Summary of FY2002 Budget Request to Congress - National Science Foundation

ENGINEERING $431,050,000

The FY 2002 Budget Request for Engineering is $431.05 million, an increase of $210,000, similar to the FY 2001 Current Plan of $430.84 million.

(Millions of Dollars)

  FY 2000 Actual FY 2001
Current Plan
FY 2002 Request Change
Amount Percent
Bioengineering & Environmental Systems 34.20 39.21 38.45 -0.76 -1.9%
Chemical & Transport Systems 44.24 50.72 50.15 -0.57 -1.1%
Civil & Mechanical Systems 48.25 53.26 52.18 -1.08 -2.0%
Design, Manufacture, & Industrial Innovation 109.43 126.19 125.70 -0.49 -0.4%
Electrical & Communications Systems 45.28 53.97 57.09 3.12 5.8%
Engineering Education & Centers 98.40 107.48 107.48 0.00 0.0%
Total, ENG $379.82 $430.84 $431.05 $0.21 0.0%

Totals may not add due to rounding.

The Engineering Activity (ENG) supports fundamental research on engineering systems, devices, and materials, and the processes and methodologies that underpin them. ENG investments contribute to technological innovation that is vital to the nation's future economic strength, security, and the quality of life of its citizens. A major focus of the Activity's investments is in emerging technologies--microsystems and nanotechnology, information technology and biotechnology. Support for research in these areas contributes to major advances in health care, manufacturing, business, education, and the service industry.

People are ENG's most important product. Across its programs, ENG provides support for 11,465 people, including students, researchers, post-doctorates, and trainees. Support for programs specifically addressing NSF's Strategic Goals of "People - A diverse, internationally competitive and globally-engaged workforce of scientists, engineers and well-prepared citizens" totals over $69 million in FY 2002, an increase of about 2.0 percent over FY 2001. Moreover, about 41 percent of the funding for research grants - an amount approaching $146 million in FY 2002 - provides support for researchers and students, including more than 6,600 post-doctorates, trainees, and graduate and undergraduate students. ENG research grants to U.S. colleges and universities provide significant education and training opportunities for students. ENG also invests in focused human resources development and education activities to develop the next generation engineering and technological workforce and to enhance opportunities for women and minorities. In FY 2002, ENG will provide support for these focused activities including Faculty Early Career Development, Research Experiences for Undergraduates, Graduate Research Fellowships for Women in Engineering, and Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeships.

Students also benefit from ENG-supported partnerships with industry and from ENG-supported centers.

ENG promotes partnerships with industry through the Grant Opportunities for Academic Liaison with Industry (GOALI) program, the Engineering Research Centers (ERCs) and Groups program and the Industry/University Cooperative Research Centers (I/UCRC) program. These partnerships give students an opportunity to interact with industrial researchers and to gain exposure to industrial operations. At ENG-supported centers, students participate in multi-disciplinary research teams and contribute to the development of new technologies. In FY 2000, the ERCs produced eleven new patents and the I/UCRCs produced eleven software copyrights and eight patents. ENG also plays a major role in providing support to enhance industrial innovation through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program and the Small Business Technology Transfer program (STTR).

Overall, NSF provides about 36 percent of the total federal support for fundamental engineering research and education at U.S. universities and colleges. This sustained investment is significant, and over time will lead to better-trained and educated engineers, new and emerging industrial technologies, and a more diverse and robust engineering community.

While funding for the ENG Activity increases only marginally in FY 2002, reallocation within the ENG base will permit enhanced support for research and education efforts related to the Foundation priorities and areas of promise within research and education.

In accord with NSF's FY 2002 Performance Plan, ENG will continue to increase award size. This effort will contribute to increasing the efficiency of the Foundation's merit review process and achieve greater cost-effectiveness for both NSF and the university community.

ENG actively participates in and contributes to the Foundation's four priority areas: Biocomplexity in the Environment, Information Technology Research, Nanoscale Science and Engineering, and Learning for the 21st Century.

Biocomplexity in the Environment (BE): In FY 2002, ENG will provide a total of $3.69 million to the Biocomplexity in the Environment priority area, a $1.0 million increase over FY 2001. Half of this amount will support the central competition, and the other half will support research on emerging strategic environmental technologies such as product/process life-cycle assessment research, remanufacturing, and materials use science and engineering.

Information Technology Research (ITR): ENG will provide $9.17 million for ITR in FY 2002. Areas for special emphasis within ITR in FY 2002 include:

  • Computational simulation and modeling of complex materials, structures and processes.

  • Research focused on developing high end computing tools to accelerate the design of next generation IT manufacturing techniques in areas such as photonic crystals, optical and electronic switching devices, sensors and detectors.

In addition to ITR, ENG supports a broad range of other IT-related activities including new physical bases for IT such as quantum computing and molecular logic, domain-specific software, IT for the service sector, modeling and simulation, and real-time sensing and control.

Nanoscale Science and Engineering: ENG will provide $70.30 million for Nanoscale Science and Engineering activities, an increase of $15.03 million over FY 2001. ENG will support comprehensive research on nanotechnology, an increment of $10.02 million, for functional nanostructures, processing and fabrication of nanostructured materials, new devices and architectures, tools for investigation at nanoscale, and technologies with applications ranging from biology to environmental sensing.

ENG, together with the Mathematical and Physical Sciences Activity, will also provide support in FY 2002 for Nanotechnology Experimentation and Testing Facilities (NEXT). ENG will provide funding of $5.01 million for these new nanotechnology infrastructure facilities to bridge the gap between nanotechnology research and the development of commercial products using nanotechnology. NEXT will include facilities for synthesis, nano-bio, nano-imprint, nano-imaging and metrology and measurement facilities. These facilities will address issues relating to properties at the nanoscale, system architecture and integration and parameters for process optimization and robust manufacturing.

The requested funds will provide expansion of research in the following areas:

  • Multiscale, multiphenomena modeling and simulation at nanoscale to improve basic understanding and to develop new device and system architecture;

  • Research and infrastructure to enable applications of advanced materials, catalysts, computing and communications, sensors, nanomechanics, and biotechnology;

  • Development of tools and technologies to assemble nano-size components into functional structures for use in information technologies, chemical processes, manufacturing at nanoscale, sensors for environmental remote monitoring, and other areas;

  • Exploration of basic principles and methodologies in quantum computing and communications to set the foundation for a new paradigm of computation and information technologies;

  • Research infrastructure facilities to address issues of the scale-up of nanostructures, characterization, new modeling and simulation techniques, the development of new instrumentation beyond the state-of-the-art, device fabrication and testing for manufacturing methods;

  • Exploratory research at the confluence of bioengineering, information technology and nanoscale engineering; and

  • Curriculum development in nanotechnology to provide the workforce needed for U.S. industry to successfully compete in the global economy.

Learning for the 21st Century: As part of the Foundation's Learning for the 21st Century priority area, ENG will continue to provide $2.0 million to support the Interagency Education Research Initiative (IERI). ENG will also provide an additional $700,000 to support the Graduate Teaching Fellows in K-12 Education (GK-12) program for a total of $1.40 million.


ENG's support for ongoing and new activities contributes as follows to NSF efforts to achieve its strategic goals, as well as to the administration and management necessary to achieve those goals.

(Millions of Dollars)

  FY 2001
FY 2002
People 68.16 69.45 1.9%
Ideas 352.75 351.67 -0.3%
Tools 2.80 2.80 0.0%
Administration and Management1 7.13 7.13 0.0%
Total, ENG $430.84 $431.05 0.0%

Totals may not add due to rounding.
1Includes only costs charged to the Research &Research Activities Appropriation.


ENG invests in workforce development through focused programs designed to increase the knowledge and skill base of future engineers and to promote the natural connections between learning and discovery. The portfolio of activities supporting this goal spans undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral education and lifelong learning. The purpose is to produce engineering graduates who will be leaders in currently emerging technology areas and position these graduates to push the frontiers of technology.

(Millions of Dollars)

  FY 2001
FY 2002
Undergraduate 26.98 24.88 -7.8%
Graduate and Professional 41.18 44.57 8.2%
Total, ENG $68.16 $69.45 1.9%

Totals may not add due to rounding.

The FY 2002 request is $69.45 million, a $1.29 million increase over FY 2001. This funding will provide support for activities including:

  • $1.40 million, an increase of $700,000 over FY 2001, to enhance support for the Graduate Teaching Fellows in K-12 Education (GK-12) program.

  • $10.08 million, a reduction of $4.77 million from FY 2001, to support innovations in undergraduate engineering education. The FY 2002 request reflects the planned phase out of the existing Engineering Education Coalitions (EEC); support for the remaining coalitions will be decreased as they approach the end of their NSF awards. Special attention will be given to institutionalizing successful educational innovations that have resulted from this investment. Smaller scale projects to integrate advanced technology research into the curriculum will also be supported.

  • ENG will provide $9.71 million for the REU sites program, a $2.01 million increase over FY 2001, related to research in nanotechnology.

  • As part of the REU sites program, ENG will allocate $1.0 million to establish Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) sites. These sites will provide opportunities for approximately 50 K-12 teachers over three years to participate in research in advanced technology at engineering universities during the summer and the academic year. This effort will permit K-12 teachers to address issues concerning emerging technologies in K-12 education, augmenting the capabilities of the Learning for the 21st Century priority area.

  • $7.66 million for graduate fellowships and traineeships, including $3.86 million, to support the Integrative Graduate Education and Research Training (IGERT) program and $3.80 million to provide fellowships for women graduate students to pursue doctoral studies in engineering through the Graduate Research Fellowships (GRF) program.

  • $1.78 million for professional development to support ADVANCE, to further the participation of women in science and engineering, an $800,000 increase over FY 2001.


In FY 2002, support for discovery across the frontiers of science and engineering decreases by $1.08 million to $351.67 million. These funds enable ENG to continue its support for fundamental research in the engineering disciplines and to enhance funding for research in promising areas such as information technology, nanotechnology, biotechnology, and microelectronics. Funds will be redirected through targeted reductions within existing mature research activities that are expected to be less promising in the future.

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, which will be funded at a level of $70.65 million, provides funding at the mandated level of 2.5 percent of extramural research, as required by P.L. 102-564. The program emphasizes commercialization of research results at small business enterprises through the support of high quality research across the entire spectrum of NSF disciplines. Recent improvements to the SBIR program include redefinition of research topics to address significant technologies and more emphasis on "commercialization potential" in the SBIR review process.

In FY 2002, ENG will provide $4.18 million, level with FY 2001, for the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program, which partners small businesses with academic institutions to promote industrial innovation.

Total ENG support for the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction (NEHRP) program is $48.09 million, including support for fundamental research that leads to more earthquake-resistant buildings and facilities. Foundation-wide, support for NEHRP in FY 2002 is $59.99 million, including $11.90 million in the Geosciences Activity. In addition, there is $24.40 million in the Major Research Equipment Account for the Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES).

ENG also provides funding for university-based centers that facilitate the development of new knowledge and technology. These centers share several important characteristics: a unifying long-term, coordinated approach to complex engineering problems, an emphasis on partnerships and knowledge transfer linkages with industry, and significant educational and outreach programs aimed at integrating education and research.

In FY 2000, three Engineering Research Centers (ERC) graduated. These were the Interfacial Engineering Center at the University of Minnesota, the Electronic Materials Processing ERC at North Carolina State, and the Offshore Structures ERC at Texas A&M/Texas-Austin.

In FY 2000, two ERCs were made. They were the Wireless Integrated Microsystems ERC at the University of Michigan that will focus on wireless MEMS cochlear implants and environmental pollutant sensing and the ERC for Subsurface Sensing and Sensing Systems at Northeastern University that will focus on sensing and imaging of subcutaneous, subterranean, and under the sea environments.

In FY 2001, three ERC graduated. These were the Data Storage Systems Center at Carnegie Mellon, the ERC for Computational Field Simulation at Mississippi State, and the ERC for Biofilm Engineering at Montana State.

In FY 2002, no ERCs will graduate.

(Millions of Dollars)

  FY 2001 Estimate FY 2002 Estimate Percent Change
Engineering Research Centers & Groups 62.81 62.32 -0.8%
Earthquake Engineering Research Centers 5.99 5.99 0.0%
Industry/University Cooperative Research Centers 5.18 5.18 0.0%
State/Industry/University Cooperative Research Centers 0.90 0.90 0.0%
Total, ENG Centers $74.88 $74.39 -0.7%

Totals may not add due to rounding.
FY 2001 is the final year of funding for the 1991 class of STCs. Funding in FY 2002 represents support for the cohort of STCs awarded in FY 2000.

The FY 2002 Budget Request includes:

  • A total of $62.32 million, a decrease of $490,000 from FY 2001, to support a steady state of 22-23 university-based Engineering Research Centers (ERC) and a number of groups. NSF provides about 30 percent of the total support to the centers, with the remaining funding support coming from industry, other Federal agencies, universities, and the states.

  • $5.99 million to support three earthquake engineering research centers at approximately $2.0 million each per year to provide knowledge to mitigate damage to the built environment; provide outreach to the private, educational, and government sectors; and educate professionals for cross-disciplinary careers.

  • $5.18 million for Industry/University Cooperative Research Centers (I/UCRC) and $900,000 for the State I/UCRCs. The I/UCRC program as a whole will support about 55 I/UCRCs and three State I/UCRCs. These highly leveraged centers form close-knit partnerships with their industrial members.


ENG continues to coordinate NSF support for the National Nanofabrication Users Network (NNUN), a network of five university user facilities that offer advanced nano- and micro-fabrication capabilities to researchers in all fields. In FY 2002, ENG will maintain support for NNUN at $2.8 million. NNUN has had a significant impact on the quantity and quality of research in micro- and nanostructures, serving users from 29 states and seven foreign countries. Over 600 projects and over 1,000 users have benefited from the use of NNUN facilities in the past four and a half years. In addition, hundreds of graduate students and dozens of undergraduate students have had opportunities to work in the state-of-the-art facilities gaining invaluable research experience. Support is also provided from NSF's Biological Sciences and Mathematical and Physical Sciences Activities.

NNUN is part of an overall thrust in nanotechnology that focuses research on the control of properties at the atomic/molecular level, their assembly into nanostructured materials, and utilization of the improved materials as building blocks for engineering applications, such as thin films and coatings, advanced chemical catalysts, artificial biomaterials, and novel optoelectronic devices.

Within the Major Research Equipment (MRE) account, $24.40 million is requested to continue the Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES), a project to construct, upgrade, network and integrate a complete system of test facilities in earthquake engineering. For additional information on this project, see the Major Research Equipment section.

Administration and Management

Administration and Management provides for administrative activities necessary to enable NSF to achieve its strategic goals. This includes the cost of Intergovernmental Personnel Act appointments and contractors performing administrative functions.

Number of People Involved in ENG Activities

  FY 2000
FY 2001
FY 2002
Senior Researchers 3,892 3,900 3,875
Other Professionals 711 700 700
Postdoctorates 362 400 400
Graduate Students 3,578 4,200 4,175
Undergraduate Students 1,800 2,100 2,100
K-12 Students 100 100 100
K-12 Teachers 100 100 115
Total Number of People 10,543 11,500 11,465

Totals may not add due to rounding.

ENG Funding Profile

  FY 2000
FY 2001
FY 2002
Number of Requests for Funding 7,466 7,600 8,400
Dollars Requested (in thousands) $2,086,666 2300000 2800000
Total Number of Awards 2,933 2,950 2,950
Statistics for Competitive Awards:      
   Number 1,532 1,550 1,525
   Funding Rate 25% 25% 25%
   Median Annualized Award Size1 $76,285 $77,000 $77,000
   Average Annualized Award Size1 $88,396 $91,000 $93,000
   Average Duration (yrs.)1,2 2.6 2.7 2.8

1 Statistics for award size and duration are for Research Grants only.
2 Includes SBIR Phase I awards that have a six month duration.

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