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News Release 14-035

New strategic plan guides NSF through 2018

Plan released concurrently with FY 15 budget request

NSF headquarters building

The strategic goals enable NSF to link investments to longer-term outcomes.

March 13, 2014

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 Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.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 (NSF) has released a new strategic plan in concert with the President's Budget Request to Congress for NSF in fiscal year 2015.

The plan, titled, "Investing in Science, Engineering and Education for the Nation's Future," sets goals to guide the agency through 2018.

This is the first year that all federal agencies were required to simultaneously submit revised strategic plans to Congress, covering the next four years, under the Government Performance and Results Modernization Act of 2010.

NSF's plan sets out three strategic goals, each of which encompasses two or more objectives:

  • Transform the Frontiers of Science and Engineering. Invest in fundamental research to ensure significant continuing advances across science, engineering, and education. Integrate education and research to support development of a diverse STEM workforce with cutting-edge capabilities. Provide world-class research infrastructure to enable major scientific advances.
  • Stimulate Innovation and Address Societal Needs through Research and Education. Strengthen the links between fundamental research and societal needs through investments and partnerships. Build the capacity of the nation to address societal challenges using a suite of formal, informal, and broadly available STEM educational mechanisms.
  • Excel as a Federal Science Agency. Build an increasingly diverse, engaged, and high-performing workforce by fostering excellence in recruitment, training, leadership, and management of human capital. Use effective methods and innovative solutions to achieve excellence in accomplishing the agency's mission.

"The plan is intended to guide us through a very dynamic environment in science and engineering research and education," said NSF Acting Director Cora Marrett. "It allows us to maintain a strong focus on our mission but also be flexible in meeting the changing requirements of the research and education enterprise along with emerging and pressing societal challenges."

The strategic goals enable NSF to link investments to longer-term outcomes. The plan also sets out core approaches NSF will use to measure agency performance.

The plan, along with a summary document, is accessible on the NSF website.


Media Contacts
Maria C. Zacharias, NSF, (703) 292-8454, email:

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2023 budget of $9.5 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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