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Welcome to Office of Science and Technology Integration (OSTI)

photo of Dr. Stephan (Steve)  SmithDr. Stephan (Steve) Smith,
Acting Director


Steve joined the NWS in 1993, and as a branch chief in MDL, has brought diverse and talented people together from different organizations to solve challenging problems. He has led the development and implementation of more than 30 decision support tools and guidance products to enhance NWS operations, for which he has been recognized with the NOAA Administrator’s Award and the DOC Bronze Medal. At the NOAA level, Steve has been a catalyst in improving the transition of research to operations through the creation of policy, processes, and funding initiatives. In 2013, he established the NOAA Virtual Laboratory, a foundational piece of NWS’ R2O-O2R strategy. In 2019, Steve was selected as the Director of the NWS Meteorological Development Laboratory (MDL). Since then he has led MDL which plays a unique and critical role in the evolution of NWS’ operations. Steve continues to be responsible for a large and varied portfolio of R&D projects supporting the Weather-Ready Nation vision to include: the National Digital Forecast Database, the National Blend of Models, NOAA Virtual Laboratory, and Impact-Based Decision Support Services (IDSS) tools such as Inter-Regional Integrated Services Framework (IRIS), and many others.

Steve earned both his Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in Meteorology from McGill University in Montreal, Canada. He received his B.S. in Mathematics and Physical Sciences from the University of Maryland. Before joining NWS, Steve was a Research Associate at the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA) in Fort Collins.




STI modeling

 STI Modeling            

R2O 2015 soo-doh conference


operational proving ground


operational proving ground

 Current Grants       


Meteorological Development Laboratory (MDL)

The Meteorological Development Laboratory (MDL) conducts and sponsors applied research and development for the improvement of diagnostic and prognostic weather information; data depiction and utilization; warning and forecast product preparation; and data and forecast evaluation. Projects involve modern physical, dynamical, and statistical techniques implemented on operational computers. Emphasis is placed on integrated suites of guidance and final products for Weather Forecast Offices, River Forecast Centers, and National Centers. The Laboratory collaborates with other laboratories and centers within and outside of NOAA and actively seeks to identify new techniques in response to NWS mission requirements. The Laboratory provides meteorological support to other elements of the Office of Science and Technology, as required.

STI Modeling

The STI Modeling Program Team is responsible for supporting a variety of NWS modeling and research initiatives to improve weather forecasts. This is accomplished by funding research and education projects to accelerate and advance the development of new models, and foster collaboration among NOAA research scientists, federal labs, operational forecasters and the academic community. Examples of programs managed by this program division include efforts to improve guidance for hurricane track, intensity, and storm surge forecasts; develop an end-to-end air quality forecast capability; advance research to extend forecast skill beyond 8-10 days; and implement a weather-scale, fully-coupled numerical weather prediction system.

Research to Operations (R2O)

The STI Field Driven Research to Operations (R2O) Team is responsible for coordination and management of NWS field-driven innovation and research to operations transition programs. The team works closely with the NWS regional Scientific Services Divisions (SSDs), Office of Water Prediction and NCEP service centers to organize and facilitate projects with Science and Operations Officers (SOOs) and Development and Operations Hydrologists (DOHs) to integrate new or improved science and technology into field operations. The team also provides programmatic support to major NWS R2O initiatives in several areas including aviation weather, lightning, fire weather, and climate.

Operational Proving Ground (OPG)

The Operational Proving Ground (OPG) facilitates testing of advanced operations, services, and science and technology (S&T) capabilities which address the needs of both internal and external users. By creating a streamlined research-to-operations (R2O) and operations-to-research (O2R) process, an iterative, two-way interaction between S&T development and NWS operations is optimized. To be considered for operational implementation, candidate capabilities must successfully introduce a new or enhanced operational capacity with no appreciable negative impact on existing systems and practices. Particular emphasis is placed on applications which demonstrate substantive improvement to one or more of the following: the warning and forecast process, collaborative decision making, risk communication, and/or provision of impact-based decision support services.

Current STI Grants

STI provides funding and oversight to numerous research projects through the NGGPS, HFIP, and CSTAR Programs. Most of these projects are collaborative efforts between university researchers and NOAA scientists.