specific readings. Successful dialogues might develop into pilot programs and eventually into networks or formal organizations linking information providers and users.
Federal agencies can begin their efforts to develop decision support systems for their constituencies by adopting the mechanisms identified in Box 2-3 (above), building from initial dialogues, needs assessments, or workshops to pilot projects and then to larger or more permanent activities as judged appropriate, roughly as has been advised for NOAA’s SARP activity (National Research Council, 2008d). The national decision support initiative we propose (described in Chapter 5) would include a program of grants to nonfederal groups, both governmental and nongovernmental, to initiate development of climate-related decision support systems for their constituencies, following a similar developmental process beginning with dialogues, workshops, or needs assessments and moving to pilot projects and beyond. Such a program would allow for innovative efforts, including web-based communication networks and centralized or interactive information systems for particular constituencies; coordination of networks; and public–private partnerships. Applicants would be asked to demonstrate that their activities would provide new, needed, and more useful climate information to an identified constituency; contribute to the development of lasting decision support networks or other institutions; and, for pilot projects, have a likelihood of becoming self-supporting.