Investing in bold foundational research questions that are large in scope, innovative in character, originate outside of any particular directorate, and require a long-term commitment. This Big Idea is framed around the year 2026 in order to tie into the Nation's 250th anniversary ("sestercentennial").
NSF 2026 will allow for systemic community input into long-term program development, and capture the imagination of critical stakeholders about what might be. NSF 2026 intends to transcend established scientific structures and standard operating procedures. It will ensure continuous exploration at the frontiers and risk-taking in areas that might not fit inside the "box" of any particular program. Such programs could cross boundaries in innovative ways, fill recognized gaps or take advantage of new opportunities.
Community input will be collected via the NSF 2026 Idea Machine, a prize competition scheduled to launch in the summer of 2018.
Ten research and process "big ideas" that will drive important aspects of NSF's long-term research agenda, push forward the frontiers of U.S. science and engineering research, and lead to new discoveries and innovations.