GPRA Plan    
NSF GPRA Strategic Plan
FY 2001 - 2006



About the NSF

NSF Role

I.  Introduction

II.  Vision and Mission

III.  Outcome Goals

IV.  Strategy


Appendix 1: Critical Factors for Success

Appendix 2: External Factors Affecting Success

Appendix 3: Assessing NSF’s Performance

Appendix 4: Integration of NSF Plans with those of Other Agencies

Appendix 5: Resource Utilization

Appendix 6: Linking the Strategic Plan to the Performance Plan

Appendix 7: Crosswalk of NSF Goals and Programs

How We Operate

Our Attributes

National Science Board

Director's Policy Group


Many other agencies support or conduct research and education activities in science and engineering in support of their missions. Frequently they will define outcome and performance goals that are similar to those NSF has defined. However, an agency’s mission will have an impact on the nature of the outcome and performance goals, so, in general, they are distinct. NSF’s general approach is to work with other agencies to ensure complementary sets of activities. Certain interagency interactions are particularly important for NSF support of fundamental research:

  • National Institutes of Health (NIH):   biosciences, genomics, biomedical research, chemistry, behavioral sciences, cognitive development;

  • Department of Energy (DOE):   high energy and nuclear physics, materials, high end computing, genomics;

  • Department of Defense (DOD):  engineering, computer and information science and engineering, mathematics;

  • Department of Commerce (DOC):  ocean and atmospheric sciences, global climate change, meteorology, atomic and molecular physics;

  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA):  astronomical sciences, global climate change;

  • Department of Agriculture (USDA):  biosciences, genomics;

  • Department of Education (ED): &nbps; education research; and,

  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):  environmental research.

Each of these agencies addresses fundamental research in a somewhat different way with an interdependent mix of intramural research, funding for extramural research, and construction and operation of facilities. For example, in some areas, NSF’s support of extramural research is critically dependent on an investigator’s access to user facilities provided by other agencies. Likewise, results of NSF-supported research may be used in intramural research activities of other agencies.

Many investigators work on several projects simultaneously, seeking support for complementary activities from different agencies. Senior managers at NSF and other agencies maintain the close connections that provide a productive framework for program-level coordination and permit formal cooperation among agencies when working toward similar objectives.

NSF actively participates in many interagency initiatives and planning activities coordinated through the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC). These activities include the following:

  • Information Technology Research (ITR),

  • National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI),

  • U.S. Global Change Research Program,

  • High Performance Computing and Communications,

  • Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles (PNGV),

  • Education Research,

  • Integrated Science for Ecosystems Challenges,

  • Children’s Research,

  • Plant Genome Research,

  • National Oceanographic Partnership Program,

  • Interagency Arctic Research Policy Committee.

In all of these activities, NSF’s role is at the fundamental end of the research and development spectrum. These interagency planning efforts are coordinated among agencies to reap optimal benefit from the Federal investment.

NSF has been designated the lead Federal agency for an initiative on Information Technology Research (ITR) – a six agency initiative which includes the Departments of Energy and Defense, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. ITR grew from the efforts of several agencies and responds to recommendations made by the President’s Information Technology Advisory Committee (PITAC). NSF’s FY 2001 investment includes a substantial increase for research in software systems, scaleable information infrastructure, high-end computing, and socioeconomic and workforce impacts of IT.

In FY 1999 and 2000, NSF continued to work in partnership with other Federal agencies in planning nanoscale science and engineering activities. NSF chairs the interagency working group on Nanoscience, Engineering and Technology, under the guidance of the NSTC, in cooperation with DOD, DOC, National Institute for Science and Technology, Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR), DOE, Department of Transportation/Volpe Center, Department of Treasury, NASA, and NIH.

NSF also has a number of partnerships with individual agencies or small groups of agencies. Some grow out of formal interagency processes; for example, NSF partners with four other agencies in development of the Next Generation Internet. Other collaborations reflect the particular interests of the partnering agencies. Examples include NSF’s partnership with EPA and DOI in areas such as water and watersheds, ecological and environmental technologies, and risk assessment and evaluation, and also our work with the Department of Energy and NASA in the interagency program of research on Human Origins. These and similar partnerships are designed to make efficient, effective use of Federal resources in support of research.

NSF is involved with numerous agencies in support of research in the biological sciences, including:

  • Interagency Arabidopsis Genome Project (USDA/DOE/NIH/NSF as lead agency) which has a goal of understanding biological processes underlying plant growth and development;

  • NSF/NIH/USDA International Cooperative Biodiversity Groups;

  • NSF/NASA Neurolab which also involves NIH, the Office of Naval Research and international partners to support ground based research leading to experiments flown on the NASA space shuttle;

  • The Human Brain Project (NIH/NSF/DOD/DOE/NASA), which is a broad Federal research initiative to support research in the neurosciences and the new field of neuroinformatics;

  • Ecology of Emerging Infectious Diseases (NSF/NIH/USDA/NASA/DOI).

NSF is one of twelve federal agencies supporting Arctic research and logistics. NSF provides interagency leadership for research planning as directed by the Arctic Research Policy Act of 1984. NSF is charged with managing all U.S. activities in the Antarctic as a single, integrated program. The U.S. Antarctic Program (USAP) implements national policy to maintain Antarctica as an area of international cooperation reserved for peaceful purposes, to preserve and pursue unique opportunities for scientific research, to understand Antarctica and its role in global environmental systems, to protect the environment, and to assure the conservation and sustainable management of the living resources in the surrounding oceans.

NSF is one of many public and private agencies with responsibilities for obtaining statistical information on areas of important national interest. NSF and other agencies share information on statistical information technology, and other methods and resources through the Federal Committee on Statistical Methodology and related groups