INTEGRATIVE ACTIVITIES $161,230,000
The FY 2000 Budget Request for Integrative Activities (IA) is $161.23 million, a decrease of $200,000 from the FY 1999 Current Plan of $161.43 million.
(Millions of Dollars)
In FY 1999, NSF created a new budget activity within the Research and Related Activities Appropriation, Integrative Activities. IA supports emerging cross-disciplinary research efforts and major research instrumentation, as well as provides support for the Science and Technology Policy Institute. IA also included funding which was made available through the Intellectual Infrastructure fund.
This restructuring facilitates improved management and coordination of these activities across the Foundation, and explicitly recognizes the importance of these types of integrative efforts to the future of science and engineering.
Integrative Activities includes support for the following programs:
(Millions of Dollars)
In FY 2000, NSF will sponsor a $50.0 million focused initiative on biocomplexity that facilitates interdisciplinary efforts that span temporal and spatial scales, consider multiple levels of biological organization, cross conceptual boundaries, use contemporary and emerging technologies, and link research to environmental decision making. In FY 1999, NSF also recognized this need for focused research on biocomplexity, and is supporting research in this area through the Opportunity Fund.
The dynamics of biological complexity and its role in environmental systems are critical to a full understanding of living organisms and of the vital natural resources such as food and fiber that biological systems provide, and upon which humans depend. Advancing our understanding of the nature and role of biological complexity demands increased attention and new collaborations of scientists from a broad spectrum of fields — including biology, physics, chemistry, geology, hydrology, mathematics, statistics, engineering, computation, and social sciences. Such collaborations can capitalize on the advent of powerful new and emerging technologies, including genome sequencing, new computational algorithms and mathematical methods, sensors and monitoring devices, and remote sensing, that have greatly enhanced our ability to understand ecosystem complexity and dynamics. The multidisciplinary biocomplexity initiative will apply the latest tools and insights developed across all fields of science and engineering to the study of environmental systems.
The FY 2000 competition will emphasize enhancing our analytical and predictive capabilities by integrating knowledge across disciplines. Observational capabilities will be expanded and upgraded to support such integrated efforts.
NSF’s Opportunity Fund was created in FY 1995 to support innovative, cross-disciplinary research and education through small, focused competitions, and to assist the Foundation in responding quickly to emerging or unique opportunities in science and engineering. The Fund has been used to stimulate interest and participation in a number of targeted research and education efforts. These efforts have ranged from research in optical science and engineering, to awards for Collaborative Research on Learning Technologies, to Recognition Awards for Integration of Research and Education, to awards to support research on Knowledge and Distributed Intelligence. All NSF activities have participated in efforts supported through the Opportunity Fund.
Some of the efforts initially funded through the Opportunity Fund were later incorporated into ongoing NSF programs; others are one-year pilot efforts or experiments. For example, an FY 1995 effort on Water & Watersheds which supported research on the natural and anthropogenic processes that govern the quantity, quality, and availability of water resources, and an understanding of ecosystems that comprise watersheds, has become incorporated in an interagency announcement of opportunity with EPA. An FY 1997 effort on Life in Extreme Environments which enabled interdisciplinary research on living systems in extreme environments, such as the polar regions and around deep sea vents, was one of the activities leading to the current research effort on biocomplexity. On the other hand, in FY 1998, Collaboratives to Integrate Research and Education (CIRE) was a pilot effort to explore ways of linking minority-serving institutions with NSF-funded centers and facilities to focus efforts on diversity of the science and engineering workforce in all NSF programs. NSF is exploring how to extend the lessons learned through CIRE into future programming.
In FY 1999, the Opportunity Fund totals $30.0 million, $24.0 million in R&RA through Integrative Activities and $6.0 million through the Education and Human Resources Appropriation. NSF has identified a number of promising areas which will receive support through the Opportunity Fund in FY 1999 through small, focused competitions, including: data and scientific visualization; wireless technology and information networks; biocomplexity; Arctic contaminants; urban communities education and research; and graduate and undergraduate student participation in K-12 education.
In FY 2000, $32.0 million will be provided for the Opportunity Fund within R&RA through Integrative Activities. An additional $8.0 million for the Opportunity Fund will be provided through the Education and Human Resources appropriation, for a total FY 2000 Opportunity Fund of $40.0 million.
Major Research Instrumentation
The Major Research Instrumentation Program (MRI) is designed to improve the condition of scientific and engineering equipment for research and research training in our nation’s academic institutions. This program seeks to improve the quality and expand the scope of research and research training in science and engineering, and to foster the integration of research and education by providing instrumentation for research-intensive learning environments. In FY 2000, NSF will provide $50.0 million for this ongoing program to support the acquisition and development of research instrumentation for academic institutions.
Science and Technology Centers
NSF created the Science and Technology Centers (STC) program in 1989. STCs support university-based multidisciplinary research, encouraging knowledge transfer to non-academic sectors of society, and establishing innovative education activities. The centers have become focal points for their respective communities by providing facilities, instruments, and venues for interactions. Education and research have become tightly interwoven at the centers and a large cohort of students has graduated with special capabilities gained through the centers. Collaborations with industrial scientists and engineers at national labs have become commonplace, resulting in new technologies, products, and jobs. Most importantly, the centers have successfully attacked complex, major research problems that require sustained high levels of research support.
In FY 2000 NSF will provide $25.0 million to support a new class of Science and Technology Centers, in topics across the range of disciplines supported by NSF. Funds for this new class of centers will be made available through the planned phase-out of funding for mature centers, which were supported through the disciplinary programs.
Science and Technology Policy Institute
The Science and Technology Policy Institute (STPI) is a Federally-Funded Research and Development Center established in 1992 by Congress to support the complex task of devising and implementing science and technology policy. Originally named the Critical Technologies Institute, the Institute was renamed by Congress in FY 1998.
The Institute provides analytical support to the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to identify near-term and long-term objectives for research and development and identify options for achieving those objectives. The analytical work of STPI is focused on informing policy decisions within three overlapping themes: (1) the conduct of fundamental science and the development and use of technology; (2) the contributions of science and technology to achieving major societal goals; and (3) policies that influence the support, conduct, and use of science and technology. NSF provides budgetary support, as well as financial and management oversight, for STPI. The RAND Corporation, the present contractor, operates the Institute as a separate entity.
The FY 2000 Request includes $4.23 million for STPI, the same level as FY 1999, for analytic activities in support of OSTP and the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) initiatives in key areas where policy decisions are anticipated, such as:
· Analysis to support the fifth National Critical Technologies Review.
· Analysis of technologies that may help elderly citizens to maintain independent living.
· Analytical support to OSTP during the policy formulation process for U.S. space policy on such critical matters as the use by foreign governments of U.S. built and operated space systems.
· Continuing exploration of security issues related to critical infrastructure by examining new security, public safety, and privacy issues emerging from the information revolution, such as gauging the impact of the Y2K computer 'bug' on the digital economy.
The Institute also operates the RaDiUS data system, described in a report issued by the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) as "the first comprehensive, real-time accounting of federal R&D activities and spending.” In FY 2000, $1.5 million of the STPI request will be used to provide continuing access to the RaDiUS system to users in the federal R&D community. During FY 1999, RAND will work with NSF and OSTP to establish and convene a RaDiUS Oversight Committee, to advise on the operations and continued improvement of RaDiUS, including such matters as data improvements, system enhancements, resource requirements, and guidelines for user access.
Other Integrative Activities
In FY 1999, two additional items were supported through Integrative Activities. A focused competition in Knowledge and Distributed Intelligence provided $44.0 million in support for research in three foci: Knowledge Networking (KN); Learning and Intelligent Systems (LIS); and New Computational Challenges (NCC). Research funded through this competition will enhance opportunities for providing rapid and efficient access to enormous amounts of knowledge and information; studying vastly more complex systems than was hitherto possible; and increasing in fundamental ways our understanding of learning and intelligence in living and engineered systems.
In addition, in FY 1998 $39.20 million in the Intellectual Infrastructure Fund was made available by the Congress to the National Science Foundation to support networking activities, including Next Generation Internet at colleges and universities across the country. These funds – currently the subject of litigation – were carried forward into FY 1999 and will be used for grants and awards in response to proposals for connection to high speed computing networks, research and technology development with respect to high speed networking and related applications, and testbed development.
· CAREER: Almost $100 million in support across the Foundation is targeted for young investigators through the Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) program. CAREER supports junior faculty within the context of their overall career development and combines, in a single program, the integrated support of quality research and education.
· REU: Support for the Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program, which involves undergraduate students in research activities, increases by 4.2 percent to about $37 million.
· IGERT: Approximately $29 million is provided for the Integrative Graduate Education and Research Training (IGERT) program which provides support for universities to engage graduate students in interdisciplinary science and engineering research.
· RUI: Approximately $23 million in FY 2000 will support the Research in Undergraduate Institutions (RUI) program, which provides research support for faculty at predominantly undergraduate institutions.
Funding Profile for Integrative Activities
The programs and activities supported through Integrative Activities range widely, and differ from year to year. Further, many of these efforts are emerging programs or one-year pilot efforts.
For example, in FY 1998, projects funded through the Opportunity Fund within IA included such efforts as Awards for the Integration of Research & Education in Baccalaureate Institutions (10 awards of $500,000 each); Vertically Integrated Grants for Research & Education in the Mathematical Sciences (six awards of $250,000 each); and awards for workshops on emerging fields (two awards of less than $100,000 each). Other activities funded through IA included an award to the Science and Technology Policy Institute (one award of $2.73 million), and activities supported through the Intellectual Infrastructure Fund (28 awards; ranging in size from $67,832 to $7.85 million, with an average size of $1.05 million).
It is thus difficult to present a meaningful aggregate funding profile for this budget activity. However, FY 1998 data for the Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) program are shown below. Since this is an established program, more comprehensive data exists. Note that since the MRI program is managed through the disciplinary programs, these efforts are also inherent in the Activity profiles.
Funding Profile for Major Research Instrumentation Program
In FY 1999, NSF has restructured the Research and Related Activities (R&RA) account by creating a new budget activity, Integrative Activities (IA). This new Integrative Activities line includes support for FY 1999 efforts such as a centralized Knowledge and Distributed Intelligence (KDI) competition, Major Research Instrumentation (MRI), and the Opportunity Fund. The Integrative Activities line also includes the $39.2 million from the Intellectual Infrastructure Fund, and $4.23 million for the Science and Technology Policy Institute (formerly the Critical Technologies Institute).
This restructuring facilitates improved management and coordination of these activities across the Foundation, and explicitly recognizes the importance of these types of integrative efforts to the future of science and engineering. This restructuring also responds to Congressional concerns about the management and funding of the Major Research Instrumentation program and the Opportunity Fund.
A crosscut showing FY 1999 funding for this new budget activity is shown below.
Research and Related Activities
(Millions of Dollars)
BIO: Biological Sciences
CISE: Computer and Information Science
MPS: Mathematical and Physical Sciences
SBE: Social, Behavioral & Economic Sciences
USPRP: U.S. Polar Research Program
USALSA: U.S. Antarctic Logistical Support
IA: Integrative Activities
STPI: Science & Technology Policy Institute
R&RA: Research and Related Activities