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What data fields are housed in the NRDD?

The NRDD contains R&D project metadata.  Currently, the data collected in the NRDD include owner information (project title, accountable office, points of contact, project team), project goals (timeline, final deliverables, milestones, performance measures), project description (summary, societal benefits, keywords, URLs), transition information (readiness level tracking, transition plans, adopters), research partnerships (internal and external partner and stakeholder organizations), and strategic plan linkages (NOAA R&D Plans, Next Generation Strategic Plan, DOC Strategic Plans), and estimated resource information (funding lines, grant numbers, planned and actual annual project cost, leveraged resources).  New fields will continue to be added as needed (a full list of fields can be viewed here).

How is 'project' defined in the NRDD? (The Four D's)

A project is defined as: a sequence of tasks that must be completed to attain a certain finite output. In the purview of NOAA research and development, a project is further defined as a planned effort that develops novel knowledge, or improves upon technology or otherwise aims to describe, predict, or explain some specified phenomena and includes hypothesis-driven research. A project is temporary and has a definite beginning and end. It can be managed by one or more people, depending on the complexity. Programs differ from projects in that programs contain multiple projects, though the definition of program and project will continue to be refined as enhancements are made to the NRDD on how projects can be clustered for oversight and information.

A project must have ALL of the following 4 criteria:

  1. a defined objective(s), final deliverable(s), and output(s);
  2. a defined timeline/endpoint (generally up to 4 years, but can be longer for some projects);
  3. a defined budget for the funded project (one or more of the following):
    1. Budget
    2. Personnel working on the project (FTE time or dollars)
    3. Other leveraged resources (e.g., ship or aircraft time)
  4. a single designated Readiness Level at the beginning of the project and expected Readiness Levels at the end of the project (see NAO 216-105B for the definition of Readiness Levels).

Operational systems (e.g., observing systems that are operational) are not considered R&D projects, even if effort and/or funds are spent to maintain these systems, and even if they are generating scientific data. However, each hypothesis-driven endeavor that uses the resulting data to answer a specific scientific question would be entered into the NRDD as its own project. Similarly, any effort to improve upon the operational system technology would be entered as an NRDD project.

Who is responsible for entering a project?

The primary NOAA funding office is responsible for ensuring that the project is entered in the NRDD, but can delegate the project entry to the primary Executing Office (i.e., the NOAA office that is leading/executing the project’s R&D activities).  Other NOAA and external offices that contribute personnel or funds to the project should be entered under the Partners tab.

 As a U.S. Government database that contains fiscal information, the NRDD is restricted by Federal law to NOAA Federal Employees and Contractors only.  It is suggested that each NOAA office designate a NRDD Data Enterer to be responsible for collecting information from PIs at partner institutions and entering it into the NRDD (list of 2023 NRDD Data Enterers can be found here).

Please Note: NOAA’s Cooperative Institute (CI) Office requires that CI project proposals are entered in NRDD before receiving funding (see CI Guidance Memo).  In these cases, projects are entered by the NOAA Project Sponsor, who may differ from the NRDD Data Enterer/POC for the same office.  It is recommended that NRDD Data Enterers/POCs search NRDD to become aware of any new projects that may have been entered on behalf of their office, and work with the NOAA Project Sponsor to ensure those entries are kept up to date.

How are Projects Entered?

Projects can be entered, one at a time, directly into the database via the Create Project tab.  To enter multiple projects at once via Excel, please contact nrdd.admin@noaa.gov to request a bulk project import template. Future releases of the site will contain features to enable more efficient data entry, such as custom template creation and batch editing.

What are Mandatory Fields?

Mandatory fields are data fields which are required by the system to be complete before a project entry can be submitted and approved.  When the NRDD launched in 2017, only a small subset of fields were mandatory.  When the redesigned NRDD was launched in 2019, most fields became mandatory.  The NRDD Fields List details which year each data field became mandatory.

What is an Approved Project?

As a data quality measure, all project entries are submitted upon completion to an organization manager for approval.  The approving manager must be a NOAA Federal Employee with fiscal and managerial oversight of the project (typically at the Deputy Director or Branch Director level), and is responsible for ensuring that the data entered are correct.  Once the project is approved, it will become visible to all NRDD users within the Project Search and Query Builder features.  

For projects entered via the import template, written approval by the approving manager must be sent to nrdd.admin@noaa.gov prior to import, and all projects will be auto-approved upon import.

What is the NRDD Project Manual Entry Workflow?

1.  The project creator/data enterer will open a new project in Create Project and begin entering data.
2.  The data enterer may exit the create project function at any time and return to the project at a later time via the Edit Project feature.
3.  Once all mandatory fields are completed, the project may be submitted to the default (or delegated) organization manager for approval.  
4.  Upon submission, an email alert will be sent to the organization manager.
5.  The organization manager may either approve the project or return it to the data enterer with comments.
6.  Once the project is approved, it will become visible to all NRDD users via the Project Search and Query Builder functions.
7.  To make changes to an approved project, the project must be reopened and will lose its approved status.  Once changes are complete, it will have to be resubmitted for approval. 
8.  Each year, each active project will need to be reopened, updated, and reapproved.

How do I determine the Readiness Level of my project?

Readiness Level (RL) guidance is provided in NAO 216-105B. Questions can be directed to your NOAA Line Office Transition Managers Committee (LOTMC) representative.  The LOTMC has a workshop scheduled for May 2020 to further define RLs and provide additional guidance to NOAA.

What is the policy on Transition Plans?

For more information on R&D Transition Plans, please refer to NAO 216-105B and the accompanying handbook on NAO 216-105b. You may find example transition plans at this link. Questions can be directed to your Line Office Transition Managers Committee (LOTMC) representative.

The keywords I want are not in the NRDD list.

You can request that new keywords be added to NRDD via the Keyword Request Form.  However, keyword requests are only approved on a quarterly basis and are often rejected.  In an effort to keep the list of NRDD keywords to a manageable number, keywords must fit the following criteria: 1. The keyword is not covered by any other NRDD field (for instance, since NRDD has a Hurricane Supplemental field, Hurricane Supplemental is not a needed keyword). 2. The keyword should encompase multiple search terms (for instance, Blue Economy encompasses projects in many areas, such as aquaculture, tourism, habitat, etc.). 3.  The keyword must be relevant to more than one NOAA Line Office.  4.  The keyword must be linked to over 20 projects in NRDD.  

Please note that most queries are conducted using a word or phrase search of the DESCRIPTION FIELDS.  So, if you would like to add custom keywords to your project, you may incorporate or list them within you project description.

How does the NOAA R&D Cycle compare with NASA's Project Life Cycle?

A diagram of how the NOAA Readiness Levels map to NASA's life cycle phases can be found here.