OWAQ Social and Behavioral Science Research to Operations Workshop

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Sep. 4 to Sep. 6, 2019

6:00 pm MDT

Silver Spring, MD
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From the early research on warnings to machine learning algorithms mining social media data, social and behavioral science (SBS) integration into the weather enterprise has a long and meaningful history. Documenting this history and helping to transform the future of SBS, NOAA’s Office of Weather and Air Quality in partnership with the National Weather Service and Federal Highway Administration, funded a National Academies of Science report on Integrating Social and Behavioral Sciences into the Weather Enterprise. Among the findings is a list of barriers to transitioning SBS research that includes a lack of shared understanding between the social and physical scientists, cultural differences between research and operations, and a lack of shared language.

Research to operations (R2O) is a multidimensional process that requires funding research, understanding operational challenges, and ultimately transitioning research findings into NWS operations. Traditionally, the R2O process has emphasized the transfer of technology into operations, as evident by the Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act of 2017 and the Joint Technology Transfer Initiative (JTTI). While technology is important, there are still people, policies, and missions that guide the operational process surrounding these technologies, which may include the transitioning of knowledge, process, and methodology. As such, R2O comes in many forms and requires thoughtful care on where and how research findings can transition, and may ultimately lead to unique transition plans.

At this SBS R2O workshop, we hope to foster lively and interactive discussion toward developing the how-to's of transitioning different types of SBS findings and help build relationships between the NWS and the SBS research community. In doing so, we hope to create mutual awareness for both the NWS and SBS researchers on how to transition SBS research findings and spark a path forward to maximize SBS research value.


The goals of this workshop are:

  • To collectively create tangible best practices and considerations for how to transition different types of SBS research into the NWS.

  • To foster early partnerships and collaboration between the SBS research community and those within the NWS.

  • To develop new ways to transition SBS research.

We hope SBS researchers leave the workshop feeling empowered on how to transition their research findings to operations. For operations, we hope this workshop helps empower you to see the broader utility in SBS research findings and inspires new ways to apply SBS findings across the agency.



In addition to the National Academies Study referenced above, the following resources will help you prepare for the discussions that will take place at the workshop. 
  • For those who are unfamiliar, an overview of social science and social science methodologies.  
  • How social science is used and incorporated at NOAA
  • Handbook on NOAA R2O policies