A Message from the Director of the National Science Foundation
I am pleased to present the National Science Foundations Accountability Report for 2000. The report highlights a few of the Foundations many achievements that help keep the United States at the forefront of learning and discovery in science and engineering research and education. You will also learn how NSF makes its investments in the future of America and manages the public resources entrusted to it.
During this year, the Foundation celebrated its 50th Anniversary. Looking back from the beginning of a new century, it is difficult to imagine a time when the structure of the DNA molecule was unknown and computers were half the size of a football field. Now scientists and engineers have delineated the entire human genome, and computers are found in kitchen appliances, bank cards, and childrens toys.
The Foundation played a significant role in each of these developments. We sponsored studies in the early 1950s that laid the foundation for Watson and Cricks now famous discovery of the double helix. In the following decades NSF-supported research in fundamental biology became a vital part of the knowledge that culminated in the unraveling of the human genetic codea discovery that promises a revolution in health care and disease prevention. NSFs leadership has also been invaluable in work on plant genomics.
Similar success stories can be told about revolutionary advances in computingand dozens of other innovations that now make our every-day lives richer, healthier and more productive. In fact, economists estimate that 50 percent of U.S. economic growth over the past 50 years can be chalked up to the fruits of science and engineering research.
This year NSF can once again report significant advances at the frontiers of knowledge. Investigators supported by NSF have located six newly identified extra-solar planets, found black holes drifting through space, and taken the first pictures of the universe in its infancy. They have discovered bacteria, isolated for millions of years, in the Antarctic ice just over Lake Vostok, and learned that other bacteria living just below the earth's surface can be coaxed to rapidly convert oil to methane gas. Still others have worked to improve science, mathematics and engineering education at all levels from pre-school to post-doctoral.
Nothing is more important to the prospects of the nation than the ability to create and make use of knowledge. Its our job at the National Science Foundation to make sure that U.S. capabilities are the best in the world, and that the returns to the American peoplewho support these activities with their tax dollarsmeet their highest expectations.
It is also our goal to adhere to the highest standards of management efficiency and integrity. I am therefore pleased to report that the financial information and the data measuring NSFs performance that are contained in this report are complete and reliable.
A Message from the Chief Financial Officer
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is pleased to issue its third annual Accountability Report. This report, which also serves as the Foundations annual report, is an integrated presentation of NSFs programmatic and management performance, including how we have responded to our financial management and management control responsibilities.
I am pleased to report that in FY 2000, for the third consecutive year, NSFs annual independent financial statement audit has resulted in an unqualified clean opinion, and a review of program and management controls did not identify any material weaknesses or reportable conditions. NSFs one reportable condition from prior years related to property, plant and equipment has been resolved, and overall, NSF made considerable progress towards achieving its annual performance goals in FY 2000.
This year marks the Foundations 50th Anniversary. There have been many significant achievements in financial and operations management during these first 50 years, however, the complexity of the environment in which federal financial managers must operate is changing rapidly. There is an ever increasing demand for accurate and timely financial and management information, to assess programmatic activities and to enable better decision-making. NSF is well positioned to meet these challenges and build upon our past accomplishments as a leader of e-Gov practices, use of advanced information technologies, and in federal financial accountability and performance.
Regarding the latter, I am particularly proud to note that last year NSF was awarded the Certificate of Excellence in Accountability Reporting by the Association of Government Accountants. This recognition is a testament to NSFs quality financial management processes and the innovative staff here who make it happen. Looking into the future, it will be important for NSF to focus on human capital resource planning strategies to maintain our highly skilled management and programmatic workforce.
Thank you for your interest in our FY 2000 Accountability Report. I invite you to visit the NSF Web site (http://www.nsf.gov) for more information on the exciting science and engineering research and education projects that the Foundation supports.