The National Science Foundation requests $4.572 billion for Fiscal Year 2001, $675 million or 17.3% over FY 2000. The FY 2001 Budget Request will invest in the innovative ideas, outstanding people and cutting-edge tools that our nation needs for a 21 st Century research and education enterprise - an enterprise that paves new roads to discovery, addresses national science and engineering priorities, and commits itself to a world-class science, engineering, and technology workforce. NSF’s investments reflect the Foundation’s three strategic goals:
NSF’s investments in Ideas, People and Tools work in concert to support the agency’s mission to maintain U.S. leadership in all aspects of science and engineering research and education. Funding levels associated with the Foundation’s three strategic goals are shown in the table below.
NSF Funding by Strategic Goal
(Millions of Dollars)
These goals are implemented through NSF’s five appropriation accounts. Funding levels for each of NSF’s appropriation accounts are shown in the table below.
NSF Funding by Appropriation
(Millions of Dollars)
Everyone marvels at the speed and vitality of today’s powerful, high-tech economy that has created unprecedented wealth and millions of new, high paying jobs. The United States today is in the midst of the longest peacetime economic expansion in our history. In a speech last spring, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said that the “phenomenal” performance of the U.S. economy, with its strong growth, low inflation, low unemployment, and high business profits, is due in large part to technological innovations.
Today’s innovations are the outgrowth of discoveries made in the fundamental scientific and engineering disciplines over the last quarter century or longer. For example:
NSF investments in ideas, people, and tools have produce world-class achievements throughout the latter half of the 20 th century. NSF-supported researchers have been awarded over 100 Nobel Prizes in physics, chemistry, physiology, and economics; and over half of the Turing awardees have received NSF support. (The Turing Award recognizes contributions of lasting and major technical importance to the computer field.) Just as today’s economic success is fueled by yesteryear’s science and engineering achievements, so our dreams for tomorrow will be enabled by today’s achievements. As Vannevar Bush wrote 50 years ago, “Science is an endless frontier;” there will be more exciting opportunities in the future because of research investments made today. For example:
In the new century, NSF faces daunting challenges and breathtaking possibilities: responding to emerging opportunities, broadening scientific participation by all members and regions of our nation, strengthening the connections between scientific discovery and technological innovation, modernizing the nation’s research and education infrastructure, and positioning the U.S. to benefit from the global investment in science, engineering, and technology. The FY 2001 Budget Request will allow the NSF to meet these challenges with a combination of strengthened support of core investments and focused initiatives that address particular opportunities.
Highlights and Priorities
The FY 2001 Budget Request builds on NSF’s strength as the only agency of the federal government exclusively devoted to promoting basic research and education at all levels and across all fields of science and engineering.
Investing in People
People are NSF’s most important product. At NSF, placing research and learning hand in hand is our highest priority, and the people involved in our projects represent both the focus of our investments and the most important products of them. Across the Foundation’s programs, NSF provides support for almost 200,000 people, including teachers, students, researchers, post-doctorates, and trainees. Support for programs specifically addressing NSF’s Strategic Goal of “People -- A diverse, internationally competitive and globally-engaged workforce of scientists, engineers and well-prepared citizens” totals more than $887 million in FY 2001, an increase of almost 11 percent over FY 2000. A major focus for these activities is in the Education and Human Resources (EHR) account. The EHR efforts are integrated with complementary activities across the Foundation where the research directorates contribute over $300 million of the $887 million toward the People goal. Moreover, about 40 percent of the funding for research grants -- an amount approaching $1 billion in FY 2001 -- provides support for researchers and students, including more than 61,000 post-doctorates, trainees, and graduate and undergraduate students.
Strengthening Core Investments
The request devotes $320 million to increases in core disciplinary research that extends the frontiers of science and engineering. These activities sustain the flow of new discoveries that fuel the development of new technologies, lead to new markets and new tools for discovery and learning, and make possible interdisciplinary initiatives. For example, we are now relying increasingly on fundamental mathematics to understand key aspects of living systems - such as how microbes develop drug resistance and how viruses (e.g. HIV) can become dormant and undetectable for long periods.
Examples of investment in core research include:
These funds will support merit-reviewed research across the full NSF portfolio and will help provide balance across all science and engineering fields. The $320 million increase, coupled with the $355 million increase for focused initiatives, described below, will support a greater number of researchers and educators who will help enable tomorrow’s breakthroughs. Grant size and duration will also be increased to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the academic research enterprise. In addition, NSF will pay increased attention to broadening and diversifying participation in all of its programs, including increasing the proportion of research grants going to new investigators - an ongoing goal for the Foundation.
In FY 2001, in addition to support for core research, education and tools, NSF will emphasize priority investments in four interdependent initiative areas - Information Technology Research (ITR), Nanoscale Science and Engineering, Biocomplexity in the Environment (BE), and 21 st Century Workforce. These areas combine exciting opportunities in research and education with immense potential to generate important benefits to society. Because the Foundation is committed to these areas, $135 million has been reallocated from the base to be added to $355 million of new funding.
Funding levels for each of these initiative areas are shown in the table below:
NSF Funding by Initiative
(Dollars in Millions)
Additional FY 2001 Highlights
Major Research Equipment. In the Major Research Equipment account we will add over $45 million including almost $30 million to begin two new projects - EarthScope: USArray and San Andreas Fault Observatory at Depth (SAFOD) and the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON). EarthScope: SAFOD/USArray is an array of instruments that will allow scientists to observe earthquake and other earth processes at much higher resolution. NEON is a pole-to-pole network with state-of-the-art infrastructure platforms and equipment to enable 21 st Century ecological and biocomplexity research. In addition, support will be provided to continuing projects.
Cyber Security for the 21st Century - Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP). In FY 2001 NSF, in partnership with the Office of Personnel Management, is developing a new program that will offer college scholarships to students with concentrations in information security in exchange for their public service after graduation. This program will create a new generation of computer security specialists who will work to defend our nation’s computer systems and networks. For this interagency initiative, NSF will invest $11.2 million. In addition, NSF will invest approximately $33 million for research on computer security.
GLOBE. NSF continues its participation in the interagency Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment Initiative (GLOBE) program, providing $2 million in FY 2001. GLOBE provides environmental science education to K-12 students in more than 3,500 schools and 45 countries.
H1-B Nonimmigrant Petitioner Fees. As provided in recent legislation to strengthen the technology workforce, $31 million is provided from H1-B nonimmigrant fees for scholarships, enrichment courses, and systemic reform activities, consistent with other NSF investments in advanced technological education.
EPSCoR. Funding for EPSCoR (the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research) will total up to $73 million. This includes $48 million provided through the Education and Human Resources appropriation, and up to $25 million provided through NSF’s Research and Related Activities account, to enable EPSCoR researchers to participate more fully in NSF research activities.
Celebrating 50 Years
When NSF was founded, we understood very little about many things that we take for granted today. For example, we did not know what biological mechanisms controlled genetic changes; computers -- the handful that existed -- were made from vacuum tubes; much of the inner workings of the brain were a mystery; lasers, if they could be imagined at all, were subjects only of science fiction; and most of the revolutionary knowledge that we have today about the cosmos has been discovered in the last 25 years.
In May 2000, NSF will celebrate its 50 th birthday, and in so doing, will celebrate the outcomes of investments made during its lifetime. In commemoration of its 50 th birthday, NSF is compiling fifty examples of societal achievements that span its existence. This compilation will be published and placed on NSF’s website later this year.
With such a broad range of accomplishment over the years it has been difficult to select just fifty specific examples, let alone one. The following case in point describes one of the many outstanding successes that is the culmination of work by several NSF supported researchers over a period of time.
Fundamental questions such as the mystery of the genome were unlocked only through the imagination, daring, and dedicated work of very talented scientists and engineers. Such work required long-term support, much of it by the National Science Foundation and other federal agencies. Indeed, history has demonstrated that many federally supported discoveries have echoed throughout the years, spawning even greater breakthroughs and innovations.
The National Science Policy Report -- endorsed by the House of Representatives in 1998 -- captured this very point.
Looking ahead, NSF will continue to invest in the most promising areas of science and engineering research and education. We can be certain that the results will enhance the nation’s future in profound and as yet unimagined ways.
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