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The FY 2003 Budget Request for the Chemical and Transport Systems Subactivity is $58.94 million, an increase of $2.17 million, or 3.8 percent, above the FY 2002 Current Plan of $56.77 million.

(Millions of Dollars)


FY 2001

FY 2002
Current Plan

FY 2003




Chemical and Transport Systems






Total, CTS






The Chemical and Transport Systems (CTS) Division supports research and education in areas that involve the transformation and/or transport of matter and energy by chemical, thermal, or mechanical means. CTS research and education investments contribute significantly to the knowledge base and to the development of the workforce for major components of the U.S. economy. These include the process industries (chemicals, pharmaceuticals, forest products, materials, petroleum, food, and textiles), utilities, microelectronic component manufacturers, and producers of consumer products of all kinds. CTS-funded research in areas such as fluid flow, combustion, heat transfer, catalysis, fuel cells, sensors, and membranes contribute to advances that are important for the environment, energy, transportation, information technologies, and other areas that impact our daily lives.

CTS will continue to support research in traditionally important areas such as chemical reaction engineering, interfacial phenomena and separations, fluid dynamics and particle processes, and combustion and thermal processing. These areas are essential to ensure continued growth of the fundamental knowledge base, which is the foundation for advances in many fields. In addition to sustaining the vitality of these core research areas, the Division actively supports the following key areas of particular NSF emphasis.

Nanoscale Science and Engineering: The FY 2003 increase of $1.50 million will expand research in the synthesis and processing of matter at the nanometer-length scale, producing materials with novel physical, optical, chemical, and biological properties. Understanding structural morphologies and properties from the molecular scale up to bulk scale via new experimental tools and simulation capabilities will permit major advances in many areas central to CTS. The fields of catalysis, microfluidics, electronic materials, membranes and adsorption media for selective chemical and biochemical separations, fuel cells, plasma processing, sensors, and environmental technologies will be significantly impacted. The synthesis of particles, films, and 3D structures with functional nanoscale features by methods involving nucleation, molecular and particle self-assembly, controlled thermal and molecular transport, as well as chemical reactions, is a priority area for CTS. Furthermore, in order to accelerate the benefits from increased investments in fundamental research on these topics, CTS will allocate funds for infrastructure investment to address issues that deal with scale-up of the synthesis processes, development of new instrumentation, and refined methods for characterization.

Information Technology Research (ITR): FY 2003 funds will increase support of enhancements to computational tools (algorithms, data mining and visualization) and infrastructure (terascale computing facilities), coupled with advances in basic science. This will permit more robust and precise modeling and simulation of complex materials processing and manufacturing techniques. Such improved simulations are enabled by a significant increase in the breadth and depth of the CTS research portfolio in ITR-related areas. The target applications include the design and utilization of next-generation chemical and plasma vapor-deposition techniques for microelectronics manufacturing; analysis of growth mechanisms of next-generation photonic crystals leading to better control of microstructure formation and segregation of dopants and impurities; the manufacturing of optical fibers needed in wide-band networking applications with optimum product quality; and the processing of high-performance polymers (plastics) that involves chemical reactions and multi-scale flow phenomena of non-Newtonian fluids. In addition to reducing the time required to introduce new products and processes, advances in process modeling result in more efficient and environmentally sound processing and manufacturing systems.

Environmental Technologies: Research leading to products and processes that avoid negative environmental impact will continue to be a CTS priority. Examples of CTS interest areas are production processes that minimize undesirable side products, new biocatalysis methods that permit the use of renewable feedstocks, and separation and purification processes that use less energy, as well as environmentally sound solvents, cleaner combustion processes, and reliable process-design methods that reduce or eliminate environmental impact. Novel techniques for control of greenhouse gases will receive increased emphasis. These topics are strongly embedded in the core of CTS programs. By participating in the new MUSES component of Biocomplexity in the Environment, which involves development of new materials and processes, CTS will provide enhanced funding to these environmental technology areas.

Sensor Technologies: As part of its programs related to chemical-process control, CTS has invested in development of various types of sensors for monitoring levels of specific chemicals and biochemical materials, temperature, pressure, and flow conditions. With the increased needs for improved sensors arising from security requirements, CTS will expand its investments in this area. Developments in nanotechnology have opened many new opportunities for the creation of more selective and sensitive sensors, including detectors for target biological materials that will be extremely valuable for security applications as well as in the safe and efficient operation of industrial processes.

In addition to the redistribution of funds within the four core research areas to support high-potential proposals, FY 2003 increases will be distributed among:

  • The Nanoscale Science and Engineering priority area, which involves practically all of the CTS core research areas;

  • The Information Technology Research priority area, to encourage more activity in modeling of materials and processes;

  • Support for environmentally relevant technologies by investing in MUSES;

  • A new sensors initiative, funded through the core programs; and

  • The Mathematical Sciences priority area, emphasizing molecular and process modeling.
  Last Modified: Sep 17, 2004


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