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Fact Sheet

NSF: Promoting Science & Engineering Innovation

February 1, 2010

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 Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

President Obama's National Innovation Strategy calls for investment in the building blocks of American innovation, promoting competitive markets that spur productive entrepreneurship and catalyzing breakthroughs for national priorities. NSF plays a role in that innovation strategy at all three levels.

Since innovation depends on the foundation of earlier investments, NSF has several programs to invest in the building blocks of innovation. Two programs are the Cyber-Enabled Discovery and Innovation (CDI) and Science and Engineering Beyond Moore's Law. CDI is a bold effort to create revolutionary science and engineering research outcomes through innovations and advances in computational thinking. Beyond Moore's Law is a multidisciplinary research investment that will help drive our nation's economic competitiveness and potential for transformation. CDI and Beyond Moore's Law are two examples of NSF programs that support today's fundamental discoveries that will become tomorrow's new products and processes.

NSF has several programs to promote competitive markets that spur productive entrepreneurship, including the Partnerships for Innovation (PFI) program, the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, and Centers programs. PFI promotes innovation by bringing together colleges, universities, state and local governments, private sector firms and nonprofit organizations to develop the people, tools and infrastructure needed to connect new discoveries to practical uses. SBIR/STTR programs support high-quality projects on important scientific, engineering or science/engineering education problems and opportunities that could lead to significant commercial and public benefit. Additionally, NSF supports over 100 centers, including the Engineering Research Centers (ERC) and the Science and Technology Centers (STC). Centers combine innovative research, relevant science and engineering education and supportive links to industry to generate interdisciplinary research that is responsive to national needs.

Finally, NSF promotes innovation by constructing programs that catalyze breakthroughs to address national priorities. Such programs range from developing and educating a new clean energy workforce (RE-ENERGYSE) to developing new supercomputing facilities, which are necessary to investigate today's complex scientific research questions, from climate change to medical research.


Media Contacts
Bobbie Mixon, 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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