R&D

NOAA seeks comment on 5-year R&D plan

lighthouse in a storm

NOAA, the agency that studies storms and other weather phenomena, is seeking public input on its planned R&D strategy for the next five years. (Stock image)

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is seeking public input on the plan that will govern its research and development decisions over the next five years.

The government's oldest scientific agency has released a draft of its next five-year R&D strategic plan in an effort to solicit public feedback that might help the agency better plan for 2013 to 2017. NOAA wants to release the final version of the document in the summer of 2013.

The draft R&D plan comes a month after the Obama administration's Fiscal Year 2014 budget increased NOAA's R&D funding up to $733 million, a $159 million hike from pre-sequestration dollar values in 2012.

The draft outlines the R&D strategy and details specific goals the agency wishes to fulfill from its R&D efforts, including major questions the agency must answer to achieve each goal.

"R&D at NOAA [is] directed toward the Agency's outcome-oriented goals for climate, weather, oceans, and coasts, as well as its capability-oriented enterprise objectives," the R&D draft states."The requirements for new knowledge and technology are defined by a series of key questions that respond to each goal or objective, as illustrated in the outline of NOAA's R&D strategy presented below. The reader will notice the breadth of environmental and societal outcomes NOAA strives to achieve, as well as the broad scientific expertise needed to address the questions that follow."

The document suggests that NOAA's R&D success hinges on fundamental principles that include scientific integrity, integration, innovation inside and outside government, balance between long- and short-term programs, collaboration with scientific and private sector entities and active management.

Among the key goals in the plan:

• For Climate Adaptation and Mitigation: An informed society anticipating and responding to climate and its impacts.

• For a Weather Ready Nation: Society is prepared for and responds to weather related events.

• For Healthy Oceans: Marine fisheries, habitat, and biodiversity are sustained within healthy and productive ecosystems.

• For Resilient Coastal Communities and Economies: Coastal and Great Lakes communities are environmentally and economically sustainable.

• For Stakeholder Engagement: An engaged and educated public with an improved capacity to make scientifically informed environmental decisions.

• For Environmental Data: Accurate and reliable data from sustained and integrated Earth observing systems.

• For Environmental Modeling: An integrated environmental modeling system.

"NOAA's strategic goals, and the key questions guiding R&D toward these goals, are the foci for integrating the work from NOAA programs, laboratories, and science centers, cooperative institutes, grantees, contractors and other partners," the document states. "Within this framework of strategic goals and questions, the R&D objectives and targets are actively managed through a corporate system for Strategy Execution and Evaluation (SEE) including regular planning, budgeting, monitoring, and evaluation activities."

The comment period is May 3 through June 3, during which any member of the public can submit feedback.

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