of his/her creativity and ability to develop a vigorous team-based research program that fits the vision and objectives of the Center and the goal of becoming a center of national stature.
Second, faculty affiliated with the center may seek part-time research appointments with the center to reduce their teaching load and allow them more time to focus on research.
Third, the director may make available discretionary funds on a competitive basis to faculty who submit innovative proposals which support the Center’s goals.
Fourth, research professionals will be hired to fill positions for two to four-year periods to keep fresh ideas coming into the Center.
Fifth, funding from the Center will support sabbatical leaves for six to 12 months for scientists visiting from academia, from the national labs, or from industry who could bring new perspectives to the Center.
And lastly, the Center will host small specialty workshops and conferences that encourage dialogue among leading scientists collaborating together to address a critical issue through transformative thinking, much like the Penrose or Chapman conferences.
In combination, implementing these concepts will provide for cross-pollination of new ideas with NMT faculty, Center researchers and students to create a truly unique innovative environment for hydrologic research. The Center must evolve with the stature of a national lab and with the resources to effect innovation to become the driving force to understand how to best manage water resources in America and indeed the world.