Summary of FY2002 Budget Request to Congress - National Science Foundation

SOCIAL, BEHAVIORAL AND ECONOMIC SCIENCES $163,160,000

The FY 2002 Budget Request for the Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE) Activity is $163.16 million, a decrease of $1.28 million, or 0.8 percent, from the FY 2001 Current Plan of $164.44 million.

(Millions of Dollars)

   
 FY 2000
Actual
FY 2001
Current Plan
 FY 2002
Request
  Change
Amount Percent
Social and Economic Sciences 61.07 66.10 65.84 -0.26 -0.4%
Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences 46.06 56.81 56.56 -0.25 -0.4%
International Cooperative Scientific Activities1 39.93 25.73 25.12 -0.61 -2.4%
Science Resources Studies 15.06 15.80 15.64 -0.16 -1.0%
Total, SBE $162.12 $164.44 $163.16 -$1.28 -0.8%

Totals may not add due to rounding.
1/ FY2000 includes a transfer of $15.4 million from the U.S. Department of State for an award to the U.S. Civilian Research and Development Fund.

New scientific breakthroughs are accelerating progress in the social and behavioral sciences, including brain imaging, genome analysis, laboratory experimentation, Internet-based data collection, and advances in statistical analysis. At the same time, existing scientific understanding is challenged by the rapid changes taking place in society's use of communication technology, patterns of social interaction, the world economic system, and the political systems of many nations. The rapid growth of scientific activity outside the United States requires new international cooperative projects and training, and the increasing impact of technology demands increased effort to document and strengthen our nation's scientific resources and workforce.

SBE is the principal source of federal support for fundamental research on human social, cognitive, psychological, and economic behavior as well as for research on the intellectual and social contexts that govern the development and use of science and technology. SBE also is responsible for providing reliable quantitative information on the science and technology enterprise, and for promoting international collaborations for research and education for U.S. scientists and engineers.

SBE-supported research has provided exciting and valuable new insights into humans and their world. Research on game theory over several decades has led to the design of a new kind of market that features intricately specified auctions augmented by limited regulation. Through these new market mechanisms, agencies approve market rules and monitor performance but otherwise allow competitive forces to determine prices and investments. These new markets reduce the likelihood that participants will "game the system" and are sufficiently transparent to enable monitoring and mitigation of market power. This approach has found successful application in a wide range of markets in the U.S. and other nations, including markets for oil, mineral, and timber; electricity-distribution and pipeline-transmission; broadband telecommunication spectrum licenses; and emission allowances. The world-wide direct revenues to governments from this rapidly spreading innovation measure is in the hundreds of billions of dollars, with efficiency gains as yet uncalculated.

Another productive line of SBE-supported research has focused on the complex processes through which humans acquire knowledge. Recent research has shown that this occurs at early ages, even during infancy. Observations of the ways that very young children amass and synthesize information indicate that they draw inferences from seemingly subtle clues, even as activity and language swirls around them. Children as young as 12 to 18 months old spontaneously checked where a speaker was looking when she uttered a word new to the child. The child then linked the word with the object the speaker was looking at rather than associating it with the object the child was viewing when the word was spoken. Related studies have shown that children as young as three or four years of age incorporate uncertainty in an adult's comments into their own knowledge, with the child far more likely to retain information if the adult talked about it with assurance. Research along these lines will greatly facilitate the development of new strategies for teaching children, and it will assist in the development of approaches to deal with conditions like autism.

The majority of U.S. Nobel Prize winners in economics have received NSF support. Daniel McFadden and James Heckman, the most recent recipients of the Nobel Prize in Economics - for valuable public policy applications - have had a long history of support from NSF. McFadden received the award for his contributions to the economics of transportation. Heckman was honored for contributions to labor policy and program evaluation.

In FY 2002, SBE will support research and education efforts related to three broad, Foundation-wide priority areas in Biocomplexity in the Environment, Information Technology Research, and Learning for the 21st Century. SBE will also provide support for the Children's Research Initiative.

Biocomplexity in the Environment (BE). In FY 2002, SBE will provide $1.65 million for BE, an increase of $400,000, or 32 percent, over FY 2001. These funds will contribute to NSF's centralized competition to support research on complex interactions among human and natural systems at diverse spatial, temporal, and organizational scales. SBE also will support focused activities aimed at increasing scientific understanding of social and behavioral processes associated with anticipation of, adaptation to, and response to extreme events, and the formation of collaborative international research teams to address critical biocomplexity problems.

Information Technology Research (ITR): In FY 2002, SBE will maintain its support for ITR at $3.82 million. These funds will support fundamental research using a wide array of new information technology research methods in the social and behavioral sciences, including fundamental research on geographic information science. In addition, these funds will support fundamental research of social, economic, and workforce issues associated with computational social science and also international collaborative teams to conduct ITR research.

Learning for the 21st Century: SBE supports a range of programs that encourage innovative approaches to educating students for the 21st century, including fundamental research on science and mathematics learning, the human-computer interface, and promoting a diverse workforce. In FY 2002, SBE will maintain its support for Learning for the 21st Century at $5.40 million. Emphasis will be given to research on children's learning and development and research on cognitive neuroscience related to the learning process. Funds will also help support Graduate Teaching Fellowships in K-12 Education (GK-12) in the social and behavioral sciences. SBE will continue to promote participation of underrepresented groups in SBE fields.

Children's Research Initiative (CRI): In FY 2002, SBE will maintain support for the Children's Research Initiative at a level of $5.0 million. CRI focuses on theory-driven, policy-related research on children, learning, and the influence of families and communities on child development. It also supports research related to enhancing literacy and improving math and science skills. Funding is provided to multidisciplinary, integrated research centers and to individual investigators. Support also is provided to spur the development of multidisciplinary teams as well as to facilitate workshops and small conferences that stimulate research across varied research communities.

STRATEGIC GOALS

SBE's support for its ongoing and new activities contributes to NSF's efforts to achieve its strategic goals, as well as to the administration and management activities necessary to achieve those goals.

(Millions of Dollars)

  
FY 2001
Estimate
FY 2002
Estimate
Percent
Change
People 9.16 10.41 13.6%
Ideas 122.34 120.17 -1.8%
Tools 28.14 28.03 -0.4%
Administration and Management1 4.80 4.55 -5.2%
Total, SBE $164.44 $163.16 -0.8%

Totals may not add due to rounding.
1 Includes only costs charged to the R&RA Appropriation.

People

As is true of the rest of NSF, SBE sees research and education as integrated. The generation of new knowledge and its dissemination so that others may benefit from new scientific understanding go hand in hand. The people supported through SBE-funded projects represent both the focus of our investments and the most important products of them. 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 $10.41 million in FY 2002, an increase of 13.6 percent over FY 2001. Moreover, more than one-third of the funding for research grants - nearly $44 million in FY 2002 - provides support for researchers and students. Across its programs, SBE provides support for about 4,000 people, including students, researchers, post-doctorates, and trainees. People-oriented support includes increased efforts to strengthen the global orientation of the nation's science and engineering workforce by supporting internationally collaborative research as well as research and training abroad.

  • SBE's International Cooperative Scientific Activities (INT) is the Foundation's focal point for the international component of this goal. INT will continue to give priority to international research and training experiences for U.S. researchers in both developed and developing nations. The rapid globalization of science and technology challenges traditional assumptions about how we prepare our scientists, engineers, and educators to succeed. Training must include an understanding of the global environment ¾ the technologically advanced countries of Europe and Japan, as well as others. A unique opportunity exists in the dynamic newer economies of East Asia, which invest heavily in scientific research and are rapidly developing knowledge-intensive economies. In FY 2002, SBE will support the addition of international components to existing NSF activities, such as the Integrative Graduate Education and Research Training program, Research Experiences for Undergraduates, and other training programs.

  • As part of the Learning for the 21st Century priority area, SBE will continue to promote diversity within fields where minorities, women, and persons with disabilities are underrepresented. SBE will also continue to support GK-12 fellows in the social and behavioral sciences.

Total SBE Support for Undergraduate and Graduate Students

(Millions of Dollars)

  
FY 2001
Estimate
FY 2002
Estimate
Percent
Change
Undergraduate 2.62 2.62 0.0%
Graduate and Professional 6.54 7.79 19.1%
Total, SBE $9.16 $10.41 13.6%

Totals may not add due to rounding.

Ideas

SBE support for the attainment of NSF's strategic goal of Ideas is provided through its broad range of research across all relevant social and behavioral science disciplines. Research in economics, political science, and risk analysis is yielding heightened societal benefits in the form of better public policy and more efficient business management. Research findings in psychological, cognitive, and language sciences are yielding a sharper picture of how human language is acquired and how it is used, both for thought and communication, thus laying the foundation for progress in many areas of major national importance, from teaching children how to read to building computers that can talk. Support for discoveries at and across the frontiers of science and engineering, connected to learning, innovation and service to society extends over SBE's entire portfolio. In FY 2002, funding for research in this category is at $120.17 million, a decrease of $2.17 million, or 1.8 percent, from FY 2001.

  • SBE will provide support for fundamental research in the social and economic sciences in FY 2002 at $49.95 million, a decrease of $820,000 from FY 2001. Fundamental research supported by SBE in the social and economic sciences develops and advances scientific knowledge focusing on economic, legal, political, and social systems as well as on organizations and institutions. Support will be provided for the development of new research methods applicable across multiple social and behavioral science disciplines as well as the intellectual and social contexts that govern the development and use of science and technology. Special emphases in the social and behavioral sciences for FY 2002 include expanded research into the human causes and consequences of extreme events, such as floods, famines, earthquakes, or ethnic violence, research on the sources of scientific discovery and technological innovations, and continued enhancement of the fundamental research infrastructure.

  • In FY 2002, SBE will provide support for fundamental research in the behavioral and cognitive sciences at a level of $45.46 million, a decrease of $830,000 from FY 2001. Fundamental research supported by SBE in the behavioral and cognitive sciences develops and advances scientific knowledge and methods focusing on human cognition, cognitive neuroscience, language, and learning; children's development, learning, and literacy; social behavior and culture; human social, demographic, and cultural variation; human evolution and contemporary human biological variation; geographic patterns and processes and geographic information science; and interactions between humans and the natural environment. Special emphases in the behavioral and cognitive sciences for FY 2002 include the multidisciplinary field of cognitive neuroscience and research tracing human biological and behavioral changes over time.

  • SBE will continue to pursue opportunities to promote partnerships and collaborations between scientists and engineers in the U.S. and other nations in order to take advantage of research expertise and facilities in other nations. In FY 2002, SBE support for collaborative international research activities will be $24.75 million, a decrease of $530,000 from FY 2001. Special emphasis for the development of partnerships and collaborations in FY 2002 will be given to East Asian nations that are expanding their national research systems.

  • Across all of its programs, SBE will continue efforts to increase the average size and duration of the awards, thus enabling scientists to devote a greater portion of their time to actual research. This will contribute to increasing the efficiency of NSF's merit review process and achieve greater cost-effectiveness for both NSF and the scientific community.

In support of the Ideas goal, SBE funds the following centers:

(Millions of Dollars)

  
FY 2001
Estimate
FY 2002
Estimate
Percent
Change
Long-Term Ecological Research Sites 0.20 0.20 0.0%
STC for Cognitive Science 0.84 0.00 -100.0%
National Consortium for Violence Research 1.00 1.00 0.0%
Research Centers on the Human Dimensions of Global Change 3.30 3.30 0.0%
Total, SBE $5.34 $4.50 -15.7%

Totals may not add due to rounding.

FY 2001 is the final year of funding for the 1991 class of STCs.

  • SBE will maintain combined support in FY 2002 at a level of $200,000 for the two Urban Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) sites. These Urban LTER sites examine the complex interactions of human activity and the natural environment in the Baltimore and Phoenix metropolitan areas.

  • The Science and Technology Center (STC) for Cognitive Science at the University of Pennsylvania is funded jointly by SBE and the Computer and Information Science and Engineering Activity. It supports research on language acquisition, perception-action processing and computation in humans and machines. The Center is being phased out and will receive no support in FY 2002.

  • The National Consortium for Violence Research, which is based at Carnegie Mellon University, has three missions: supporting research on the causes of violent behavior; encouraging young scientists, especially underrepresented minorities, to enter this field of research; and disseminating research results to research and policy communities. In FY 2002, NSF will be maintaining its support of the Consortium at $1.0 million.

  • Two SBE centers conduct research on the Human Dimensions of Global Change. The Center for the Study of Institutions, Population, and Environmental Change (CIPEC) at Indiana University focuses on how humans and institutions affect deforestation and replacement. CIPEC also trains doctorate-level environmental social scientists. The Carnegie Mellon University Center for Integrated Study of the Human Dimensions of Global Change conducts research on global change issues and promotes worldwide discourse among researchers and the public on global change. Combined funding from SBE for these two centers will be maintained in FY 2002 at a level of $3.30 million.

Tools

SBE promotes the development of Tools by taking advantage of new information technologies as it directs resources into research-enhancing investments such as web-based collaboratories, digital libraries and databases, including the science resources data and analysis produced by the Science Resources Studies Subactivity. In FY 2002, SBE will provide $28.03 million to support the development of tools to enhance the conduct of research and education. This is a decrease of $110,000 from FY 2001.

  • In FY 2002, SBE will maintain at a level of $14.63 million, support for development of shared research databases, web-based collaboratories, and advanced research approaches that provide fundamental infrastructure for large, diverse scientific communities. These projects are essential components of the research agenda of the social and behavioral sciences. Created to take advantage of new computational and communications technology, these products and approaches will collect and integrate economic, cultural, cognitive, psychological, social, political and geographic data and provide more powerful tools for analysis and dissemination. Some will achieve greater scientific gains from existing data, and others will extend new methodologies from the narrow areas where they are being developed to broader studies and multiple research sites. New science and technology databases will illuminate research on critical issues like globalization, the development of new industries, and factors that shape the scientific workforce.

  • SBE will provide $13.40 million for support of the Science Resources Studies Subactivity, excluding funding for administration and management. This enables NSF to fulfill its legislative mandate to produce data and analysis on the scientific and engineering enterprise. In FY 2002, funding will support survey redesign activities to reflect the results of the Decennial Census.

The three goals of People, Ideas, and Tools focus on promoting greater collaboration among researchers in all fields of science and engineering and on making scientific discoveries more accessible to users. These improvements will ultimately increase the connections between research discoveries and their use by society.

Administration and Management

Administration and Management (A&M) provides for support activities necessary to enable NSF to perform its programmatic activities. A&M funding of $4.55 million in FY 2002, a decrease of $250,000, or 5.2 percent, from FY 2001, will provide funding for Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) appointments and for contractors performing administrative and data-collection functions.

Number of People Involved in SBE Activities

  
FY 2000
Actual
FY 2001
Estimate
FY 2002
Estimate
Senior Researchers 1,360 1,510 1,495
Other Professionals 259 250 245
Postdoctorates 90 80 80
Graduate Students 1,058 1,280 1,270
Undergraduate Students 665 910 910
Total Number of People 3,432 4,030 4,000

Totals may not add due to rounding.

In addition, International Cooperative Scientific Activities will indirectly support approximately 1,000 U.S. researchers and students who will travel to seminars, symposia, or workshops or participate in international research collaborations.

Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences Funding Profile

  
FY 2000
Actual
FY 2001
Estimate
FY 2002
Estimate
Number of Requests for Funding 
3,996 4,100 4,300
Dollars Requested (in thousands)  
$852,000 $930,000 $970,000
Total Number of Awards 
1,845 1,870 1,840
Number 1,261 1,250 1,200
Funding Rate 38% 40% 35%
Median Annualized Award Size 1,2 $46,400 $48,000 $51,000
Average Annualized Award Size 1,2 $51,000 $53,000 $56,000
Average Duration (yrs.) 1 2.2 2.3 2.4

1 Statistics for award size and duration are for Research Grants only.
2 Statistics for award size are reported for the SES and BCS Subactivities. This provides a measure of award activity comparable to the other Research Activities.

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Last Updated:
09/17/04
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Last Modified: Sep 17, '04