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
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.
Investing in the discovery of
engineering knowledge within and among different fields while encouraging
new avenues of exploration.
Making critical investments
in facilities, networks and people to assure diversity and quality in the
nation’s infrastructure for engineering education and research.
Improving the quality of engineering
education and research by advancing discovery and understanding while concurrently
promoting teaching, training, and learning.
Enabling knowledge transfer
among diverse constituencies and communities, leading to a more inclusive
and robust engineering enterprise that is capable of delivering a greater
return on NSF’s investment.
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.
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
an increase of $1.0 million to support research to address improving access
to information in distributed environments for human centered learning
systems, such as intelligent agents for the Internet.
Learning and Intelligent
Systems: a $1.50 million increment to support research on characterizing
and adapting biological learning and adaptation mechanisms to artificial
systems, and designing intelligent learning systems that can adapt to complex
environments, such as sensor-based closed-loop control of manufacturing
processes and systems.
New Challenges in Computation:
a $2.50 million increase to support fundamental research using multimedia
and information technologies to develop test-bed applications for high-end
computing in scaleable shared problem solving environments. This would
include research to define design languages, interface formats and systems
and controls that will enable the reliable design and manufacturing of
components at remote facilities.
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:
Urban Communities: an
increase of $2.0 million to support research on understanding and responding
to stability and change within an urban environment. Research topics include:
collection and integration of in situ long term performance data; life
cycle analysis and sustainability of urban systems; predictive models and
intervention strategies for integrated urban systems; and understanding
and responding to major technological changes.
Systems: an increment of $4.0 million to support research focused on
developing materials and manufacturing processes that avoid pollution,
produce effluent that is readily degraded into environmentally benign substances
and convert effluent from one process into raw materials for another. Of
particular interest is the development of rapid and accurate on-line sensing
techniques for biological agents that could be applied in areas as diverse
as food processing and safety.
Integrated Research Challenges:
an increment of $3.0 million to support research on understanding the complex
interplay between short-term phenomena and longer-term trends; for example,
modeling the process of deterioration of materials and structures caused
by environmental effects (e.g. microorganisms, sunlight, corrosion, etc.)
and using this knowledge to develop accelerated life cycle assessment techniques
for facilities and structures.
Life in Extreme Environments
(LExEn): an increment of $500,000 to support research to gain an understanding
how extremeophiles could be used productively; for example, reducing the
biological deterioration of engineered systems and using biological agents
to improve the performance of such systems.
In FY 1999 ENG also increases
support for Systemic Engineering Education Reform activities by $1.55 million.
Integration of research and
education: an increment of $8.65 million which includes support for
an ENG initiative for individual researchers and research groups to promote
enhanced linkages between research and education.
an increment of $2.0 million which includes support for the new Education
and Training Technologies partnership with the Department of Education.
Key Program Functions
ENG supports its ongoing
and new activities through the following key program functions:
(Millions of Dollars)
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:
Nanotechnology: This research
thrust focuses on the control of properties at the atomic/molecular level,
their assembly into nanostructured materials, and utilizing the improved
materials as building blocks for engineering applications, such as thin
films and coatings, advanced chemical catalysts, artificial biomaterials,
and novel optoelectronic devices. Increased funding of $3.0 million, over
a base of about $20.0 million in FY 1998, will permit investigations of
new concepts and methods for the generation of functional nanostructures
and the fabrication of nanostructured materials, components and devices
with unusual properties.
implants, artificial tissues
and organs, and novel biosensors. It also covers research on the integration
of sensor-based systems and biological systems to develop devices, such
as an artificial retina and other prosthetics, that are controlled by human
neural systems. An increase of $3.0 million, over a base of about $25.0
million, will be used for research to improve understanding of the design
principles of biological materials and processes.
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.
A total of $36.60 million, the
same level as FY 1998, will be invested in the early development of academic
faculty. This will be implemented largely through the Faculty Early Career
Development (CAREER) program, which supports junior faculty within the
context of their overall career development and combines the integrated
support of quality research and education.
Increased funding of $1.75 million,
to about $20.55 million in FY 1999, for the Grant Opportunities for Academic
Liaison (GOALI) program. GOALI facilitates the exchange of university and
industry personnel by supporting a balanced spectrum of collaboration,
ranging from visits to full-scale cooperative projects.
Increased support of $900,000,
to a total of $6.50 million, for the Research Experiences for Undergraduates
(REU) program, to involve 200 additional students in research activities.
Through this experience the students gain an appreciation for both academic
and industrial research plus motivation to pursue graduate studies.
$2.0 million to finance the
new Education and Training Technologies partnership, a joint program with
the Department of Education that focuses on enhancing educational technologies
at the K-12 level.
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.
(Millions of Dollars)
The FY 1999 Budget Request
$6.0 million to support three
earthquake engineering research centers at $2.0 million per year each to:
provide knowledge to mitigate damage to the built environment; provide
outreach to the private, educational and government sectors; and educate
professionals for cross-disciplinary careers. Total ENG support for the
National Earthquake Hazards Reduction program (NEHRP) is about $19 million.
A total of $55.80 million, an
increase of $3.24 million over FY 1998, to support 22-24 university-based
Engineering Research Centers (ERC). The ERCs provide an alternative educational
culture where students work in cross-disciplinary teams, in collaboration
with industry, and to address engineering systems issues. These centers
involve partnerships with 700 firms. NSF provides 27% of the total support
to the centers, with the other support coming from industry, other Federal
agencies, the universities, and the states. In FY 1999, support for four
centers will be terminated and four to six new centers will be established.
One or two of these new centers will be focused on advancing teaching/learning
technology and model curricula in challenging fields of engineering, such
as the emerging field of bioengineering and the more traditional field
of civil infrastructure systems.
$6.8 million, a $940,000 decrease,
for the Industry/University Cooperative Research Centers (I/UCRC). This
support reflects an increase in support for the traditional I/UCRCs of
$810,000, offset by a planned decrease in support for the State I/UCRCs.
The program as a whole will support 45 traditional I/UCRCs and six State
I/UCRCs in FY 1999. These highly leveraged centers form close-knit partnerships
with their industrial members. For example, in 1996 - 1997 faculty in 75
universities across the country worked with 750 firms on projects which
are highly relevant to their industrial partners' needs. The increase in
support for the traditional I/UCRCs will provide funding for projects,
which link different centers' research. A growing feature of this program
is the creation of multi-university centers, which provide industry access
to researchers in a small cluster of universities across the country.
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.
(Millions of Dollars)
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
$24.88 million for Systemic
Engineering Education Reform, an increase of $1.55 million. A
key element in improving the quality of engineering education involves
ENG’s efforts to catalyze the academic community to reform the engineering
curriculum. In FY 1999, ENG plans to continue funding of the existing Engineering
Education Coalitions but with special attention to institutionalizing successful
educational innovations. Plans also include supporting fresh approaches
aimed at broadening graduate education and enabling greater inter-institutional
communication and sharing of systemic reform approaches for undergraduate
$3.0 million for a new
initiative to support engineering investigators to pursue the integration
of education and research (for example, student projects, course and curriculum
development, etc.) through supplements to individual and group research
$4.40 million for graduate fellowships
and traineeships, including:
$ 2.0 million, an increase of
$1.0 million, to support the Integrative Graduate Education and Research
Training (IGERT) Program. IGERT reflects an emphasis on multidisciplinary
training in all areas of NSF-supported research.
$2.40 million, unchanged from
FY 1998, to provide fellowships for graduate students, especially women,
to pursue doctoral studies in engineering.
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.