Student application details for the 2018 Summer Institute are coming soon! 

CUAHSI is now seeking faculty Theme Leaders for the 2018 Summer Insitute!

Additional information and application instructions can be found here!

The 2017 Summer Institute took place at the University of Alabama and the National Water Center from June 12 - July 28, 2017. Student research fellows collaborated intensively for seven weeks to work on projects designed to contribute to the NWC goals of enhancing water-related products and decision-support services across the country. To facilitate this process, project themes were defined in advance. The Summer Institute was led by faculty theme leads and daily oversight was provided by course coordinators. Following the Summer Institute, students attended the CUAHSI Hydroinformatics Conference at the University of Alabama July 25-27, 2017 to present their work during a special session. 

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 

Continue reading for additional information regarding program structure, student eligibility, and applying for the 2018 Summer Institute. 

Questions can be sent to

  • About the Summer Institute

    The National Water Center Innovators Program was established as a partnership between CUAHSI and the National Weather Service to help engage the academic research community in the enhancement of the National Water Model. The main activity of the Innovators Program is a seven-week Summer Institute (SI) at the National Water Center, which brings graduate students together with faculty advisors and National Water Center staff to conduct group projects that involve rapid prototyping of new ideas. The intent is to create an innovation incubator where students from many universities can exchange ideas and advance concepts that, although they may be analyzed only for a short time and on a small study area, are illustrative of issues that affect the functioning of the National Water Model across the continental United States.

    The first Summer Institute, originally called the National Flood Interoperability Experiment (NFIE), was held June through July of 2015, and focused on the formation of a prototype National Water Model running in the Texas Advanced Computing Center of the University of Texas at Austin. The prototype model demonstrated that the discharge on 2.7 million stream reaches of the United States could be simulated and forecast in real-time using input precipitation and weather information produced by NOAA and a computational framework called WRF-Hydro developed at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. 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 shown that the continental stream network could be treated in real-time as a single flow continuum, from atmosphere to oceans and from coast to coast.

    2018 will be the fourth Summer Institute. Students apply to attend the program in the fall. Selected students then plan to reside in Tuscaloosa for the seven week program from June through July. Students are grouped into teams organized around projects defined by the theme leaders and pre-selected topics. 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 application for student participants will be available later in November of 2017. 

  • Information for Prospective Students

    If you are interested in learning more about the Summer Institute, please take a look at the following resources:

    Questions regarding the Summer Institute can be sent to


  • Tentative Program Schedule

    The schedule below is meant to be provided as an example for prosepective Summer Institute applicants:

    Nov. 1 Student application period opens
    Dec. 18 Last day to submit applications 
    Mid-January Student awards issued
    Mid-February Deadline for students to confirm attendance 
    June 12 Registration and orientation at the University of Alabama
    June 13 Summer Institute begins
    July 21 Summer Institute ends
    July 24 Summer Institute Capstone Meeting 
    July 28 Students move off campus 
  • Program Eligibility

    Applications will be accepted from current and incoming graduate students and post-docs within three years of graduating with their PhD. Applicants must be affiliated with US universities. Applicants who are not US citizens will need to report their visa status. Due to security regulations, all accepted Fellows will be contingent upon a foreign national visitor approval process. Upon acceptance into the program. all participants will need to provide additional security clearance documents and fingerprints. 

    Additionally, students must be able to reside on-site at the University of Alabama for the entire program. 

  • Award

    Students selected to participate in the Summer Institute will receive room, board, and tuition to attend the SI. Dorm-style lodging will be provided at the University of Alabama. Students will have their own bedrooms, but will share a living suite. Due to the scale of the program, CUAHSI is unable to accommodate requests for single occupancy suites or housing for spouses or children. 

    The award also includes travel expenses for the student's advisor to make a trip to attend the bootcamp or Capstone event. 

  • How To Apply

    Application information and instructions will be posted in the fall of 2017.

Photo Credits: Emily Clark (CUAHSI), Andy Ernest, Liu Zhu