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The FY 2003 Budget Request for the Civil and Mechanical Systems Subactivity is $57.75 million, an increase of $1.69 million, or 3.0 percent, above the FY 2002 Current Plan of $56.06 million.

(Millions of Dollars)


FY 2001

FY 2002
Current Plan

FY 2003




Civil and Mechanical Systems






Total, CMS






The Civil and Mechanical Systems (CMS) Subactivity has two major goals: to support research that provides the fundamental and quantitative underpinning for the engineering profession in application to civil and mechanical systems and the built environment, and to support the rapid development and deployment of new knowledge and technology in service to the public to decrease vulnerability to natural and technological hazards.

CMS research increases the knowledge base and intellectual growth in the disciplines of construction and management, geotechnology, structures, dynamics, sensors and control systems, engineering mechanics, and materials, as well as the application of IT and advanced computation to enhance reliability and performance of critical infrastructure systems. CMS encourages cross-disciplinary partnerships to produce innovative and integrated engineered services.

At the heart of the CMS mission is the improved understanding and design of materials and structures across all physical scales, with the eventual goal of seamless and realistic modeling and experimentation at different scales, from nano-level to mega-system integration-level. Research activities funded by CMS include a strong focus on integrated experiments and modeling to enhance the fundamental understanding of complex structures and systems, including nonlinear dynamic behaviors and processes.

The linkage between physical model experimentation and computational model simulation demands development of the sensor technologies necessary for measurement and observation of fundamental processes. New sensors are also needed for "smart" civil and mechanical systems and for application of information technology required to sustain the nation's infrastructure. Real-time data acquisition and visualization will enhance critical infrastructure performance analysis and prediction.

In support of NSF's mission as an a participant in the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP), a major focus for CMS research is the mitigation of impacts from natural and technological hazards on constructed, natural, and human environments. CMS funds rapid-response reconnaissance and field investigations, deployed to observe and collect data following extreme events in the U.S. or abroad. Interdisciplinary and international studies involving hazard assessment, preparedness and response, societal and economic impacts, decision theory and policy are supported in coordination with the Geosciences and the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences Activities of NSF.

The $1.69 million increase in the CMS budget will be combined with CMS core funding reallocations to support expanded research in the following:

Sensing the World: $1.90 million from core funding will support research on sensor technology and applications. CMS investments include research on miniaturization, new sensor capabilities, improved active sensors and robotic devices for rapid detection and search and rescue application, and intelligent deployment of sensor arrays. Support also encompasses development of complex and distributed systems of sensors, and systems integration for seamless and real-time use of information. This investment will open new technical opportunities for study of changing attributes of materials, understanding of basic mechanics and chemistry of processes, and life-cycle performance under conditions of exposure, operation and aging. Compelling applications include real-time assessment of damage and repair to reduce recovery periods after disasters; analysis of critical system vulnerabilities; and removal of personnel from hazardous operations and maintenance roles.

Multiscale Materials Simulation and Design: $1.0 million of the CMS budget will support integrated design of nanomaterials and nanostructures, and apply this knowledge across scales to simulate material and surface behavior through the macro-scale. Such scale transcendence is needed for development of new materials and sensing devices for use in civil and mechanical systems. Core funds will be used for computational and experimental advances in model-based simulation, integrating physical testing with system simulation software in a virtual test environment to reduce development time and cost.

Extreme Events: $3.0 million of core funding will support research in multi-hazard engineering, producing the new technologies and design tools to identify and communicate infrastructure system vulnerabilities under risk of extreme events. With the George E. Brown, Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES) coming online in FY 2004, CMS investments will increase in large-scale experimental and computational research. In FY 2003, CMS will initiate a "grand challenges" research program to capitalize on NEES equipment investments, and in FY 2005, the CMS request will include an estimated $8.0 million per year to support NEES Consortium maintenance and operations.

Complex System Vulnerabilities and Interdependencies: $2.90 million will be used to enhance research on the nation's complex and interdependent physical infrastructure systems, leading to scalable systems of high reliability, decreased vulnerability, and decreased life-cycle cost and environmental impact. In concert with the Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE) Activity, this investment will allow the development of new operational, maintenance and design paradigms, IT-tools for information interpretation and decision-making, and systems models that efficiently simulate complex phenomena and are reliable tools for design and performance prediction of complex infrastructure service.

Engineering and the Environment: $1.06 million will support research on resource stewardship and the interaction of the built systems, earth's natural systems, and society. Research is supported on engineered materials and processes that avoid or manage impacts on the natural and social environments; and engineering that mitigates hazards. The increase will support a workshop to identify breakthrough opportunities for CMS research in the environment, focusing on opportunities for interdisciplinary research.

Within the Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction (MREFC) Account, $13.56 million has been 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. This national project will also promote international collaborations for earthquake engineering research. Oversight of this project will be provided through CMS. For additional information on this project, see the MREFC section.

  Last Modified: Sep 17, 2004


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