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Fact Sheet

National Science Foundation Fiscal 2004 Budget Highlights

February 2, 2003

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

The National Science Foundation's budget request for fiscal 2004 asks for nearly $5.5 billion to meet some of the immediate needs of the nation in scientific and engineering research, education and workforce development. The overall budget request represents a 9 percent increase (+$453 of million) over the fiscal 2003 budget request.


Priority Areas. The budget invests in priority research and education areas across the foundation that hold promise for significant breakthroughs in science, education, and technology. These include:

  • Biocomplexity in the Environment ($100 million, +26 percent), the studies of interrelationships arising from living things interact with the environment,
  • Information Technology Research ($303 million, +6 percent),
  • Nanoscience and engineering ($249 million, +12.5 percent),
  • Mathematical Sciences priority area ($89 million, +48 percent),
  • Human and Social Dynamics ($24.25 million, +142.5 percent), part of an enhanced activity of social, behavioral and economic sciences that includes studies of the dynamics of how change affects society, the agents of change, and translating new knowledge into better decision making, and
  • Workforce for the 21st Century ($8.5 million), a new effort that will draw on existing, successful education programs to establish a seamless route of advancement for students from preK-12 to postdoctorate levels.

Mathematical and Physical Sciences. For the first time, NSF will surpass $1 billion in 2004 for funding programs in the mathematical and physical sciences, which would be $100 million above the 2003 budget request. This increase renews support for physics, chemistry, and materials sciences-disciplines that are important to continued advances in the health sciences and other areas.

Plant Genome Research. NSF will maintain a high level of effort with a $75 million investment for 2004, equal to 2003.

Climate change science. NSF will invest $25 million in fiscal 2004, a 60 percent increase above the 2003 request.

Homeland Security-related research has broad NSF support in areas such as biological sciences and ecology of infectious diseases, information technology research, critical infrastructure protection and the Scholarship for Service program.

Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction. The $202 million for this area is 60 percent higher (+$76 million) than the 2003 request. This total funds all ongoing projects and initiates construction of the IceCube neutrino detector at the South Pole. For the first time, the NSF congressional justification prioritizes all ongoing and planned major facility construction approved by the National Science Board.

Math and Science Partnership (MSP) Program. Part of the president's education initiative, MSP will be funded at $200 million, equal to the fiscal 2003 request.

Graduate Fellowships/Traineeships. The 2004 budget provides $215 million for NSF's graduate fellowship and traineeship programs, a 22 percent increase (+$39 million) over the 2003 request. Stipends would increase from $25,000 (requested for 2003) to $30,000, and increase the number of students supported by about 350 to around 5,000 total.

Broadening Participation. NSF will heighten its emphasis in fiscal 2004 on the programs that encourage women and minorities in undergraduate through postdoctorate levels. These include the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Undergraduate Program, with a $20 million investment (+43 percent over 2003), the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation, helping minorities toward undergraduate degrees in science and engineering, $32.7 million in 2004 (+23 percent), ADVANCE, a program achieving more diversity among successful scientists with family responsibilities, $21.2 million (+23 percent), and Partnerships for Innovation, a program to transfer knowledge from research and education into the creation of new wealth by strengthening local and regional economies, $10 million (+100 percent).

Major Research Instrumentation. A $90 million request for 2004 is a 67 percent increase (+$36 million) over the 2003 request, which would address high demand for instrumentation in the $100,000-to-$2 million range, especially for programs at HBCUs, minority-serving institutions and community colleges.

Cyberinfrastructure. The budget provides $20 million to initiate a Cyberinfrastructure program that would fund projects to demonstrate how high-performance supercomputers and networks could be linked with massive databases, sensors, and visualization capabilities to bring supercomputer capabilities to the desks of researchers.


See also:

Media Contacts
William C. Noxon, NSF, (703) 292-8070, email:

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2018, its budget is $7.8 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 50,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards.

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