Analysis of OAR Transition of Research and Development (FY18)
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Analysis of OAR Transition of Research and Development (FY18)

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    This document is the third NOAA technical memorandum on OAR transitions. Here we inventory all OAR research and development (R&D) projects that have moved to Readiness Level nine - application, operation, commercialization, or other uses - during FY18. The previous two memoranda reported on transitions from January 2013 - July 20141 (Sen 2015) and from August 2014 - July 20172 (Kroll et al. 2018) respectively. Using methods established in the inaugural report, FY18 transitions were categorized based on function, output, application, recipients, and strategic goal. This report also tracks FY18 transitions as they relate to NOAA’s current goals of reducing societal impacts of severe weather and supporting the Blue Economy. During FY18, 66 projects were reported as transitioned to operation. Of these, 57 (86.4%) were consistent with OAR’s definition of transitioned R&D (NAO 216-105B3). This relatively high proportion represents an upward trend in accurately reported transitions; the 2018 memo noted that 71% (101 submissions of 143) of projects fit the R&D transition definition while the 2015 memo noted that only 39% (96 submissions of 244) of projects fit the definition (Figure 1). The increased percentage of reported transitions coupled with the decrease in misidentified submissions indicates that the understanding of transitions within the OAR community continues to improve. Despite the improvement, there still exists confusion surrounding transitions. A few notable gaps persist, including the precise definition of a transition. As in the 2018 memorandum, the nine misidentified submissions from the current report tended to display one of two issues: (1) they were projects with no identified recipient; and (2) they were projects that produced data or routine observations. Finished transitions must have an identifiable end user even if that user consists of multiple or amorphous entities like an academic community or the public. Furthermore, projects that produce data and/or observations are considered research and do not necessarily fall into the category of successful transitions. Exceptions include projects that add data to global databases, such as the global carbon dioxide record, because this further establishes a worldwide standard. OAR continues to engage with the wider NOAA community to promote an understanding of transitions. This memorandum provides a number of transition examples - both accurately reported and misidentified - and also reiterates definitions associated with the R&D transition process, which can also be found in the NOAA Administrative Order on Research and Development Transitions (NAO 216-105B) and its associated handbook (Appendix B, C). Furthermore, the NOAA Research and Development Database (NRDD) has undergone a redesign and includes many improvements aimed at facilitating the process of tracking R&D progress toward transition.
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