Key Program Functions and NSF's Goals
NSF's Strategic Plan, NSF in a Changing
World, identifies three long-term goals to guide the agency's
activities. Wise investments in each of the key program
functions are needed to further each of NSF's long-term goals.
The three goals, and the nature of each key program function's
contribution to it, are:
Enable the United States to uphold
a position of world leadership in science, mathematics, and engineering.
- Investments in Research Project
Support fund the cutting edge research that translates into world
leadership. They help to maintain the nation's capacity to excel
in science and engineering, particularly in academic institutions.
- Investments in large multi-user
research facilities provide physical and institutional capabilities
necessary for scientists and engineers to carry out world-class
- Investments in Education and Training
help ensure an adequate, well-trained workforce of scientists
and engineers that can maintain leadership in science and technology,
both now and in the future.
Promote the discovery, integration,
dissemination, and employment of new knowledge in service to society.
- The store of knowledge produced
by NSF-funded research projects provides a rich foundation for
broad and useful applications of knowledge and the development
of new technologies.
- NSF-supported facilities spawn research-driven
technological breakthroughs in instrumentation.
- NSF's programs in Education and
Training produce scientists and engineers knowledgeable about
the most recent scientific and technical advances. These highly
trained people then reach every sector of society, and actively
disseminate and use that knowledge in the service of innumerable
Achieve excellence in U.S. science,
mathematics, engineering, and technology education at all levels.
- Research Projects contribute to
the education and training of the next generation of scientists
and engineers by giving them the opportunity to participate in
discovery-oriented projects. NSF centers provide an alternate
and enhanced environment for broad interdisciplinary education
at all levels.
- NSF-supported facilities are the
site of many science and engineering students' research and mentoring;
they also enhance public awareness of science and the goals of
- In addition to the training of the
next generation of excellent scientists and engineers, NSF strives
to enable all U.S. students to become well-informed, scientifically
and technologically literate citizens.
NSF's Administration and Management
function is critical to the achievement of all the goals and investments.
NSF strives to make informed and efficient investment decisions
in order to get maximum return across the whole of NSF's portfolio
Back to the Key
Program Functions page
Next Section: Key
Program Functions and NSF's Core Strategies