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Report to the National Science Board on the National Science Foundation's Merit Review Process, Fiscal Year 2004
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nsb0512 Document Number: nsb0512
Author: National Science Board
Published: March, 2005
Keywords: Annual Report, Merit Review Process, Funding review, National Science Board, Award, Grant, 2004, Exploratory Research, Budget
Available Formats: PDF
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Abstract
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The National Science Foundation (NSF) is responsible for advancing the progress of science and engineering in the United States across a broad and expanding frontier. It carries out its mission primarily by making merit-based grants to researchers, educators, and students at more than 2,000 U.S. colleges, universities and other institutions. NSF supports fundamental research, education and infrastructure at colleges, universities, and other institutions throughout the country. This FY 2004 Report on the NSF Merit Review System responds to a National Science Board (NSB) policy endorsed in 1977 and amended in 1984, requesting that the NSF Director submit an annual report on the NSF proposal review system.


Executive Summary
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The National Science Foundation (NSF) is responsible for advancing the progress of science and engineering in the United States across a broad and expanding frontier. It carries out its mission primarily by making merit-based grants to researchers, educators, and students at more than 2,000 U.S. colleges, universities and other institutions.

NSF supports fundamental research, education and infrastructure at colleges, universities, and other institutions throughout the country. Its broad support for research and education, particularly at U.S. academic institutions, provides funds for discovery in many fields and for developing the next generation of scientists and engineers.

NSF leads Federal agencies in funding research and education activities based upon merit review. This year NSF made more than 10,000 new awards from more than 40,000 competitive proposals submitted. Over 96 percent of NSF's research and education awards are selected through its competitive merit review process. All proposals for research and education projects are evaluated using two criteria: the intellectual merit of the proposed activity and its broader impacts, such as impacts on teaching and learning. Reviewers also consider how well the proposed activity fosters the integration of research and education and broadens opportunities to include a diversity of participants, particularly from underrepresented groups. The merit review system is at the very heart of NSF's selection of the projects through which its mission is achieved. Ensuring a credible, efficient system requires constant attention and openness to change.

This FY 2004 Report on the NSF Merit Review System responds to a National Science Board (NSB) policy endorsed in 1977 and amended in 1984, requesting that the NSF Director submit an annual report on the NSF proposal review system. The report provides summary information about levels of proposal and award activity and the process by which proposals are reviewed and awarded. While the report indicates several areas in which improvements are being made, the health and vitality of NSF's merit review process and the science and engineering community's confidence in the process remain strong.


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