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The FY 2003 Budget Request for the Multidisciplinary Activities Subactivity is $25.02 million, an increase of $190,000, or 0.8 percent, over the FY 2002 Current Plan of $24.83 million.

(Millions of Dollars)


FY 2001

FY 2002
Current Plan

FY 2003




Research Project Support






Total, OMA






The Multidisciplinary Activities Subactivity (OMA) enables support by MPS of particularly novel, challenging, or complex projects in research and education whose realization might otherwise be hampered by existing institutional or procedural barriers. To accomplish this, OMA works cooperatively with other MPS Subactivities in encouraging multidisciplinary proposals from all segments of the MPS community and especially encourages initiatives by multi-investigator, multidisciplinary teams pursuing problems on a scale that exceeds the capacity of individual investigators or which are not readily accommodated by existing MPS program structures. Examples of such multidisciplinary projects enabled by OMA include the Cryogenic Helium Turbulence Research Center (Oregon, Yale, and Brookhaven National Laboratory), the Fullerene Nanotube Chemistry Focused Research Group (Rice and UCLA), and the Center for Ultracold Atoms (MIT and Harvard).

OMA facilitates partnerships between MPS and other NSF activities, other agencies, industry, national laboratories, state and local governments, and international organizations. Such partnerships are critically important to the pursuit of the strategic goals of the Foundation and of the MPS community and contribute significantly to the preparation of a diverse workforce for the new century that is broadly trained, flexible, and globally competitive. Facilitation by OMA of both disciplinary partnerships as well as organizational partnerships is vital to the accelerated discovery of new ideas, the development of new tools, and the broadened training necessary to enable the nation's workforce to meet new and rapidly evolving demands.

OMA supports innovative experiments in physical science and mathematics education that could lead to new paradigms in disciplinary and multidisciplinary graduate and undergraduate education. It is a focal point within MPS for activities that facilitate the development of a diverse and globally competitive workforce. OMA also uses MPS research infrastructure as a resource to enhance the K-12 teaching cohort, broaden the discovery-based learning experiences of K-16 students and draw upon MPS-supported research as an effective platform for public science education. Examples of OMA investment in these educational arenas include:

  • Support for Research Experiences for Teachers (RET), which provides in-service and pre-service K-12 teachers with discovery-based learning experiences in the MPS disciplines. Through supplements from OMA available to the more than 200 REU Sites in MPS, K-12 teachers are supported for up to ten weeks of research activities. Since the inception of RET in FY 1999, more than 700 K-12 teachers have been supported through annual investment in the range of $2.0 million.

  • Support for Internships in Public Science Education (IPSE), which is designed to bring recent science results from MPS-supported research to the public by promoting partnerships between the MPS research community and specialists in public science education. The IPSE program provides support for undergraduate and graduate students and K-12 teachers to work in conjunction with MPS research scientists, and with professionals at science centers and museums, on projects in public science education.

In FY 2003, OMA will continue to work with other MPS Subactivities and programs across the Foundation to broaden the disciplinary base of research and education in the mathematical and physical sciences. Of particular importance are the interfaces between MPS and the Biological Sciences Activity, between MPS and the Geosciences Activity, and between MPS and the Education and Human Resources Activity.

The FY 2003 Budget Request includes:

  • $3.50 million for support of research and training activities at the scientifically rich interfaces between MPS and the BIO Activity and between MPS and the GEO Activity.

  • $3.0 million for the support of multidisciplinary institutes to stimulate new and emerging areas of research and education in the MPS disciplines.

  • $3.0 million for support of cooperative international research and training activities to increase the global competitiveness of U.S. scientists, engineers, and students. Activities such as the MPS Distinguished International Postdoctoral Research Fellowship program enable graduate students, postdoctorals, and faculty in the MPS disciplines to carry out research at the world's leading facilities and laboratories to develop and to enrich essential international dimensions of their research and education programs.

  • $3.0 million for investment in research by multidisciplinary groups of scientists, mathematicians, and engineers leading to the development of next-generation instrumentation that integrates computation and measurement to enable fundamental advances and broad training across a wide spectrum of disciplines.

  • $3.0 million for the support of university-industry interactions through the Grant Opportunities for Academic Liaison with Industry (GOALI) program, which affords a vital mechanism for broadening graduate and postdoctoral training.

  • $2.50 million to enable the extensive MPS research investment to be drawn upon for formal and informal science education, particularly through the MPS Internships in Public Science Education program that supports partnerships between MPS researchers and the public science education communities, with focused emphasis on MPS-supported research centers and facilities.

  • $1.0 million for the support, joint with the EHR/DUE Subactivity, of Centers for Learning and Teaching in the MPS disciplines. These Centers will enhance the knowledge content and pedagogical skills of current and future faculty and serve as national resources in areas such as assessment, curriculum development in the MPS disciplines, and research-based instructional methodologies.

  • $1.0 million to facilitate the development, joint with other Directorates, of integrative multidisciplinary undergraduate education and research training activities, with particular emphasis on quality non-doctoral institutions.
  Last Modified: Sep 17, 2004


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National Science Foundation Summary of FY 2003 Budget Request to Congress NSF Logo