The NOAA Research and Development (R&D) Database (NRDD) is a secure, web-based enterprise tool to house project management data for all R&D conducted by NOAA and its partnerships.

Beginning in 2017, NOAA now has a single repository for consistent, comprehensive information about the projects in its R&D portfolio. NRDD is intended be populated with input from all of NOAA's R&D units, directly and/or through data imports from other systems.  As of July 2019, over 3000 NOAA R&D project records are contained in the database (view the live project dashboard here for the most updated information).

Benefits of NRDD

NRDD was designed to provide the following functions, information and analyses:

  • Share information to improve communication, collaboration, coordination, planning, and integration across NOAA and decrease project redundancy;
  • Identify, track, and facilitate R&D transition projects;
  • Strengthen the linkages between strategy and execution across Line/Staff Offices;
  • Provide corporate performance reporting (as mandated in the reports for Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA), Annual Performance Plan (APP), Annual Operating Plan (AOP), and other ad-hoc requests);
  • Plan and track execution and evaluation of progress towards NOAA goals;
  • Track and align project funds with source(s) of funding;
  • Identify, assess, and mitigate risk;
  • Capture trends in R&D investments;
  • Enable awareness for characterizing and balancing NOAA’s R&D portfolio.

Inappropriate uses of NRDD data

It is important to understand NRDD's intended purpose and limitations. Misuse or misinterpretation of NRDD data may have unintended consequences for NOAA.

NRDD data are limited by incomplete data entry and participation across NOAA.
NRDD launched in 2017, and, as a new system, is still in the socialization process across NOAA.  Thus, Line Office participation varies widely. Furthermore, NRDD data requests were ramped up gradually over the first few years of the database’s existence.  In the 2017 data call, only the subset of mandatory fields were requested. The 2018 and 2019 data calls expanded the data request to include all fields, but compliance across non-mandatory fields was limited.   The upcoming 2020 data call will mark the first time in which most fields are mandatory. It is expected to take 3-4 years for NRDD to reach full compliance and be considered a complete data source.   New fields have since been and will continue to be added, as needed (a full list of fields and when they were added to the database can be found here).

NRDD does not represent an organization’s full portfolio.
NRDD only contains research and development (R&D) projects.  Therefore, any activities being funded or conducted by NOAA that do not fall under R&D will not be entered in NRDD: this includes maintenance of observing/monitoring systems (or other data-generating systems) that are in operations, administrative or other support activities, etc.  Furthermore, the primary NOAA funder is responsible for NRDD project data entry. As such, if an organization is partnering on a project that has not been entered by the primary funder, this activity would not be accounted for within NRDD.

NRDD projects are not meant to represent a standard unit of measure.
An R&D project, as defined by NRDD, must consist of a defined endpoint, objective, and final deliverable; a single active Readiness Level; designated NOAA monies or resources; and a defined timeline.  However, there are no criteria related to the size or cost of a project. Therefore, comparing portfolios by the number of projects can be misleading because projects may vary widely in size, resources, and level of effort.

NRDD is not a budget tracking tool.
While NRDD collects some resource information including total annual planned project cost, supporting internal and external grants, full time employee (FTE) hours, shiptime hours, and HPC hours, these data are estimates and not meant to track or justify budget allocations to NOAA organizations.  Resource information within NRDD is intended to provide context for estimating the size of, and general investment in, a given R&D project.

NRDD History & Authority

In September 2016, the NOAA Science Council voted unanimously to implement a R&D database (then called the Project Data Management System), and former NOAA Chief Scientist Richard Spinrad signed a Memorandum requiring NOAA-wide participation. The database has since been endorsed by the Acting Chief Scientist and current Science Council Chair Craig McLean. NRDD is overseen by the NOAA Research and Development Enterprise Committee (RDEC) of the NOAA Science Council.

The need for a R&D tracking tool is mentioned in multiple NOAA Administrative Orders (NAOs), including NAO 216-105B Policy on Research and Development Transitions and its Handbook, as well as NAO 216-115A Research and Development in NOAA.  NRDD is detailed in the Handbook for NAO 216-115A. 


Please contact nrdd.admin@noaa.gov with any questions.