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Abstract Thinking
Since 2017, NSF has been building a foundation for the Big Ideas through pioneering research and pilot activities. In 2019, NSF will invest $30 million in each Big Idea and continue to identify and support emerging opportunities for U.S. leadership in Big Ideas that serve the Nation's future.

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Future of Work at the Human-Technology Frontier

Catalyzing interdisciplinary science and engineering research to understand and build the human-technology relationship; design new technologies to augment human performance; illuminate the emerging socio-technological landscape; and foster lifelong and pervasive learning with technology. Read more.

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Growing Convergence Research

Merging ideas, approaches, tools, and technologies from widely diverse fields of science and engineering to stimulate discovery and innovation. Read more.

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Harnessing the Data Revolution

Engaging NSF's research community in the pursuit of fundamental research in data science and engineering, the development of a cohesive, federated, national-scale approach to research data infrastructure, and the development of a 21 -century data-capable workforce. Read more.



Mid-scale Research Infrastructure

Developing an agile process for funding experimental research capabilities in the mid-scale range capabilities in the mid-scale range, a "sweet spot" for science and engineering that has been challenging to fund through traditional NSF programs. Read more.

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Navigating the New Arctic

Establishing an observing network of mobile and fixed platforms and tools across the Arctic to document and understand the Arctic's rapid biological, physical, chemical, and social changes. Read more.



NSF 2026

Stimulating and seeding investments in bold foundational research questions that are large in scope, innovative in character, originate outside of any particular NSF directorate, and may require a long-term commitment. Read more.

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Transforming education and career pathways to help broaden participation in science and engineering. Read more.

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Quantum Leap

Exploiting quantum mechanics to observe, manipulate, and control the behavior of particles and energy at atomic and subatomic scales, resulting in next-generation quantum-enabled science and technology for sensing, information processing, communicating, and computing. Read more.

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Understanding the Rules of Life

Elucidating and harnessing the sets of rules that predict an organism's observable characteristics, its phenotype. Read more.

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Windows on the Universe

Using powerful new syntheses of observational approaches to provide unique insights into the nature and behavior of matter and energy and help to answer some of the most profound questions before humankind. Read more.