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“The recently-retired hockey great, Wayne Gretzky, used to say, ‘I skate to where the puck is going, not to where it’s been!’ At NSF, we try to find where the fields are going, not where they’ve been.”

Dr. Rita Colwell
NSF Director

Letter from the Director

Rita ColwellIt is with great pleasure that I present the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) second Accountability Report. As is discussed in the report, the Foundation is currently celebrating its 50th anniversary. Over its 50 year history, NSF’s investments in creative people, in innovative scientific and technological ideas, and in cutting-edge research and education tools have fostered a world-leading capability in science and engineering for the nation.

The returns on NSF’s investments have been enormous. NSF-supported researchers have been awarded over 100 Nobel prizes in the sciences. Entire new industries have emerged in computer communications, biotechnology, agriculture and other sectors. With these new industries have come greater employment opportunities, increased economic prospects, and a quality of life beyond anything imagined 50 years ago.

This historical milestone carries great significance, and it is only one of a number of accomplishments that the report highlights and celebrates:

  • This year, for the first time, this Accountability Report will also serve as the NSF Annual Report-in keeping with the fact that programmatic achievements and effective stewardship are inseparable at NSF.
  • The report also provides a more comprehensive discussion of performance outcomes and goals than previous reports. This information will form the basis for the agency’s first ever performance report required by the GPRA-the Government Performance and Results Act.
  • Finally, for the second consecutive year, the audit results confirmed that NSF has financial management systems and administrative operations of the highest quality and integrity-as demonstrated by the "clean opinion" received by the agency.

Looking ahead, NSF remains committed to investing in the most promising areas of science and engineering research and education. We can be certain that the results will enhance the nation’s future in profound and extraordinary ways.

Rita R. Colwell signature
Rita R. Colwell

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