The application period for the 2022 Summer Institute is now open! Apply here by February 23rd at 11:59 pm ET.

Do you want to learn more about the National Water Center and Summer Institute? Attend the NWC Town Hall Webinar

  • Date: January 19, 2022
  • Time: from 13:00 - 14:50 pm EST (12:00 - 13:50 pm CT)
  • Format: NOAA’s National Water Center (NWC) invites our current and future collaborators to attend a town hall to discuss current initiatives and opportunities for engagement. The town hall will contain a one hour presentation followed by a Q&A portion. Town Hall participants will learn about the NWC’s current development and operations activities and opportunities to get involved.
  • Registration link

The 2022 Summer Institute (SI) will take place from June 13 - July 29, 2022 at the National Water Center in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Student research fellows will work on projects designed to support NWC goals related to water prediction in the U.S.

This is an exciting opportunity for students to work hand-in-hand with national leaders in water prediction, to make meaningful contributions in helping make the United States a “water ready nation,” and to develop life-long collaborations and friendships.

Learn more about the program below. Please reach out to Julia Masterman at with any questions.

  • About the Summer Institute

    The Summer Institute is a partnership between CUAHSI and the National Weather Service to engage the academic community in research to advance the mission of the National Water Center. Summer Institute participants work on projects related to water prediction and flood forecasting. Students work in small teams and are mentored by university faculty and other professionals. Student applications are accepted in the fall of each year.

    Although there may be some overlap between a Summer Institute project and an individual student's academic research, Summer Institute projects generally are self-contained. The Summer Institute culminates in a capstone presentation, as well as a final project report. Most project teams have published their work in a scientific journal after the completion of the program. 

    Review the following resources to learn more about the past Summer Institute Programs: 

  • Program Eligibility and Student Award


    • M.S. and Ph.D. students enrolled in U.S. universities, in hydrology or a related field are encouraged to apply.
    • All participants must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and will be asked to show proof of vaccination at the start of the program. 
    • Students selected to participate are expected to stay onsite in Tuscaloosa Alabama for the program. Housing will be provided. More information on the accommodations will be released prior to the application deadline.
    • Students should also expect to provide their own laptop computer. If this is a limiting factor, we may be able to work with you and provide a device to borrow during the SI.


    Those selected to participate in the Summer Institute will receive: 

    • Reimbursement of travel expenses to and from Tuscaloosa. 
    • A meal stipend while attending the program
    • Accommodations for accepted fellows to reside in Tuscaloosa for the entirety of the program. 

    We encourage involvement from the students' advisors, and as such, CUAHSI will support travel expenses for advisors to attend the SI Capstone event at the end of the Summer Institute.

  • 2022 Program Details and Dates

    The 2022 Summer Institute will be hosted in person. Students will work together on projects supporting the mission of the National Water Center, working closely with national experts in the field.

    Students participating in the Summer Institute will work in teams on projects relating to themes of the SI listed below. While there may be some overlap with the students' individual MS/PhD research projects, the expectation is that the work and research done during the Summer Institute will be a separate, self-contained project. 

    The 2022 Summer Institute will explore projects related to the following themes: 

    • Coupling Inland and Coastal Hydraulics, supporting the goal of summit to sea water prediction
    • The NWC’s Next Generation Hydrologic Model Framework development and evaluation
    • Hydroinformatics, including machine learning, for water prediction and analysis

    We recognize the ongoing uncertainty brought on by COVID.  The Summer Institute will follow all the latest CDC and Alabama guidance in its program planning. If the Summer Institute cannot be held in person, we do not expect to convert to a virtual format.

    General Program Timeline: 

    • Application Period: 
      • January 4, 2022 - February 23rd, 2022, 11:59 pm ET
    • Fellows Notified of Acceptance:
      • March 31, 2022
    • Program Dates: 

      • June 13 – July 29, 2022

  • How to Apply

    Apply to the 2022 National Water Center Innovators Program Summer Institute here

    The application deadline is  February 23rd at 11:59 pm ET.  

    Application Requirements: 

    • Application Form
    • Statement of Interest
    • Transcript
    • Letter of Recommendation from Advisor 
    • CV

    Student applications will be evaluated based on student background, knowledge, training, and experience, as well as the degree to which students have the skills and the abilities to work in a fast-paced, collaborative environment. The ideal participant will be collaborative, curious, and a rapid learner.  

  • Summer Institute Program History and Highlights

    The first Summer Institute, originally called the National; Flood Interoperability Experiment (NFIE), was held in 2015, and focused on the formation of a prototype National Water Model running in the Texas Advances Computing Center of the University of Texas at Austin. The prototype model demonstrated that the discharge on 2.7 million stream reaches of the U.S. could be simulated and forecast in near real-time using input precipitations and weather information produced by NOAA and a computational framework called WRF-Hydro developed at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). The key innovation demonstrated at the first Summer Institute was a hybrid grid-catchment information framework for the National Water Model in which the land-atmosphere computations were carried out on square grid cells covering the continental U.S., and the resulting runoff was geographically transformed onto the 2.7 million catchments of the National Hydrography Dataset Plus (NHDPlus) and routed through the NHDPlus stream network. It was demonstrated that the continental stream network could be treated as a single flow continuum, from atmosphere to oceans and from coast to coast. 

    2015 - The first Summer Institute, called the National Flood Interoperability Experiment, resulted in the development of a National Water Model prototype. 

    2016 - The HAND (Height Above Nearest Drainage) method was coupled with the newly operational; National Water Model to establish, for the first time, the foundation for continuous near real-time flood inundation mapping across the United States. 

    2017 - The third Summer Institute explored how the National Water Model can serve as a bridge between data generators (traditionally modelers who want to ensure the data are as accurate as possible) and data users (those who use data to communicate, plan, and respond), resulting in an unprecedented opportunity to improve the way that water information is exchanged and communicated. View the 2017 technical report

    2018 - The fourth Summer Institute focused on the underlying science of the National Water Model through investigation of National Water Model hydrologic process algorithms, particularly related to the representation of groundwater and river channel processes, as well as modeling at very fine scales. View the 2018 technical report

    2019 - The fifth Summer Institute focused on the themes of Coupled Inland-Coastal Hydraulics, Scaling of Hydrologic Processes, and Hydroinformatics. View the 2019 technical report

    2020 - The 2020 SI was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

    2021 – The 2021 Summer Institute was the first SI to be held virtually. Fourteen SI fellows in 4 teams completed projects relating to Hydroinformatics, Coastal Coupling, Module Development for the Next Generation National Water Model, and Machine Learning. The 2021 technical report is coming soon. 

    Participant Feedback 

    The Summer Institute has been described by participants as a transformative experience. 

    The Summer Institute is an invaluable opportunity for beginning-career hydrologists. I cannot overstate the amount I learned, the increase of confidence in my abilities, introduction to new concepts and methods, and the relationships that I formed during the SI. It is an experience that has made me feel like I am more posed to have an integral contribution to the hydrologic community and has given me direction in my studies and research. I won't forget my experience at the SI for a long time to come. - 2017 Summer Institute Fellow 

    • Take a look at the Story Map describing the experiences of the 2016 Summer Institute Fellows. 
    • Watch the short video created by the 2016 Summer Institute Fellows
  • Contact Us

    Please contact Julia Masterman at with questions.

    We encourage you to sign up for CUAHSI's mailing list to receive important annoucements regarding events and deadlines.

Photo Credits: Emily Clark (CUAHSI), Andy Ernest, Liu Zhu, 2019 Summer Institute Cohort