NSF places a high priority on efforts to improve science, mathematics, engineering, and technology education and training at all levels: pre-kindergarten through secondary, undergraduate, graduate, and public science literacy. All programs place high priority on developing effective strategies for increasing participation and achievement of groups underrepresented in science and engineering. Other important efforts include programs for research that advance the understanding of learning and instructional practices. Evaluation and communication efforts establish the extent to which education programs achieve their goals and ensure that program and project outcomes reach a wide audience. In addition, the Foundation supports the development of timely, relevant data and analyses on the science and engineering enterprise. A subset of activities within the Education and Training key program function contribute to the NSF-wide themes of Educating for the Future (EFF) and Knowledge and Distributed Intelligence (KDI).

NSF programs are dedicated to increasing the opportunities for all students to learn mathematics and science, prepare for higher education, complete degrees in science, mathematics, engineering, and technology fields, join the workforce as competent and contributing members, and become well-informed, science-literate citizens of the United States. Such participation, from education to employment to life-long learning, is NSF’s vision of human resource development in the national interest.

NSF fosters the natural connections between learning and discovery. When research resides alongside education and training, the rewards of discovery are shared more quickly and disseminated more widely. Support for education and training includes most activities funded through the Education and Human Resources appropriation, as well as those programs funded through the Research and Related Activities appropriation that aim to accomplish education and training through the tie to research programs. While focused on research, much of NSF’s investment in Research Project Support is, at the same time, an investment in education and training, particularly through support for research activities by undergraduate and graduate students, research at undergraduate institutions, and furthering the careers of young investigators. Education is, in fact, an integral component of all research projects in that the skills and training needed for the next generation of scientists, engineers, and technologists are provided within the context of the research experience.

(Millions of Dollars)
** Includes about $8 million per year in FY 1997, 1998, and 1999 in Administration and Management (A&M) costs funded through the Education and Human Resources Appropriation that support education and training activities.  A&M costs include Intergovernmental Personnel Act appointments and contractors performing administrative functions associated with education and training. NSF is increasing its emphasis on partnerships with academic institutions, based on the view that treating whole systems is the most effective way to make improvements in science and mathematics education. Together, academe and NSF are developing new approaches to education activities, involving others with a stake in the science, mathematics, engineering, and technology education enterprise, including state and local governments, the private sector, and other agencies. Examples include activities in the Urban Systemic Initiatives, renewed networking and collaboration with former and current Statewide Systemic Initiative sites, and undergraduate education reform efforts. Partnership with other federal agencies, such as the Department of Education (DoED), are being strengthened in FY 1999, in response to initiatives for K-8 mathematics education and research on K-12 education and training technologies. Within NSF, partnership activities in the education and training function include the NSF-wide Integrative Graduate Education and Research Training program for multidisciplinary training of graduate students in unique research settings.


The goal of NSF's programs at the PreK-12 level is for all students to succeed in mathematics, science, and technology. To accomplish this goal, NSF programs are directed primarily at systemic reform, teachers, and instructional materials. NSF's systemic reform efforts aim to make lasting improvements in science, mathematics, and technology education at the state level, in urban centers, and in rural regions. The systemic approach involves broad partnerships in the development of goals, solutions, and actions. Teacher enhancement and teacher preparation programs strengthen teachers' knowledge and pedagogical skills and create a network of teachers who are better able to foster reform. The instructional materials development program supports development of comprehensive curricula, supplemental materials, and assessments that are aligned with science and mathematics standards.

The FY 1999 Request for PreK-12 programs is $429 million, an increase of about $54 million above the FY 1998 Estimate. In FY 1999, support will focus on the following activities:

Many of these activities align with the K-8 mathematics initiative ($29.60 million), and the research on K-12 education and training technologies initiative ($15.0 million out of an NSF total of $25.0 million). These initiatives will be implemented in partnership with the Department of Education. Support for the K-8 mathematics initiative will focus on pre- and in-service teacher education activities, implementation of standards-based curricula, and development and implementation of standards-based mathematics assessments. Funding for the children’s research initiative on cognition and learning totals $8.50 million. Increased funding for the USI and SSI will focus on expanding the number of urban school districts supported and on renewed networking and collaboration with current and former SSI sites. Informal science education funding remains constant, with an emphasis on engaging parents in science and mathematics education, integrating research and education, and fostering linkages with formal, in-school activities, particularly in systemic initiative sites.


NSF's programs support many facets of undergraduate education, including curriculum, laboratory, and instructional practice, as well as preparation of the technological and K-12 instructional workforce. In order to improve the quality of undergraduate courses and curricula in the sciences, NSF provides funds to encourage the development of multi- and interdisciplinary courses as well as to encourage science, mathematics, and engineering faculty members to work collaboratively with schools of education in order to enhance the ability of prospective teachers to deliver standards-based K-12 education.

NSF programs that address undergraduate needs include:

Undergraduate activities will total $167 million in FY 1999, an increase of $13 million over the FY 1998 Estimate. In FY 1999, new approaches will be developed that build on and integrate the efforts of curriculum, laboratory improvement and faculty renewal programs. These efforts will coordinate educational materials development, institution-wide adaptation and implementation of exemplary curricular models, and national dissemination of high-quality education products and practices. Funding for the Advanced Technological Education program will be enhanced, to support programs that prepare technicians for the advanced technology workplace. Support for Engineering Education Reform will also increase, with emphasis on stimulating innovation in engineering education, and disseminating and institutionalizing successful educational models and materials throughout the engineering education community. Other funds for undergraduate research activities are included under Research Project Support, particularly Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) which provides opportunities for undergraduates to gain valuable scientific research experiences, and Research at Undergraduate Institutions (RUI) which provides research support for faculty in predominantly undergraduate institutions.


NSF's graduate education programs are designed to improve the human resource base for science and engineering in the U. S. and to increase the participation of scientists and engineers from groups that are underrepresented in advanced levels of science, mathematics, and engineering.

Graduate and postdoctoral programs will total $132 million in FY 1999, an increase of $12 million over FY 1998. In FY 1999, NSF will continue the Foundation-wide Integrative Graduate Education and Research Training (IGERT) program begun in FY 1998. Support will increase about $7 million to a total of $28 million. IGERT reflects a shift in strategy from a more diffuse support of graduate education through research grants to a focused effort designed to respond to the growing need for researchers and faculty educated beyond the boundaries of a single discipline.

Other graduate funding increases include the Graduate Research Fellowship program, particularly to support an increase in the institutional cost-of-education allowance. Other increases include collaboration between the Mathematical and Physical Sciences and Education and Human Resources Activities to support Vertically Integrated Grants for Research and Education in the Mathematical Sciences program, aimed at achieving systemic reform of graduate and undergraduate mathematical sciences. The science, mathematics, engineering, and technology education postdoctoral program for production of K-12 and undergraduate level professionals, initiated in FY 1997, will be sustained. Other support for graduate student and postdoctoral research activities provided through research grants are included under Research Project Support.

Other Support for Education and Training

NSF supports programs to promote public understanding of science, mathematics, engineering, and technology (SMET), including the collection, analysis, and dissemination of data on U.S. and international resources devoted to science, engineering, and technology. The FY 1999 Budget Request for these activities is $26 million, an increase of $2 million over FY 1998. In FY 1999, increased support will focus on expanding applications of technology that promote scientific literacy and disseminating findings from NSF-supported research. NSF will also provide increased support to develop a new survey of science, engineering and technological innovation, a longitudinal study of science and engineering graduate students, and continued implementation of an international science and technology indicators network.


Examples of accomplishments resulting from Education and Training support include:

Many activities within the Research Project Support key program area address issues related to Education and Training. Examples of projects that integrate research and education include: