ENGINEERING                $400,550,000

The FY 1999 Budget Request for Engineering is $400.55 million, an increase of $42.58 million, or 11.9 percent, over the FY 1998 Current Plan of $357.97 million.

(Millions of Dollars)

Engineering innovation, creativity, and excellence are vital to the nation’s security, economy and quality of life. The Engineering Activity (ENG) invests in research and education activities that develop the next generation of engineers and scientists, spur new technological innovations, and create new enterprises and careers. ENG promotes a holistic infrastructure for discovery and learning that is intellectually stimulating, technically advanced, and culturally diverse by:

Emerging intersections with other disciplines such as biology, economics, and the social sciences are presenting significant new opportunities and challenges for engineering education and research. For example, investigators in biology and engineering are joining forces to create exciting new technologies, with such applications as biosensors that can detect food pathogens, biologically-based electronic devices with the senses of vision, hearing, touch, and smell, and prosthetics for the disabled, such as an artificial retina.

In addition, recent computer-communications technologies have enabled information-rich environments, making possible the sharing of information -- voice, video, and data – across the world. ENG’s investment in these technologies could lead to revolutionary advances in areas such as healthcare, manufacturing, education, and commercial services.

Overall, NSF provides about 33 percent of the total Federal support for fundamental engineering research and education at U.S. universities and colleges. This sustained investment over time will lead to better-trained and educated engineers, new and emerging industrial technologies, and a more diverse engineering community.

In FY 1999 ENG will provide support for three broad themes that describe specific Foundation-wide activities. These include:

Knowledge and Distributed Intelligence (KDI): In FY 1999, ENG will support an increment of $5.0 million for KDI which includes:

 Life and Earth's Environment (LEE): In FY 1999, ENG will increase support for LEE by $9.50 million which includes:  Educating for the Future (EFF): In FY 1999, ENG will increase support for EFF by $12.20 million. EFF includes a range of programs supporting innovative approaches to meeting the challenge of educating students for the twenty-first century. Major emphases for FY 1999 include:  In FY 1999 ENG also increases support for Systemic Engineering Education Reform activities by $1.55 million.

Key Program Functions

ENG supports its ongoing and new activities through the following key program functions:

(Millions of Dollars)
1Includes only administration and management costs charged to R&RA Appropriation. Research Project Support

More than 90 percent of the ENG budget is used to provide grants to individuals, small groups, and centers of researchers focused across many engineering fields. About 2,800 awards are made each year, with an average (annualized) award size of about $80,000, and a duration of about 2.0 years. The increasing complexity of engineering systems is reducing the fraction of research problems that can be meaningfully addressed by the old model of an engineering professor and graduate students working in semi-isolation. A growing number of the research projects supported by ENG are conducted by small groups of engineering researchers and students working across traditional disciplinary boundaries. These collaborations expose undergraduate and graduate students to a team-oriented approach in research.

In FY 1999, Research Project Support increases by $35.96 million to $359.72 million The increase enables ENG to implement efforts to address long-standing concerns about grant sizes by increasing the average size and the duration of the awards and providing more support for researchers, with particular attention to new investigators. These efforts will also contribute to increasing the efficiency of the Foundation's merit review process and achieving greater cost-effectiveness for both NSF and the university community.

ENG will also expand support for cross-disciplinary research focused on cutting-edge technologies including:

In FY 1999, ENG will also invest resources in the following cross-disciplinary activities:  The Small Business Innovation Research program increase of $6.0 million, to $57.65 million, provides funding at the mandated level of at least 2.5 percent of extramural research, as required by P.L. 102-564. The program emphasizes commercialization of research results at small business enterprises through the support of high quality research, across the entire spectrum of NSF disciplines.

Research Project Support also includes funding for the university-based centers indicated in the table below. These centers share several important characteristics: a unifying cross-disciplinary and systems- oriented focus on complex engineering problems, an emphasis on partnerships and knowledge transfer linkages with industry, and significant educational and outreach programs aimed at integrating education and research. They provide an infrastructure that underpins each of the cutting-edge technologies cited above as well as many others.

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The FY 1999 Budget Request includes:

 Research Facilities

 ENG continues to coordinate NSF support for the National Nanofabrication Users Network (NNUN), a network of five university user facilities that offer advanced nano- and micro-fabrication capabilities to researchers in all fields. These facilities enable users to turn creative ideas into experimental reality by providing access, either on-site or electronically, to advanced lithographic, etching, deposition and growth processes, together with the expertise needed to fabricate nanometer-scale structures, custom devices and circuits. So far, the NNUN has provided state-of-the-art nanofabrication user facilities for over 1000 researchers from some 29 states and 7 countries, with increased emphasis in serving the fields of biology and biomedical engineering.

In FY 1999 ENG will provide $2.80 million to the NNUN, an increase of $400,000. The increase will permit the addition of a sixth site to the Network to increase its capability and geographic diversity.

Education and Training

In a world that is increasingly complex, there is a great challenge to educate engineers who are able to assume broad leadership roles in industry and society. Future engineers must be able to work effectively in complex, team-oriented, interconnected environments; hence, a much more integrative and holistic approach to curriculum and course design is needed. As part of NSF’s broad theme of Educating for the Future (EFF), ENG has a multi-faceted strategy to stimulate and enable such reform.

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Support for Education and Training is $34.42 million, increased by $6.05 million from FY 1998. It provides for the following:

In addition to these targeted programs, the FY 1999 request provides substantial support for engineering graduates students through assistantships funded through research project grants.

A total of $2.14 million to support NSF-wide efforts, including $500,000 for Collaboratories for Integrating Research and Education (CIRE). CIRE is a jointly funded program with the EHR activity to establish long-term research and education relationships between minority-serving institutions and NSF-supported centers and facilities.

Administration and Management

The administration and management key program function includes the cost of Intergovernmental Personnel Act appointments and contractors performing administrative functions.