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OPP 09-001 November 2008

National Science Foundation

  1. Mission. The National Science Foundation1 is a catalyst for progress in discovery and learning. NSF provides leadership, stewardship, and funds to sustain and strengthen the Nation's science, mathematics, and engineering capabilities and education and to promote the use of those capabilities in service to society.

  2. Organization. NSF, a U.S. Government agency established in 1950, has a staff of 1,200 and directorates or offices for mathematics and physical sciences (including chemistry and astronomy); geosciences (earth, atmosphere, ocean); biological sciences; sociological, behavioral, and economic sciences; engineering; computer sciences and information systems; education; international activities; environmental studies; crosscutting programs; and polar programs.

  3. Primary activity. Scientists, engineers, and educators at U.S. institutions compete for support by submitting proposals that respond to NSF program areas.2 Annually:
    1. 30,000 proposals competitively reviewed
    2. 10,000 new awards to 2,000 institutions

  4. Budget (NSF Overall). The National Science Foundation requests $6.02 billion for FY 2007, $439 million or 7.9 percent over the FY 2006 request of $5.58 billion.

  5. Budget (NSF Antarctic). NSF spending in FY 2007 for the U.S. Antarctic Program was $353.61 million, of which $56.65 million was for research grants and Science & Technology Center, $166.24 million was for operations and science support, $5.79 was for Environment, Health & Safety, $67.52 million was for logistics, and $52.96 was for USCG polar icebreakers operating in the Arctic and the Antarctic. NSF funds about 97 percent of all Federally supported Antarctic research and research support. For FY 2008, NSF estimates that it spent $351.69 million, of which $69.35 million was for research grants and the Science & Technology Center, $160.84 million for operations and science support, $5.98 for Environment, Safety & Health, and $67.52-million for logistics. NSF also budgeted $57 million for operation and maintenance of the USCG polar icebreakers. For FY 2009, NSF has requested $387 million, of which $71.24 is for research grants and the Science & Technology Center, $187.50 million is for operations and science support, $6.74 is for Environment, Safety & Health, and $67.52-million is for logistics. NSF also budgeted $54 million for operation and maintenance of the USCG polar icebreakers.

    1. In FY 2007 to fund and support research during the International Polar Year, NSF requested $61.57 million of which $48.48 million was part of the Office of Polar Programs budget. In FY 2008, NSF requested $58.67 million of which $47.27 million will support IPY research and education projects supported by the Office of Polar Programs.3

End Notes
1 https://www.nsf.gov
2 https://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=5519&org=ANT&from=home 
3 https://www.nsf.gov/funding/ (Browse NSF funding opportunities)