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Fact Sheet

NSF FY 2017 Budget Request

February 9, 2016

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 Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

Under the President's leadership, we have turned our economy around and created 14 million jobs. Our unemployment rate is below five percent for the first time in almost eight years. Nearly 18 million people have gained health coverage as the Affordable Care Act has taken effect. And we have dramatically cut our deficits by almost three-quarters and set our Nation on a more sustainable fiscal path.

Yet while it is important to take stock of our progress, this Budget is not about looking back at the road we have traveled. It is about looking forward and making sure our economy works for everybody, not just those at the top. It is about choosing investments that not only make us stronger today, but also reflect the kind of country we aspire to be -- the kind of country we want to pass on to our children and grandchildren.

The Budget makes critical investments in our domestic and national security priorities while adhering to the bipartisan budget agreement signed into law last fall, and it lifts sequestration in future years so that we continue to invest in our economic future and our national security. It also drives down deficits and maintains our fiscal progress through smart savings from health care, immigration, and tax reforms.

The Budget shows that the President and the Administration remain focused on meeting our greatest challenges -- including accelerating the pace of innovation to tackle climate change and find new treatments for devastating diseases; giving everyone a fair shot at opportunity and economic security; and advancing our national security and global leadership -- not only for the year ahead, but for decades to come.

The National Science Foundation's (NSF) mission is to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; and to secure the national defense. To support this mission, the Budget provides $7.96 billion, of which $7.56 billion is discretionary funding and $400 million is new mandatory funding. This funding level will continue NSF's longstanding commitment to making investments in basic research and people who make the discoveries that will grow our economy, sustain our competitive advantage, and enable America to remain the world leader in innovation. It embraces the challenge of ensuring that scientific discovery and technological breakthroughs remain engines for expanding the frontiers of human knowledge and responding to the challenges of the 21st century. NSF allocates most of its funding through a competitive merit review process as grants or cooperative agreements to individual researchers and groups at colleges, universities, academic consortia, nonprofit institutions, and small businesses. The FY 2017 Budget would allow NSF to make 10,100 new research grants across fields of science and engineering, affecting 377,170 senior researchers, other professionals, postdocs, graduate and undergraduate students, and K-12 students and teachers.

Funding Highlights:

The President's FY 2017 Budget provides $7.96 billion, of which $7.56 billion is discretionary funding and $400 million is new mandatory funding, for the National Science Foundation to support research that drives scientific discovery, maintains America's global competitiveness, and builds the modern workforce that is critical for addressing the complex challenges that face the Nation. This includes:

  • Investing in basic research in all fields of science and engineering to advance the American science and technology enterprise;

  • Developing a highly talented science, technology, engineering, and mathematics workforce through all phases of education, from Pre-K through doctorate and beyond;

  • Advancing basic research in areas that are vital to the development of a clean energy economy; and

  • Securing one-year mandatory funding to advance innovation and enable tomorrow's discoveries.


  • Providing opportunities for science and engineering graduate students to acquire the knowledge, experience, and skills needed for highly productive careers.

  • Improving the ways that scientists, mathematicians, and engineers involve the public.


Supports the Long-Term Development of a Clean Energy Economy
Clean Energy Technology investments address the fundamental research questions that underlie the development and improvement of renewable and alternative energy sources. The Budget provides $512 million to support research and education in innovative renewable and alternative energy sources for electricity and fuels; the collection, conversion, storage, and distribution of energy from diverse power sources; and energy materials, use, and efficiency.

Advances Our Understanding of the Brain
The Budget provides $142 million to enable scientific understanding of the full complexity of the brain in action and in context. This encompasses ongoing cognitive science and neuroscience research and includes NSF's contribution of $74 million to the Administration's Brain Research through Advancing Innovation and Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative.

Increases Resilience to Disasters
The Budget provides $43 million to improve predictability and risk assessment and increase resilience to extreme natural and man-made events in order to reduce their impact on quality of life, society, and the economy.

Addresses Challenges in Sustaining the Food, Energy, and Water System
The Budget provides $62 million to understand, design, and model the interconnected food, energy, and water system through an interdisciplinary research effort that incorporates all areas of science and engineering and addresses the natural, social, and human-built factors involved.

Advances Cutting-Edge Manufacturing
The Budget provides $176 million for advanced manufacturing that leverages both disciplinary and topical mechanisms to advance knowledge for the production of novel products through processes that depend on the coordination of information, automation, computation, networking, or other emerging scientific capabilities.

Accelerates the Commercialization of University Research
The Budget provides $30 million for Innovation Corps to further build, utilize, and sustain a national innovation ecosystem that helps researchers effectively identify viable market opportunities and augments the development of technologies, products, and processes that benefit the Nation.

Provides Leading Edge Capabilities and Infrastructure for Research and Education
The Budget provides $33 million for the multi-agency National Strategic Computing Initiative to advance the Nation's computational infrastructure for research.

The Budget also invests $106 million in the construction of two Regional Class Research Vessels to meet anticipated ocean science requirements for the U.S. East Coast, West Coast, and Gulf of Mexico.

Develops a Highly Talented Workforce through All Phases of Education
NSF funds activities that support students, teachers, researchers, and the public, as well as education research that is critical to building the Nation's knowledge base for improving learning in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The Budget provides a total of $1.2 billion for STEM education activities, including for:

  • CyberCorps: Scholarships for Service, a program that supports cybersecurity education and research at higher education institutions. FY 2017 funding will begin laying the groundwork for SFS program scholarship alumni to serve as a national resource over the course of their careers.

  • Computer Science for All, which will accelerate NSF's ongoing efforts to enable rigorous and engaging computer science education in schools across the Nation.

  • Improving Undergraduate STEM Education to accelerate the quality and effectiveness of undergraduate education in all STEM fields by using research on STEM learning to address crosscutting challenges and discipline-specific issues.

  • Advanced Technological Education that supports technicians in undergraduate programs preparing for the high-technology fields that drive our Nation's economy.

  • NSF Research Traineeships that identify priority research themes that both align with NSF initiatives and have strong potential for the development and testing of innovative practices in graduate education.

  • Graduate Research Fellowships that recognize students with high potential in STEM research and innovation and provide support for them to pursue multidisciplinary research.

  • Advancing Informal STEM Learning that provides design, implementation, and testing of new approaches to STEM learning opportunities for the public in informal environments; the creation of multiple pathways for broadening access to and engagement in STEM learning experiences; and research on and assessment of STEM learning in informal environments.

Advances Innovation and Enables Tomorrow’s Discoveries 
New one-year mandatory funding totaling $400 million will support the core activities -- fundamental, curiosity-driven inquiry -- that are NSF's principal contribution to the Nation's science and technology enterprise. This funding will support more scientists and engineers at the early stages of their careers. The research being undertaken by these young investigators is increasingly interdisciplinary and data- and computationally intensive. This therefore will quicken the pace of discovery and advance the leading edge of research and education.

Provides Opportunities for Science and Engineering Graduate Students
A strong global economy is reliant on the ability to capitalize on technical innovations that result from a skilled and agile STEM workforce. NSF will fund summer institutes and supplements to existing awards to provide opportunities for science and engineering graduate students to acquire the knowledge, experience, and skills needed for highly productive careers.

Improves the Ways that Scientists, Mathematicians, and Engineers Involve the Public
Many challenging research problems rely on the participation of the public to collect data over large geographic areas or contribute to problem solving through crowdsourcing.  NSF will fund Research Coordination Networks, Early Concept Grants for Exploratory Research, and supplements to existing awards to improve the ways that scientists, mathematicians, and engineers involve the public in their research efforts to solve challenging problems and improve learning.


Media Contacts
Aya Collins, NSF, (703) 292-7737, 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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