Summary of FY2002 Budget Request to Congress - National Science Foundation

CHEMISTRY $153,460,000

The FY 2002 Budget Request for the Chemistry (CHE) Subactivity is $153.46 million, a decrease of $60,000, or -0.04 percent, over the FY 2001 Current Plan of $153.52 million.

(Millions of Dollars)

   FY 2000 Actual FY 2001 CurrentPlan FY 2002 Request Change
Amount Percent
Chemistry Research
138.63
153.52
153.46
-0.06
0.0%
Total, CHE
$138.63
$153.52
$153.46
-$0.06
0.0%


Chemistry is the science of molecules and their transformations. Progress in the field of chemistry is therefore critical to advances in other sciences such as materials research, molecular biology, biomedicine, plant and agricultural biology, environmental sciences, and the development of new energy sources. It also forms the basis upon which the chemical and allied products industries, including the pharmaceutical industry, can build and grow.

The award of the 2000 Nobel Prize in Chemistry to Alan G. MacDiarmid of the University of Pennsylvania is an example of how fundamental research supported by the Chemistry Subactivity can have important long-term practical applications. MacDiarmid was supported by NSF in the 1970s to develop synthetic techniques for the production of polymeric metals. At that time, conventional wisdom considered polymers to be insulators. MacDiarmid and colleagues demonstrated that polymers could be synthesized that were, in fact, quite good electrical conductors. Today conductive polymers are used in anti-static substances for photographic film shields for computer screens against electromagnetic radiation, and for "smart" windows that can exclude sunlight. In addition, polymers have recently been developed that are the active materials in light-emitting diodes, solar cells and as displays in mobile telephones and mini-format television screens. The work of chemists such as MacDiarmid and others laid the groundwork for the area that is now known as nanoscience, a priority area for the NSF.

As the above example illustrates, academic research in chemistry produces fundamental knowledge used by industrial, governmental, and academic chemists and technologists, and contributes to developing the skills and intellectual potential of students, who are the workforce of the future. The federal government provides about 70 percent of the funds for academic research in chemistry; of that amount, the Chemistry Subactivity provides about 25 percent. This investment provides the critical core support for fundamental research, maintains the health of the discipline, and contributes to research ideas and a highly skilled work force.

The Chemistry Subactivity supports research on the synthesis of new organic and inorganic molecules; the structure and reactivity of molecules in solids, liquids, and gases, and on surfaces; preparation and characterization of supra-molecular nano-structures; new measurement concepts and instruments for molecular characterization; and theoretical and experimental understanding of chemical structure and reactivity at the quantum level. Chemistry can now achieve molecular-level understanding of complex systems, such as those presented by natural and manufacturing environments and use this understanding to, for example, design new, more effective drugs. It can define environmentally benign synthetic processes and contribute to the development of new energy sources and efficient uses of old ones. Chemistry relies increasingly on mathematics, informatics, and instrumentation for development of computational methods, real-time control of experiments, and display and analysis of complex data. Undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral students, together with essential instrumentation, are supported to pursue this research through awards to individual investigators, groups of investigators, and centers.

The FY 2002 Budget Request for the Chemistry Subactivity is $153.46 million and will include:

  • $125.06 million, an increase of $550,000, to support individual investigators and collaborative groups to participate in the NSF priority areas of Information Technology Research, Nanoscale Science and Engineering, and Biocomplexity in the Environment. Research includes computational approaches to fundamental problems in chemistry; synthesis and characterization of nanostructures; and development of an understanding of the environment at the molecular level. Also included is support for Chemistry Centers and the Science and Technology Center for Environmentally Responsible Solvents and Processes.

  • $28.40 million, a decrease of $620,000, will continue to support the integration of computation with measurement; the development of "smart" instruments; and the development of user facilities such as a synchrotron beamlines and a high field mass spectroscopy facility. This amount also includes support for education activities designed to increase the number of undergraduate students who have the opportunity to participate in research. Support will be augmented by funds made available by the phase out of existing projects.

The Chemistry Subactivity will continue to support new demonstration projects of special interest to the field of chemistry, especially with respect to preparing graduate students for competition in the diverse, global workforce. Of particular emphasis will be support of innovative programs that have the potential to increase the participation of underrepresented groups in the chemistry profession.

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Last Updated:
01/29/05
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