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Photo of Arden Bement

Dr. Arden L. Bement, Jr.
National Science Foundation

FY 2011 Budget Request Remarks
Arlington, VA
February 1, 2010

(As Prepared)

See also slide presentation.

If you're interested in reproducing any of the slides, please contact the Office of Legislative and Public Affairs: (703) 292-8070.

[Slide 1: Title slide]
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Good afternoon, everyone and welcome to the National Science Foundation. I appreciate your interest in the agency and that you have taken the time from your busy schedules to attend our FY2011 Budget Request presentation.

Google the word "innovation" and you will be presented with the words of Jefferson, Edison, Einstein, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Woody Allen and Willard Pollard, the chairman of the board of the Fortune 500 Company ServiceMaster.

It is Pollard, interestingly enough, who may have made the most apt remark for today; "Learning and innovation go hand in hand," he said. "The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow."

If innovation is not uniquely an American virtue, it surely is inherently an American trait. The urge to innovate, to try something new, to experiment is at the heart of what defines the very idea of the United States.

The concept of our democratic Republic is often referred to as the "American experiment." And innovations in science and technology have always been part and parcel of that experiment.

We are here today to talk about successes, both past and future, that spring directly from NSF’s inherent capacity to innovate.

In fact, the essence of NSF's 2011 Budget Request is the reaffirmation of the agency's roots as the nation's wellspring of scientific innovation.

[Slide 2: Budget Cover: "The Big Picture"]
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NSF's 2011 request is $7.4 billion, which represents an increase of eight percent over 2010.

[Slide 3: President's Plan for Science and Innovation]
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This keeps us on the road to President Obama's plan to double NSF's budget. The plan is part of an overall strategy to increase the nation's total R&D investment to three percent of Gross Domestic Product.

In addition, the 2011 Budget Request includes an increase of 41 percent in our Major Research Equipment & Facilities Construction account which I will discuss in detail later.

[Slide4 : Sensational 60]
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To borrow a military metaphor, since its establishment 60 years ago, NSF has been "the tip of the spear" in the nation's scientific and engineering research and education enterprise.

The Budget Request that I will describe for you today is designed to keep this agency at the forefront--where it has been since 1950--and, in turn, to advance the well-being of not only the U.S., but humanity in general.

[Slide 5: Innovation]
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In the words of President Obama, speaking at the National Academy of Sciences in April:

" ... Scientific innovation offers us a chance to achieve prosperity. It has offered us benefits that have improved our health and our lives--improvements we take too easily for granted."

And in the President's, "Strategy for American Innovation" he warns:

"The United States led the world's economies in the 20th century because we led the world in innovation. Today, the competition is keener; the challenge is tougher; and that is why innovation is more important than ever. It is the key to good, new jobs for the 21st century. That's how we will ensure a high quality of life for this generation and future generations."

Today, I will spend most of my time talking about how NSF's 2011 Budget Request is built around a strategy for innovation and broadening participation in science and engineering and about some specific portfolios of programs we have put together to achieve those goals.

[Slide 6: ARRA]
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But, for a moment, let me reflect on the successes and innovations we have already been able to fund this past year, thanks to an infusion of funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

Due to the hard and diligent work of a dedicated cadre of program officers and support personnel, NSF obligated $2.4 billion, or 80 percent, of its ARRA funding in FY 2009.

[Slide 7: ARRA Results]
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Overall, the ARRA Research and Related Activities account funded 4,599 awards, with NSF supporting 6,762 investigators distributed across all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

These grants included a total of 2,352 investigators or co-investigators who had not previously received NSF funding.

This is crucial because supporting new investigators is critical to developing the nation's science and technology workforce, which is an important goal of NSF's ARRA program.

We also achieved ARRA funding targets by funding an additional 76 awards in the Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program and the Math and Science Partnership Program.

Thanks to ARRA, NSF last year added to its solid bedrock of support for innovation that the 2011 Budget Request builds upon. Numerous NSF programs are specifically designed to promote innovation.

But there is much more to discuss.

[Slide 8: Administration Priority Programs]
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Four NSF programs are integral to the National Innovation Strategy (NIS) goal of educating the next generation with 21st Century knowledge and skills:

  • The Graduate Research Fellowship program and the Faculty Career Development program support students and early career investigators in order to foster the nation's next generation of scientists and engineers.

  • Climate Change Education addresses learning at all levels and is designed to develop a cadre of researchers whose expertise is in climate science.

  • The Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program supports new and enhanced two-year college programs that educate technicians for the high-technology workforce.

The 2011 Budget Request also includes programs that are well tailored to meeting the National Innovation Strategy (NIS) goals of supporting next-generation Information technology and secure cyberspace.

[Slide 9: Interagency Activities]
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NSF's portion of the interagency Networking and Information Technology R&D (NITRD) program--at a 2011 level of $1.17 billion--is an increase of seven percent over 2010.

NSF's NITRD activities will see increases in such areas as large-scale networking, high-end computing, software design and production; and research on social, economic, and workforce aspects of advanced computing and communications technology.

[Slide 10: Cyber-Enabled Discovery and Innovation]
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Through Cyber-Enabled Discovery and Innovation (CDI), NSF intends to harness innovations and advances in " computational thinking"--a newly coined term that encompasses computational concepts, methods, models, algorithms, and tools.

CDI will increase three percent in 2011 to $105 million.

CDI will revolutionize science and engineering research in fields as diverse as human cognition and the building of successful "virtual organizations."

We fully expect that these innovations will create new wealth in ways we cannot imagine today and, in doing so, enhance the national quality of life.

[Slide 11: Science and Engineering Beyond Moore's Law]
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In 1965, Gordon Moore, the co-founder of Intel Corp. observed that computer-processing power based on semiconductor integrated circuits doubles about every 18 months.

The limitations of current silicon-chip technology mean that the progression cannot continue indefinitely; that the physical and conceptual limits of Moore's Law are likely to be reached in 10-20 years.

If we are ever to solve the computational challenges inherent in today's great scientific questions, we must find a way to overcome the constraints of the silicon chip. This will require entirely new scientific, engineering and conceptual frameworks for computing.

NSF's Science and Engineering Beyond Moore's Law (SEBML), is multidisciplinary research designed to enhance our nation's economic competitiveness.

Spending for the program is proposed to increase by 50 percent in 2011 to $70 million.

Meeting the challenge of surpassing Moore's law falls squarely in line with the goals of the National Innovation Strategy, as this initiative will help preserve the U.S. preeminence in communications and computation.

[Slide 12: Cyberlearning Transforming Education]
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The Cyberlearning Transforming Education program is a new, $41 million multidisciplinary research portfolio--coordinated with the Department of Education--that will infuse the transformative potential of advanced learning technologies across the educational system.

By bringing advances in technology to learners at all educational levels, the program will advance the nation’s ability to study the learning process itself.

Other NSF programs are squarely in line with the NIS to encourage high growth and innovation-based entrepreneurship.

These include Partnerships for Innovation, Small Business Innovation Research, Small Business Technology Transfer, and Advanced Manufacturing.

[Slide 13: Partnerships for Innovation]
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The Partnerships for Innovation (PFI) program, brings together colleges, universities, state and local governments, private-sector firms, and non-profit organizations to support innovation by developing the people, tools, and infrastructure needed to connect new scientific discoveries to practical uses.

In 2011, PFI will increase by 109 percent to $19 million.

[Slide 14: Partnerships for Innovation]
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The 2011 request contains $12 million for a new PFI component: the "NSF Innovation Ecosystem," which aims to engage faculty and students in all disciplines in entrepreneurship and innovation; and to increase the effects of the most promising innovations that arise within university communities by strengthening industry alliances and helping innovators to commercialize new ideas and start businesses around them.

[Slide 15: GOALI]
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The Grant Opportunities for Academic Liaison with Industry (GOALI), a $19 million program, is designed to increase partnerships between academia and industry and to accelerate innovation by facilitating a faster transition of ideas from discovery to societal benefit.

[Slide 16: Centers Foster Innovation]
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NSF supports more than 100 centers in seven interdisciplinary program areas that facilitate innovation.

This year, the Budget Request for centers will increase by nine percent to $314 million.

NSF must continue to innovate in tackling the large-scale scientific and engineering challenges of our age. Among those surely must be understanding the nature and scope of changes in the Earth’s climate and the methods to cope with and mitigate those changes.

[Slide 17: USGCRP]
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NSF contributes multiple resources to support the U.S. Global Change Research Program and other interagency initiatives that are helping us understand and confront the global challenge of a changing climate.

NSF's contribution to the USGCRP is proposed to increase by 16 percent in the 2011 budget to $370 million.

[Slide 18: USGCRP]
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The program incorporates studies of climate variability and change across time and space, marine and terrestrial ecosystems, and human contributions and responses to climate change. This includes processes to identify and evaluate policies for mitigation, adaptation and responses to environmental conditions.

[Slide 19: SEES]
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In 2011, NSF will spend $766-million on a portfolio of programs called Science, Engineering, and Education for Sustainability (SEES)--that will seek integrated approaches to increase U.S. energy independence, enhance environmental stewardship and reduce energy use and carbon intensity, while generating continued economic growth.

SEES responds to recommendations in a 2009 National Science Board report, "Building a Sustainable Energy Future."

[Slide 20: STEM Education]
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As a nation, we must also continue to invest in innovative methods for improving STEM education and training. We need to constantly push to improve our educational system, to secure U.S. preeminence in the STEM fields of the future.

The Graduate Research Fellowship (GRF) program--a priority for the Administration--provides support to the next generation of scientists and engineers.

In 2011, we will continue on a trajectory begun in 2009 to triple the number of new awards made each year to 3,000 by 2013.

Spending on the GRF program is proposed to increase by 16 percent in 2011 to $158 million.

[Slide 21: RE-ENERGYSE]
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RE-ENERGYSE (RE-gaining our ENERGY Science and Engineering Edge) is a $19 million investment to attract and educate future scientists in clean energy fields.

NSF will jointly fund RE-ENERGYSE with the Department of Energy.

RE-ENERGYSE will prepare as many as 8,500 highly trained young scientists and engineers for clean energy careers by 2015. Additionally, RE-ENERGYSE will provide training for thousands of skilled technicians for "clean energy" industries.

NSF contributions to RE-ENERGYSE will focus on individual fellowships to graduate students and postdoctoral researchers for "clean energy" fields.

[Slide 22: Broadening Participation]
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NSF is firmly committed to improving education and workforce development by broadening the participation of traditionally underrepresented groups. These goals were described in the agency's Strategic Plan for 2006-2011, "Investing in America's Future."

A new integrated activity, Comprehensive Broadening Participation of Undergraduates in STEM, is a $103 million program, designed to expand effective approaches used by Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic-serving institutions, Tribal Colleges and Universities, and Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation institutions to improve the nation’s capacity to increase the number of STEM graduates from traditionally underrepresented groups.

We believe that consolidating our support mechanisms for these various programs will help transform infrastructure, operations, and resources.

It will also increase opportunities for undergraduates to be involved in cutting-edge scientific research and have access to advanced research instrumentation. In addition, it will stimulate innovation and creativity from the nation's education and research enterprise through support of effective institutional collaborations.

[Slide 23: EPSCOR]
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NSF also will continue to encourage participation from diverse institutions across all geographical areas in science and engineering research and education activities, through the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (ESPCoR) program.

EPSCoR is a joint program of NSF and 29 U.S. states and territories that promote the development science and technology resources.

EPSCoR's budget in 2011 is proposed to increase by 5 percent, to $154 million.

We also must not forget that NSF exercises stewardship of the intellectual infrastructure of the nation's fundamental research enterprise.

[Slide 24: Competitive Proposals]
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As I previously mentioned, we were able to effectively deploy NSF's share of ARRA funding to support innovative research we otherwise could not afford. But at the most basic level, this very successful effort stressed our human capital, namely, program officers, support staff and others—to their limits.

[Slide 25: Enhancing Human Capital]
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The 2011 request includes $469 million, an increase of $39 million to increase our staff by 40 fulltime positions and improve the reliability and security of NSF's IT systems.

The 2011 Request also includes additional monies to improve our stewardship of research infrastructure through investments in the Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction (MREFC) account.

[Slide 26: MREFC]
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By providing major research facilities, platforms, and networks, NSF advances the frontiers of science and engineering; enables the training of a world-class science, engineering, and technology workforce; and provides equipment and services to industry partners.

In the past decade, the MREFC account has funded the construction of Earthscope, the IceCube Neutrino Observatory, the refitting of the Scientific Ocean Drilling Vessel, and much more.

[Slide 27: MREFC]
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Through the MREFC account, NSF will support construction of four ongoing projects: Advanced LIGO, the Atacama Large Millimeter Array, and the Advanced Technology Solar Telescope, and the Ocean Observatories Initiative--a network that will provide never-before-seen views of the ocean's depths.

[Slide 28: NEON]
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In 2011, NSF has added plans to build the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON), a multi-faceted project with a total projected budget of $434 million, spread out over the next six fiscal years.

NSF will spend $20 million to begin construction of NEON in 2011.

NEON will collect data on the effects of climate change, changes in land use, and invasive species on natural resources and biodiversity. NEON will be the first observatory network designed to detect and enable forecasting of ecological change at the continental scale over multiple decades.

Government agencies will cooperate to integrate information from sensors situated across North America with remote, satellite-based observations, using the latest information technology. A number of academic institutions and their industry partners will participate in research and design activities.

NEON data will contribute to multi-scale models of global change that will support local, regional, national, and global analyses of potential scenarios for adapting to and mitigating climate change.

NEON is expected to benefit all of the environmental and ecological sciences.

[Slide 29: NSF 2011 Budget Request]
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As you can see, NSF's research and education agenda is both multi-faceted and well-rounded. It is designed very deliberately to keep the agency’s place at the forefront of science and engineering but also to support the Administration's plan for making innovation a centerpiece of economic strength and future well-being.

NSF's historical role and the future as the crucible of scientific innovation in the United States as I have described is material proof of Steve Jobs' assertion that "innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower."

NSF chooses to lead, not to follow.

I am happy to take your questions.



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