The success of the Unified Forecast System (UFS) depends on the communities of researchers and users in both the public and private sectors. This requires that the forecast goals and development needs of the UFS be documented and provided to the research community (operations to research, O2R). It is also necessary to provide the pathway for community research to contribute to the operational forecast models (research to operations, R2O).

The history of community contributions to the operation system teaches us how the transitions have worked and reveals many ways that the transitions could be improved. In “Organizing Research to Operations Transition,” the UFS Steering Committee identifies the functions that are needed to support and improve the interfaces between research and operations. These are outlined as an approach to use the upcoming implementation and development plans to improve community support. The goals include improved community engagement and participation, and the acceleration of the use of essential research successes to improve forecast skill.