Nevada NASA Programs appoint new Project Director, Dr. Eric Wilcox


Nevada NASA EPSCoR and Space Grant Consortium announce the new Project Director, Dr. Eric Wilcox. Following an internal statewide NSHE search, the Research Affairs Council approved the appointment of Dr. Wilcox, who will take on the role of Project Director while continuing his work at DRI, where he is a Research Professor of Atmospheric Science.

As the Project Director, Dr. Wilcox will lead the multi-year NASA EPSCoR Research Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO), Research Infrastructure Development (RID), Rapid Response Research (R3), potential other NASA EPSCoR Programs and NASA Space Grant projects. As per NASA requirements, the Project Director is the lead PI on NASA EPSCoR and Space Grant awards, providing financial, reporting, and evaluation oversight as well as administrative coordination as needed. In this role, Dr. Wilcox, will align system-wide NASA EPSCoR program activities with state and national priorities in STEM research and education.  These priorities will target research development, economic development and workforce development priorities for the state and NASA Directorates.

“Under the leadership of former project director, Dr. Lynn Fenstermaker, these programs have provided STEM education and NASA-related research opportunities for hundreds of students and dozens of faculty from across NSHE,” said Dr. Eric Wilcox. “I am grateful for the opportunity to contribute to continuing this legacy. I have spent much of my career as a scientist working at NASA, or as part of the broader community of academic researchers involved with NASA, and I am excited to serve in a role where I can grow the number of students and researchers in Nevada engaged with the NASA community.”

Since 2010, Dr. Wilcox has managed DRI’s atmospheric modeling group, leading a broad research program with basic research focused on particulate pollutants, clouds, and climate change, as well as applied research, focused on weather forecasting for industrial safety, agriculture, and renewable energy applications. In this role, he mentors a team of graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and technicians, and has been awarded more than $3.1M in sponsored project expenditures at DRI since 2010 with greater than $3.6M in external funding from NASA to Nevada as principal investigator or co-investigator through 2025.

He serves as a member representative to the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research on behalf of the Nevada System of Higher Education and served as DRI’s Faculty Senate Chair in 2020, leading efforts to determine the long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on faculty and staff. He is also a member of the graduate faculty in the Interdisciplinary Atmospheric Sciences Program at UNR and teaches courses in Atmospheric Modeling and Atmospheric Physics.

Dr. Wilcox earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and a Ph.D. in Oceanography at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD. Prior to joining DRI in 2010, Dr. Wilcox was a physical scientist in the Climate and Radiation Laboratory at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and a postdoctoral fellow at the NOAA Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory at Princeton University. His research addresses the interactions among aerosols, clouds, and precipitation towards a goal of improved understanding of precipitation, cloud variability and radiative forcing of climate at regional scales. This work relies on satellite and in-situ observations, as well as simulations with numerical models of the atmosphere and climate.

About the Nevada System Sponsored Programs and EPSCoR

The mission of the Nevada System Sponsored Programs and EPSCoR is to promote collaboration and multidisciplinary learning among NSHE institutions, and to enable alignment of efforts with the needs of the state to increase research and STEM competitiveness. The goal is to create new opportunities in the State of Nevada for workforce development and promote the development of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines for the state. For more information regarding Nevada EPSCoR please visit:

About DRI

The Desert Research Institute (DRI) is a recognized world leader in basic and applied interdisciplinary research. Committed to scientific excellence and integrity, DRI faculty, students, and staff have developed scientific knowledge and innovative technologies in research projects around the globe. Since 1959, DRI’s research has advanced scientific knowledge, supported Nevada’s diversifying economy, provided science-based educational opportunities, and informed policy makers, business leaders, and community members. With campuses in Reno and Las Vegas, DRI serves as the non-profit research arm of the Nevada System of Higher Education. For more information, please visit