Monday, June 24, 2019

NOAA traces its lineage back to America’s oldest science agency, and our reach extends from the surface of the sun to the bottom of the sea. We study, monitor, and predict changes in Earth’s environment, and provide critical environmental information to the nation. We are stewards of our nation’s fisheries, coasts and oceans. Our work makes a difference in the lives of all Americans. Every day:

  • businesses large and small depend on NOAA’s weather forecasts to make important decisions;
  • fishermen and ship captains go to sea with the benefit of NOAA’s charts and forecasts; 
  • our nation’s ports, through which 90% of the nation’s imports and exports travel, are safer thanks to NOAA information and services; 
  • Americans enjoy fresh seafood caught or grown sustainably in our waters; 
  • coastal tourism thrives in part because of NOAA’s work to protect healthy marine ecosystems that support recreational fishing and boating, bird and whale watching, snorkeling on coral reefs and spending time at the beach; and
  • military leaders, emergency managers, farmers, airline pilots, and so many others depend on NOAA for vital information about weather and weather-related disasters.

R&D at NOAA improves our collective understanding of Earth as a system, improves our ability to forecast weather, climate, and water resources, increase our understanding of ecosystem health, and how these factors affect – and are affected by – people and communities.  It is the utility of the Agency’s science and technology in light of national concerns that makes NOAA so unique.  NOAA conducts R&D to create value for the public through new insights and applications.

Inspired by Use

Use inspired research - scientific research, technology development, and transition to application

At NOAA, we strive for R&D that is “use-inspired,” that is, simultaneously intended to improve our fundamental understanding of the world and yield applications that are useful and used. Research is a valuable input into development and applications, but new technologies and applications are also valuable inputs for research. Research, development and transition activities are part of a system of innovation. Research answers the questions of our stakeholders, it generates ideas for new technologies and new knowledge for particular applications, and it builds our understanding of Earth systems and their components. New ideas from research result in the development of new technologies or more integrated technology systems, and the technologies developed enable new techniques for research. Knowledge and inventions are applied and create value for NOAA and our partners through transition activities, through which we find out what questions are most important for research to answer and what requirements our partners have for new or improved technologies.

When used, the scientific knowledge and technological capabilities that NOAA R&D produce yield benefits in different and complementary ways:
  • Improved operations for NOAA’s mission
  • Direct protection of lives and property
  • Economic growth through innovation
  • Satisfaction of legal mandates

Each of these is addressed in the sections that follow.

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Beyond Oceans & Atmosphere

Because NOAA’s R&D is intended to be used, the Agency must go beyond the physical, chemical, and biological science disciplines to include social sciences.  NOAA seeks to maximize the user benefits of its R&D investments by:

  • understanding and responding to the needs of our stakeholders;
  • articulating the inherent uncertainty associated with research;
  • defining and quantifying the value of its R&D; and
  • improving investments into knowledge and services that can be used by decision makers.

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