Scientific evaluations assess the strength and appropriateness of NOAA's R&D endeavors, as well as make recommendations for improving scientific innovation and output to ensure activities meet NOAA's mission needs (Handbook for NAO 216-115A). Reviews of NOAA’s laboratories and programs include an independent panel of experts, reflecting the importance NOAA places on scientific peer review. The reviews focus on the quality, performance, and relevance of the R&D to assess the robustness and appropriateness of NOAA’s scientific endeavors. Individual NOAA laboratories and science programs are reviewed every five years, per NAO 216-115A, to:
- Evaluate quality, relevance, and performance of research conducted at the laboratory or the science and outreach conducted or funded by the program;
- Evaluate laboratory/program management and impact with respect to stated strategic goals, which may be defined in the laboratory/program’s strategic plan or shaped by an inter-agency working group plan;
- Strategically position the laboratory/program for planning its future science by identifying gaps and emerging areas of science;
- Ensure research is linked to the strategic plan, mission, and priorities of NOAA, the laboratory/program, and the appropriate inter-agency working group(s);
- Deliver evidence to stakeholders of the benefits of NOAA research and development;
- Report collectively on the quality of NOAA science programs;
- Identify common themes and priorities so that NOAA can determine mechanisms, policies, or actions to address corporately.
Feedback gathered during the evaluation process helps shape NOAA’s world-class science. NOAA appreciates the efforts of the organizers and review panels in facilitating thoughtful, independent reviews. A list of NOAA's program and laboratory science reviews can be found on the NOAA Research Council website, along with links to review summary reports and responses.