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Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences $195,610,000

TheFY 2003 Budget Request for the Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE) Activity is $195.61 million, an increase of $26.82 million, or 15.9 percent, from the FY 2002 Current Plan of $168.79 million.

(Millions of Dollars)

     

  FY 2001
Actual

FY 2002
Current
Plan

FY 2003
Request

Change

Amount

Percent

Social and Economic Sciences

65.97

68.11

77.61

9.50

13.9%

Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences

57.23

58.51

65.30

6.79

11.6%

International Science and Engineering1

38.19

25.99

27.00

1.01

3.9%

Science Resources Statistics

15.84

16.18

25.70

9.52

58.8%

Total, SBE

$177.23

$168.79

$195.61

$26.82

15.9%

Totals may not add due to rounding.
1 FY 2001 includes a transfer of $13.75 million from the U.S. Department of State for an award to the U.S.Civilian Research and Development Foundation.

The Social, Behavioral and Economics Sciences Activity (SBE) supports research, infrastructure and education in the social, behavioral, cognitive and economic sciences. SBE also supports the collection and dissemination of statistics on science resources and the Office of International Science and Engineering, the focal point for NSF's international science and engineering activities. 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.

Five goals guide SBE's activities:

  • Advance knowledge about human behavior and society, including both maintaining base support across the SBE fields and identifying opportunities where more focused support can play a catalytic role in advancing scientific progress.

  • Enhance the infrastructure for the conduct of SBE research. SBE identifies and makes investments in data resources, instrumentation, and methodological tools needed to do world-class research.

  • Build capacity in the SBE scientific workforce. SBE advances education and training for current SBE scientists, increases the diversity of the SBE community, and invests in education and training for future generations of SBE scientists.

  • Improve the statistical base for tracking the scientific, engineering and technical workforce; investments in scientific R&D; and public attitudes toward and understanding of the scientific enterprise.

  • Promote international research and educational activities in all fields of science and engineering.

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 efforts to document and strengthen our nation's scientific resources and workforce.

Three recent examples of SBE-supported research illustrate the connection between research and service to society:

  • In 2001, a Nobel Prize was awarded to three NSF-supported economists for their fundamental contributions to our understanding of asymmetric markets -- markets in which one side has more information than the other. More recent research by young economists following up on the earlier theoretical work has shown that job candidates can signal to prospective employers their motivation, ability and training through the wage their current employer is willing to pay or the type of contract they will accept. "Signaling theory" has been widely applied most notably to understanding the Internet and e-commerce.

  • Research on child cognition has transformed the way in which scientists think about children's acquisition of mathematical concepts, the development of writing, drawing and mathematical notations and their acquisitions of novel knowledge. These results from basic research have been applied to museums, K-12 and higher education.

  • Research on the cultural underpinnings of foreign aid programs to Eastern Europe has shown that there is excessive reliance on "Big Six" consulting firms using "fly-in/fly-out" consultants with little expertise in local realities. The research showed the importance for successful aid programs of understanding the relationships between Easterners and Westerners and among Easterners that shaped the outcome of nearly all grant aid to Central and Eastern Europe, Russia and Ukraine.

PRIORITY AREAS

In FY 2003, SBE will support research and education efforts related to six broad, Foundation-wide priority areas in Biocomplexity in the Environment, Information Technology Research, Nanoscale Science and Engineering, Learning for the 21st Century Workforce, Mathematical Sciences as well as the Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences Priority Area.

Biocomplexity in the Environment (BE): In FY 2003, SBE will maintain its FY 2002 level of support for BE at $1.65 million. 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 2003, SBE will provide $4.65 million for ITR, an increase of $390,000, or 9.2 percent, over FY 2002. 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.

Nanoscale Science and Engineering (NSE): In FY 2003, SBE will provide $1.11 million for NSE. This initial year funding for NSE will support research in the social, behavioral and economic sciences on factors that stimulate nanoscientific discovery, ensure the responsible development of nanotechnology, and enhance human performance.

Learning for the 21st Century Workforce: 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 2003, SBE will marginally increase its support for Learning for the 21st Century Workforce - by $60,000, to $5.46 million. Emphasis will be given to research on children's learning and development and research on cognitive neuroscience related to the learning process. SBE will continue to promote participation of underrepresented groups in SBE fields.

Mathematical Sciences: In FY 2003, SBE initiates its support for Mathematical Sciences, at $1.10 million. These funds will support development of collaborative teams consisting of social/behavioral and mathematical/statistical scientists to develop new mathematical statistical techniques that will advance research in the social and behavioral sciences. Innovative training activities also will be supported.

Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE): Funding of $10.0 million begins this priority area in FY 2003. SBE will support basic research that is primed for major advances because of new research tools or new data or because of prior research with successful applications that can be extended through new methods or different perspectives. Support will be provided for research on the processes through which technology and society advance through continual interactions. Special emphases will be placed on human factors in the design and development of technology leading to technologies to enhance human capabilities, social frameworks for scientific and technological innovation, and human adaptation to technological change. As part of the Climate Change Research Initiative, $5.0 million will support research on decision making under uncertainty.

STRATEGIC GOALS

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

(Millions of Dollars)

 

FY 2002
Estimate

FY 2003
Estimate

Percent
Change

People

10.01

11.02

10.1%

Ideas

127.11

143.35

12.8%

Tools

28.57

37.99

33.0%

Administration and Management1

3.10

3.25

4.8%

Total, SBE

$168.79

$195.61

15.9%

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

People

As is true for 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 Outcome Goal of "People - To develop a diverse, internationally competitive and globally-engaged workforce of scientists, engineers and well-prepared citizens," totals $11.02 million in FY 2003, an increase of 10.1 percent over FY 2002. Across its programs, in FY 2003, it is estimated that SBE will provide support for about 4,600 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 Office of International Science and Engineering (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, especially the technologically advanced countries of Europe and Japan. 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 2003, SBE will support the augmentation of international components of 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 Workforce priority area, SBE will continue to promote diversity within fields where minorities, women, and persons with disabilities are underrepresented.

Total SBE Support for Undergraduate and Graduate Students

(Millions of Dollars)

   

FY 2002
Estimate

FY 2003
Estimate

Percent
Change

Undergraduate

2.22

2.22

0.0%

Graduate and Professional

7.79

8.80

13.0%

Total, SBE

$10.01

$11.02

10.1%

Totals may not add due to rounding.

Ideas

SBE support for the attainment of NSF's strategic outcome 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 2003, funding for research in this category is at $143.35 million, an increase of $16.24 million, or 12.8 percent, from FY 2002.

  • SBE will provide support for fundamental research in the social and economic sciences in FY 2003 at $64.0 million, an increase of $9.07 million from FY 2002. 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 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 2003, SBE will provide support for fundamental research in the behavioral and cognitive sciences at a level of $54.47 million, an increase of $6.37 million from FY 2002. 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 for FY 2003 include research on human cognition including work in the multidisciplinary field of cognitive neuroscience, computational linguistics, 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 2003, SBE support for collaborative international research activities will be $24.88 million, an increase of $800,000 from FY 2002. Special emphasis for the development of partnerships and collaborations in FY 2003 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 2002
Estimate

FY 2003
Estimate

Percent
Change

Long-Term Ecological Research Sites

0.20

0.20

0.0%

Children's Research Centers

1.50

1.50

0.0%

National Consortium for Violence Research

1.00

1.00

0.0%

Research Centers on the Human Dimensions of Global Change

3.30

2.30

-30.3%

Total, SBE

$6.00

$5.00

-16.7%

Totals may not add due to rounding.

  • SBE will maintain combined support in FY 2003 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 Children's Research Initiative (CRI) received new emphasis at the National Science Foundation in FY 2001 to support a variety of research activities in areas of human sciences. Most prominent of the new research funded under CRI are three research centers that were funded in FY 2001, each at levels of $500,000 per year for five years. Together, these centers represent a new thrust in the field of integrative developmental science. Individually, the centers represent leading edge research about children and media, developmental science, and the integration and dissemination of developmental science to inform both research and policy. Up to three new centers may be supported in FY 2002 depending on the review of proposals, and up to three additional centers will be supported in FY 2003.

  • The National Consortium on Violence Research (NCOVR), based at Carnegie Mellon University, is engaged in a program of capacity building in the violence research community. The Consortium's activities focus on training the next generation of researchers in interdisciplinary approaches to understanding interpersonal violence and to increase the participation of underrepresented groups in research on violence. NCOVR also seeks to facilitate collaborative methodological research and the promotion of intellectual exchange that cuts across disciplines. NSF is providing about $1.0 million in support for the Consortium in FY 2002. Support in FY 2003, contingent on review of a renewal proposal in 2002, will be $1.0 million.

  • NSF has supported a consortium of Research Centers on the Human Dimensions of Global Change since FY 1995. The goals of these centers are to facilitate the progress of Human Dimensions of Global Change (HDGC) research; promote the education and training of researchers ranging from undergraduate to postdoctoral levels; and foster interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research collaborations on HDGC issues. NSF's FY 2003 support for the two HDGC centers totals $2.30 million, a $1.0 million reduction from FY 2002 that is part of a planned phase-down in core support for these centers.

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 Statistics Subactivity. In FY 2003, SBE will provide $37.99 million to support the development of tools to enhance the conduct of research and education. This is an increase of $9.42 million from FY 2002.

  • SBE will provide $23.36 million for support of the Science Resources Statistics Subactivity, excluding funding for administration and management. This enables NSF to fulfill its statutory mandate to produce data and analysis on the scientific and engineering enterprise. In FY 2003, $8.50 million will support the implementation of survey redesign activities for the 2003 National Survey of College Graduates based on the 2000 Decennial Census.

  • In FY 2003, 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.

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 $3.25 million in FY 2003, an increase of $150,000, or 4.8 percent, from FY 2002, includes support for Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) appointments and contractors performing administrative and data-collection functions.

Number of People Involved in SBE Activities

   

FY 2001
Actual

FY 2002
Estimate

FY 2003
Estimate

Senior Researchers

1,681

1,730

1,875

Other Professionals

309

315

345

Postdoctorates

116

120

130

Graduate Students

1,263

1,300

1,405

Undergraduate Students

801

815

860

Total Number of People

4,170

4,280

4,615

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 2001
Actual

FY 2002
Estimate

FY 2003
Estimate

Number of Requests for Funding

4,101

4,265

4,430

Dollars Requested (in millions)

$1,368

$1,435

$1,500

         

Total Number of Awards

1,869

1,965

2,060

         

Statistics for Competitive Awards:

 
 

Number

1,300

1,385

1,455

 

Funding Rate

37%

37%

38%

 

Median Annualized Award Size 1,2

$52,033

$52,785

$55,795

 

Average Annualized Award Size 1,2

$67,246

$67,660

$69,305

 

Average Duration (yrs.) 1

2.3

2.3

2.4

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

 
  Last Modified: Sep 17, 2004
 
   

 

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