Vannevar Bushs Science
The Endless Frontier calls for the establishment of a National
On May 10, 1950, President Harry S. Truman signs
Public Law 507, creating the National Science Foundation. Following
the Soviet Unions launch of Sputnik in 1957, there is palpable
national fear that the U.S. is losing its technological lead to
the Soviets. NSF undergoes tremendous growth as worries about
science and math education rise.
NSF continues to grow and devotes 25 percent of
its budget to science and math education. The universities, primary
recipients of NSF research grant awards, continue to grow too.
NSF focuses an increasing share of its funding
on research, making between 6,000 and 8,000 grant awards annually.
A twenty-five year review results in broad consensus for continued
support, suggests changes in NSFs merit review process,
and opens up and clarifies its operation.
NSF identifies engineering as a high priority and
makes awards for the first Engineering Research Centers. Basic
research in science and technology receives major funding increases
as its importance to the Nation becomes ever clearer.
The connections among science and technology advances and economic
progress are clearly drawn, demonstrating the benefits from NSF
funding. Nearly 34,000 promising graduate students in science,
math, and engineering receive NSF fellowship support. The agency
receives 30,000 proposals each year; an extremely rigorous competitive
review process results in the funding of approximately one-third
of the applications.