Dr. Cora Marrett
U.S. National Science Foundation
NSF Fiscal Year 2014 Budget Request
Stafford I, Room 1235
April 10, 2013
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Title slide title: NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION FISCAL YEAR 2014 BUDGET REQUEST
Dr. Cora Marrett
Slide image: Photo showing high quality bi-layer graphene on a copper substrate
Image credit: Peter Allen, University of California, Santa Barbara
Thank you very much, and I want to welcome everybody this afternoon and thank you for your interest in NSF, that interest being exemplified by your presence here, your presence associated with the discussion or the presentation of the President's Fiscal Year 2014 Budget Request for the National Science Foundation.
As Ms. (Judy) Gan just mentioned, we're very pleased to be joined by other senior officials from the Foundation. I will provide an overview on priorities as reflected in the request, and will be happy to take questions, any of which they will be ready to answer, of course. And following the presentation, I encourage you to attend the breakout sessions to learn more detailed information on the budget.
Let me observe the ongoing collaborations with our colleagues in Congress, in the media, and in the community -- these collaborations are vitally important to the Foundation's interest. We value strongly the relationships we have built with those of you who are here today, those who are joining us on the webcast, and those who wish they could be joining us. We appreciate all of the support that we get.
I would like to also thank and recognize the 1,400 employees of the National Science Foundation because enabling world-class research requires a world-class workforce. And I am proud of the efforts our entire team undertakes to support the NSF mission.
For more than six decades, the Foundation has had a profound impact on the nation's innovation ecosystem. It has done this by funding transformative research that has pushed forward the frontiers of scientific knowledge. As the only federal agency dedicated to the support of basic research and education in all fields of science and engineering, NSF empowers discoveries, empowers discoveries across a broad spectrum of scientific inquiry.
Each year, NSF awards thousands of grants that engage the talents of researchers, postdoctoral fellows, trainees, teachers, and students. And collectively, NSF-funded researchers have won more than 200 Nobel Prizes for their work in the fields of chemistry, economics, physics, physiology and medicine, the science areas that the Nobel Prize recognizes.
President Obama recently observed, "Ideas are what power our economy. It's what sets us apart. It's what America has been all about. We are a nation of dreamers and risk-takers."
What the President is describing is precisely what we, at the National Science Foundation, aim to make possible. The Foundation enables our nation's best minds to realize their dreams. And because of our comprehensive commitment to empower discoveries, NSF seeks to keep the nation at the very forefront of the world's science and engineering enterprise.
Slide title: The Big Picture
NSF FY 2014 Budget
TOTAL: $7.626 billion
Increase: $593 million
8.4% over FY 2012 Enacted
Slide image: Cover of United States National Science Foundation FY 2014 BUDGET REQUEST TO CONGRESS
Credit: National Science Foundation
With reference to the big picture and the budget, despite continuing budget uncertainties, the President's budget recognizes NSF's vital importance to the nation. This request calls for $7.6 billion or an increase of $593 million over fiscal year 2012. This is an increase of 8.4 percent over the 2012 enacted level. Now, for today's presentation, all comparisons [are] between the '14 request and the 2012 enacted level, this is because the appropriations for our current year, fiscal year '13, were only enacted at the end of March, too late for us to include them as a baseline in the request.
Slide title: FY 2014 Budget Request
Slide image: Chart showing NSF Funding by Account (Dollars in Millions)
Research & Related Activities: $6,212 (FY 2014 request); $523, 9.2% (change over FY 2012 enacted)
Education & Human Resources: $880 (FY 2014 request); $51, 6.2% (change over FY 2012 enacted)
Major Research Equipment & Facilities Construction: $210 (FY 2014 request); $13, 6.6% (change over FY 2012 enacted)
Agency Operations & Award Management: $304 (FY 2014 request); $5, 1.6% (change over FY 2012 enacted)
National Science Board: $4 (FY 2014 request); less than $1, 0.7% (change over FY 2012 enacted)
Office of Inspector General: $14 (FY 2014 request); less than $1, 0.8% (change over FY 2012 enacted)
Total NSF: $7,626 (FY 2014 request); $593, 8.4% (change over FY 2012 enacted)
Totals may not add due to rounding.
Image credit: National Science Foundation
With this budget request, the Administration has conveyed its determination to build on the nation's history of success in leading-edge discovery and innovation.
NSF has identified critical funding priorities that will provide long-term benefits for the nation. We have made difficult choices -- choices to reduce or eliminate lower priority programs, and we have seized opportunities to leverage resources for maximum impact. We believe that NSF merits the $7.6 billion budget that the President has proposed, and we look forward to presenting it to you today and to the U.S. Congress.
Now, as you scan the numbers in this table, let me draw your attention to the top line -- "research and related activities." As you can see, the preponderance of our budget request, more than 81 percent, goes into this one category. This is the centerpiece for NSF's mission. This account includes funding for discipline-specific programs, as well as interdisciplinary efforts. Now, we do a number of positive things through the nation's scientific, education and engineering communities, and we will be discussing those. But the grants in this category are related to fundamental research and discovery, and they form our bottom line commitment to the nation's scientific progress. We have been known for years as the place "where discoveries begin," and we take that mission very seriously.
Sustaining momentum in NSF's fundamental research programs is essential for progress in science and engineering. The broad scope of NSF puts us in a unique position to strengthen the physical, life, social/behavioral sciences and engineering. It also allows us to bring these areas together to address complex societal challenges.
Now, the overall budget presents a well targeted portfolio of innovative investments that align closely with the Administration's priorities. This budget request provides increased support for foundational research in all of the fields of science and engineering that we support. But here are a few highlights:
- The request contributes to an innovation economy through investments in a broad portfolio of fundamental research and facilities, as well as investments in strategic areas such as cyberinfrastructure, advanced manufacturing, and sustainability.
- Another highlight: The request transforms science and engineering education by empowering NSF to catalyze partnerships for reforming undergraduate and graduate education and for leveraging federal investments.
- A third highlight, the request aims to increase agency efficiency by constraining administrative costs and making operations in Antarctica more cost-effective. Now, let me add, parenthetically, that NSF has a lean administrative overhead. Ninety-four percent of our budget is spent on supporting research, education, and facilities. That means that more than $7 billion of our budget actually goes back to the community through the grants and awards we make.
- And, finally, with reference to highlights, the budget request provides $5.5 million to strengthen the agency's capacity to evaluate the outcomes of our programs.
Now, you will hear more about Directorate-specific investments in the breakout sessions.
Slide title: NSF Science & Engineering Portfolio:Slide words:
- Empowers Discovery and Innovation
- Prepares Today's Students for Tomorrow's Challenges and Opportunities
- Improves Effectiveness and Efficiency
Let me move to the themes associated with our larger portfolio. For today's presentation, we describe our science and engineering portfolio around three themes.
- The themes -- the first -- NSF empowers discovery and innovation in all fields of science and engineering. Again, parenthetically, this theme represents the center of our mission. So you will hear more time spent on this particular theme today than on the other two. It has to do with the size of the investments or the size of the request.
- We also strive to prepare today's students for tomorrow's challenges and opportunities -- another of our key themes.
- And then, we are focused on improving our effectiveness and efficiency.
NSF Science & Engineering Portfolio:
Empowers Discovery and Innovation
Let's turn, then, to the first of these themes.
Slide title: Supports the Fundamental Research That Underpins Progress in Science, Technology and Innovation
Slide images: Still from a video showing Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) radio telescope antennas in Chile (top left); illustration of a brain inside a person's head (top center); photo of emperor penguins (top right); photo of volcanic eruption (bottom left); photo of children playing with space-filling blocks at the Geometry Playground exhibit
Image credits: ALMA/National Science Foundation (top left); Thinkstock (top center); Paul Ponganis, National Science Foundation (top right); Thinkstock (bottom left); Amy Snyder, © Exploratorium, Exploratorium.edu (bottom right)
As this audience is aware, as we work to empower discovery and innovation, our mission is broad. It's as broad as science itself. Our mandate includes -- and by this time, I think you know what our mandate includes -- biological sciences, computer and information sciences, education and human resources, engineering, geosciences, mathematical and physical sciences, social, behavioral and economic sciences -- as well as the interdisciplinary research among these fields. I'm looking at my colleagues -- I hope that I did not leave anybody out there. We recognize and nurture emerging fields, encourage the most insightful ideas, and prepare future generations of scientists and engineers.
Now, the investments in cutting-edge research planned for 2014 -- they’re too numerous for me to provide all of the details. But here are a few highlights:
Just last month, the Atacama Large Millimeter Array, or ALMA, the world's most sensitive, highest resolution, millimeter-wavelength telescope was formally inaugurated at a ceremony in Chile. ALMA's extensive array of radio-telescopes is now operational, enabling exciting new research into the physics of a cold universe, probing the first stars and galaxies, imaging the formation of planets and opening a window into the extraordinary science of how our universe works. ALMA represents NSF's largest investment in a single facility. And NSF is proud to participate in a unique international collaboration of Europe, East Asia, and North America in cooperation with the Republic of Chile.
NSF's Neuroscience and Cognitive Science research -- this portfolio is expansive. We at NSF are committing approximately $20 million annually to advance research to understand the molecular basis of the healthy brain, including the development of molecular-scaled probes that can sense and record the activity of neural networks. This is represented -- you probably have gathered by now -- by the brain. Significant advances in computation and the management of "Big Data" will be necessary to analyze and integrate the huge amounts of information that are required to increase understanding of how thoughts, emotions, actions, and memories are represented in the brain.
We have, as well, Integrated Support for Interdisciplinary Research and Education -- or INSPIRE. So, those of you who have seen the acronym INSPIRE, it is for Integrated NSF Support for Interdisciplinary Research and Education. This activity provides opportunities for innovative discovery through multi-disciplinary research. The intent is to foster a culture that encourages collaboration, innovation, intelligent risk-taking, and experimentation -- all creating strong incentives for researchers from diverse fields to work together.
Slide title: Invests in Major Research Tools
Slide images: Combination of photographs and illustrations of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) summit facility and of Calypso, the small adjacent atmospheric telescope (top left); still from a video showing the launch of the Alaska Region Research Vessel Sikuliaq (top center); photo of the Advanced Technology Solar Telescope (ATST) under construction (top right); illustration of the anticipated "reach" of the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (AdvLIGO); illustration of the Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI) global mooring array (bottom center); artist's conception of the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) (bottom right)
Image credits: LSST Corporation (top left); University of Alaska, Fairbanks/National Science Foundation (top center); Tony Gibson, National Science Foundation (top right); R. Powell, http://www.atlasoftheuniverse.com (galaxy map, bottom left); Jack Cook, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (bottom center); Nicolle Rager Fuller, National Science Foundation (bottom right)
We invest in major research tools, for the excellence of U.S. universities and colleges are primary partners in the pursuit of discoveries. The excellence of the higher education sector and the preeminence of our scientists and -- engineers -- these are driving forces of American discovery and innovation. But world-class researchers require world-class tools. The capital-intensive equipment and facilities that NSF supports are essential then to the task of discovery.
Funds are requested in the 2014 budget to begin construction of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope or LSST. This will be done in partnership with the Department of Energy. LSST will produce an unprecedented wide-field astronomical survey of our universe from the inner solar system to the large-scale structure of the universe.
We have as well the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory or AD-LIGO. This is a planned upgrade of the existing Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory and will be 10 times more sensitive, approaching the ground-based limit of gravitational wave detection.
The Advanced Technology Solar Telescope -- ATST -- will enable study of the sun's magnetic fields, something that is crucial to our understanding of the types of solar variability and activity that affect both life on Earth and the planet's climate. After years of planning, we have finally broken ground on ATST. The photo on the right was taken just last week. There were people who would love to spend some time telling you about the excitement of being at the groundbreaking ceremony.
The National Ecological Observatory Network will consist of geographically distributed field and lab infrastructure networked by advanced cybertechnology into an integrated research platform for continental-scale ecological research.
The Oceans Observatories Initiatives will enable continuous interactive access to the ocean by way of multiple types of sensors producing never-before-seen views of the ocean's depths.
And, while we are on the subject of major research tools, let me note that last October, the new Alaska region research vessel Sikuliaq was launched. We are proud of that launching. Using funds provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and administered very effectively by the National Science Foundation, of course, Sikuliaq will soon embark on its first scientific mission, exploring the Arctic to advance our understanding of climate change and the world in which we live.
Slide title: Lays the Groundwork for the Industries and Jobs of the Future
Slide images: Photo of a student learning advanced welding processes in Weld-Ed, part of the Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program (top left); photo showing people at the CAVE2™ system, a next-generation, large-scale, virtual environment in which images are seamlessly displayed so as to immerse an observer in a cyber world of 3-D data (top center); photo of Dave DeSteno (left), professor of psychology at Northeastern University, and Jin Joo Lee (right), a student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), posing with the robot Nexi, which studies and mimics human gestures as they relate to trust between people (top right); photo of the Blue Waters petascale supercomputer (bottom left); digitally-generated image showing a biometric hand scanner (bottom right)Image credits: From ATE Centers Impact 2011 (www.atecenters.org) (top left); Lance Long; courtesy Electronic Visualization Laboratory, University of Illinois at Chicago (top center); Mary Knox Merrill, Northeastern University (top right); University of Illinois Board of Trustees/NCSA (bottom left); Thinkstock (bottom right)
Our investments are intended to lay the groundwork for the industries and jobs of the future. We look for ways to link the results of fundamental research to societal needs, for this is a proven approach for fostering innovation that can lead to new industries and create new jobs. The budget effectively doubles the 2012 level of funding for a cyberinfrastructure initiative that will accelerate the pace of discovery in all research disciplines by advancing high-performance computing, something that is increasingly essential to developments in fields such as climate science and clean energy. These investments will create new research networks and data repositories and develop new systems that will help us visualize data and find solutions to vexing challenges.
For example, CAVE2 -- illustrated by the video that's now playing -- is a next-generation virtual environment that uses computers to create three-dimensional models that mirror physiologically the brains of individual patients. So what we have is -- or this was developed by a team of neurosurgeons from the University of Illinois College of Medicine. And what's taking place is that we have the possibility of the neurosurgeons stepping into the CAVE2 to solve a vexing problem within the cranial arteries of the brain. The virtual reality associated with this could help change the ways in which surgeons are trained and someday benefit hundreds of thousands of Americans who fall victim to brain aneurysms and to strokes, the third leading cause of death. CAVE2 is funded through our major research instrumentation program and the Department of Energy.
Another example: NSF's Cyberinfrastructure Framework for 21st Century Science and Engineering -- or CIF21. CIF21 provides the framework for integrating cyberinfrastructure and research at all scales and across every discipline. These are powerful tools that will increase the productivity of research and promote new venues for discovery.
Another example is Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace -- or SaTC -- this is a broad research and education program designed to protect the nation's critical information technology infrastructure, including the Internet, from a wide range of threats. As the President has pointed out, the "cyberthreat is one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face as a nation."
Those of you who were at the discussion at AAAS just a short time ago will know that this is a high priority for all parts of the government with a heavy emphasis on matters of security and intelligence, and we are contributing to the secure and trustworthy cyberspace effort. Our investments are up to meeting the challenge for, in addition to the tools that we are working to support, we are helping to educate the next generation cybersecurity workforce. This is a workforce needed to transition what has been learned in the laboratory into day-to-day practice, and vital contributions to this effort -- to the education of the workforce -- vital contributions are being made by researchers in the social, behavioral and economic sciences who, among other things, provide insights into the motivations of, and the threats posed by, potential cyberintruders.
Drawing on our decades of providing funding for leading-edge computer science, NSF is supporting a comprehensive portfolio of advanced infrastructure, programs, advance programs and other resources to facilitate research in computational and data-intensive science and engineering. In the last year, alone, we have launched three new advanced facilities. At the National Center for Atmospheric Research, Yellowstone is the computer that has been launched. That is in Wyoming. At the Texas Advanced Computing Center, Stampede. And at the University of Illinois, Blue Waters. You can see one of the pictures from Blue Waters at the bottom of the slide.
Our world today stands at the threshold of profound breakthroughs in science and engineering that offer solutions to some of humankind's oldest, most stubborn puzzles. New centers of activity will add qualitatively and quantitatively to our nation's computational and data infrastructure and then the ability to support new scientific research and research teams. Among their many other contributions to science, the computational and data infrastructure developments will advance greatly the dream of greater access to data and provide new generations of researchers with extraordinary new computational tools.
Slide title: Invests in the Long-Term Competitiveness of American Manufacturing
Slide images: Photo of an industrial laser (left); illustration showing a close-up view of molecular ink deposition in Dip Pen Nanolithography® (center); still from a video showing robots in an automobile assembly line (right)
Image credits: Thinkstock (left); NanoInk Inc., Chicago IL (center); Pond5 (right)
NSF seeks to invest, and already makes investments, in the long-term competitiveness of American manufacturing. This budget request proposes a significant increase in fundamental research on revolutionary new manufacturing technologies in partnership with other federal agencies and with the private sector. The research includes support for the President's Advanced Manufacturing Initiative and for our own involvement in the Materials Genome Initiative and the National Robotics Initiative.
These cross-agency initiatives will lead to potential breakthroughs in manufacturing and in materials technologies. NSF's Cyber-enabled Materials, Manufacturing and Smart Systems or CEMMSS -- you know that we could never stay away completely from our acronyms -- so our Cyber-enabled Materials, Manufacturing and Smart Systems, this represents a path-breaking effort to develop smart systems, systems that can sense, respond and adapt to changes in the environment. The program funds research in the areas of national importance such as cyber physical systems. Again, something mentioned at the prior discussion this afternoon. Such as cyber physical systems, advance robotics research, materials processing and manufacturing and advanced semiconductor and optical device design. All of these efforts are integral to the administration's overall emphasis on strengthening advanced manufacturing.
Slide title: Supports Integrated Approach for Sustainability
Slide images: Still from video about creating energy from waves (left); researchers, part of a team that will investigate biorefineries based on photosynthetic cyanobacteria (blue-green algae), examine a flask of cyanobacteria (center); photo of villagers and researchers in Ghana talk about the benefits of more efficient cookstoves (top right); photo of an "artificial leaf," a device that can harness sunlight to split water into hydrogen and oxygen without needing any external connections, lying on some real leaves (bottom right)
Image credits: National Science Foundation (left); Andrew Markeley, University of Wisconsin-Madison (center); National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) (top right); Dominick Reuter for MIT
We will provide support for an integrated approach to sustainability. The request supports research directly relevant to future clean energy technologies such as solar power generation, wave energy, energy efficiency, again in coordination with other federal agencies, our clean energy investments comprise a key component of an integrated approach to increasing U.S. sustainability in terms of energy independence, enhancing environmental stewardship, reducing energy and carbon intensity, and generating new streams of economic growth.
For one of our flagship activities, Science, Engineering, and Education for Sustainability -- or SEES, this portfolio of activities aims to address pressing issues of clean energy and sustainability. It addresses the need to develop a sustainable world where human needs are met equitably, without harm to the environment and without sacrificing the ability of future generations to meet their needs.
Research at the interface of Biological, Mathematical and Physical Sciences and Engineering or -- back with our acronyms, BioMaPS -- at the interface of these fields, BioMaPS is a collaboration among NSF Directorates, a collaboration that seeks to discover fundamental knowledge through the collaboration of programs, particularly from the biological sciences, mathematical and physical sciences, and engineering. The activity will produce critical knowledge that is needed to catalyze the development of new technologies essential to the nation's prosperity.
Let me point out that the photo at the bottom right shows an Artificial Leaf. This is something that was developed by researchers at the Center on Powering the Planet for Chemical Innovation. Now, just as a natural leaf converts sunlight into water, oxygen, and sugar, this stand-alone device captures solar energy and splits water into hydrogen and oxygen gas. This Artificial Leaf economically converts sunlight into chemical fuel using a silicon photovoltaic cell, a relatively inexpensive catalyst, to jumpstart chemical reactions. Through a sustainable distribution infrastructure, the Artificial Leaf could become a viable energy source for both developed and developing countries. We have mentioned this in particular because of the implications, but also we take pride in the fact that "Time" magazine cited this device as innovation of the year in 2011.
Slide title: Accelerates Innovations From the Laboratory to the Market
Slide images: NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps) logo and photo of researcher looking at seedlings (top left); photo of a water droplet on a waterproof circuit board (top right); Bluefin Labs' 3-D visualization of the TV genome with the Bluefin Labs logo (bottom left); still from video about 3-D printing (bottom right)
Image credits: Thinkstock (photo) (top left); Integrated Surface Technologies, Menlo Park, CA (top right); Philip DeCamp and Deb Roy (bottom left); NBC Learn/National Science Foundation (bottom right)
As we also look at our portfolio, we seek to accelerate innovations that could move from the laboratory or from the field to the marketplace. Now, while knowledge gained from NSF-supported fundamental research, frequently, almost always, advances what can take place in a particular field of science or engineering, some results also show immediate potential for broader applicability and impact in the business world. Our public-private partnership -- the Innovation Corps program or I-Corps -- builds a national innovation ecosystem. It improves NSF-funded researchers' access to resources that can assist in bridging the gap between discoveries and downstream technological applications. In 2014, we will continue investments in innovation teams and will expand support for I-Corps nodes and I-Corps sites.
Similarly, the Small Business Innovation Research program stimulates technological innovation. We initiated the SBIR program in 1977, but now it spans 11 federal agencies, and successful projects have produced new scientific instrumentation, advanced materials, novel antibiotics, environmental services and computer applications. NSF-funded projects include artificial intelligence controls for aircraft, grade K-6 educational software, [and] robot vision. Most recently, an SBIR project, Bluefin Labs -- this is a social analytics company that analyzes online chatter about TV shows and sells its findings. Recently, this company was sold to Twitter. It was sold for a reported $100 million. So don't tell me that we don't have some direct effects on what takes place economically. There are other projects that I won't have the time today [to discuss], but that you will hear about as you talk with the leaders of our Directorates on the kinds of activities that we undertake to accelerate that movement.
So at this point, I am going to conclude the discussion of the initiatives that center on empowering discovery and innovation and move, then, to what we undertake to prepare students for tomorrow's challenges and opportunities.
Prepares Today's Students for Tomorrow's Challenges and Opportunities
As we look at what we undertake here, the most rapid returns to investments -- we can talk about the selling of a company -- but the most rapid and sometimes the most long-lasting returns are often realized when research is integrated with the education and training of especially undergraduate and graduate students, when they are trained in STEM. The institutions of higher education are the training grounds for the next generation of science and engineering leaders. Many freshly minted graduates move into the private sector carrying with them the new skills and knowledge that could generate the next technological revolution. NSF expects to support the efforts of almost 343,000 researchers, postdoctoral fellows, trainees, teachers, and students in 2014.
Slide title: Supports STEM Workforce Development
Slide images: Photo of graduate students observing a high-temperature furnace used to produce graphene on a silicon wafer (left); still, which shows archeology, from a video about the Graduate Research Fellowship Program (center); photo of an associate professor and a Ph.D. student who found they can control the size of densely packed DNA structures by changing the salt concentration in solutions containing DNA (right)
Image credits: Gary Meek, Georgia Institute of Technology (left and right); National Science Foundation (center)
We support workforce development. The programs that I have described already -- in fact, almost everything that we undertake -- will require a world-class diverse 21st-century workforce. Efforts to maintain science and engineering preeminence in a global environment rest on our having a highly educated S&T workforce and a public that understands the role of science. This budget request will continue NSF's long history of support for the next generation of leaders in STEM education, particularly focused at the graduate and undergraduate levels.
NSF's STEM education portfolio totals nearly $1.3 billion in the 2014 request. Our investments will support an expanded National Graduate Research Fellowships program, the GRF program. We will reorganize existing undergraduate STEM education programs into a new activity across the Foundation and seek to launch a new research traineeship program. The portfolio of support also includes, supports, foundational work to build the evidence base for successful models -- not simply what we are investing in, but how do we know what works and why.
In terms of the Graduate Research Fellowships program, we will incorporate features and opportunities that allow fellows to gain specialized experience and training in key STEM areas. Through the expanded program, we expect to add approximately 700 new fellows, bringing the total estimated fellows awarded in 2014 -- of the new fellows, not those who are already in the group -- that number would be increased to 2,700.
Since 1952, the program has supported more than 45,000 of the best and brightest scientists and engineers at a formative stage of their careers. More than 40 fellows selected by NSF have become Nobel laureates, and more than 440 have become members of the National Academy of Sciences.
Our Faculty Early Career Development program helps to develop future STEM workforce by supporting faculty who are committed to integrating research with teaching and learning. In 2014, we will support approximately 500 new awards within this CAREER portfolio, including, again, projects in all fields of science and engineering and focusing on high-priority fields such as clean energy, climate change, STEM education, and cybersecurity.
The Research Traineeships program is our investment in traineeships that focus on strategically identified research areas. We will build in 2014 on what has been a long-standing investment. That is the Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship or IGERT. That program encourages effective integration that we are looking for, enlarging what we will undertake with reference to the matter of traineeships.
Slide title: Enhances STEM Education for Undergraduate Students
Slide images: Photo of a student in the Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Program at Prairie View Solar Observatory operating the main telescope (left); photo of students performing a lab experiment with the teacher watching (center); South Carolina Advanced Technological Education students observe an aircraft engine 3-D projection (right)
Image credits: Prairie View Solar Observatory (left); Thinkstock (center); from ATE Centers Impact 2011 (www.atecenters.org) (right)
At the undergraduate level, we are working to catalyze advances in undergraduate STEM education. We have used the word -- or acronym -- CAUSE for Catalyzing Advances in Undergraduate STEM Education. This is a comprehensive, agency-wide initiative that will maximize the impact of our considerable ongoing investments, maximize these investments, bringing them together to enhance undergraduate education.
We also are investing funding for research experiences for undergraduates. This is not new for us. This is an increase in the REU [Research Experiences for Undergraduates] program. This will provide support for research experiences for students in the first two years of college. This incidentally is in response to a recommendation from the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology in their report, "Engage to Excel: Producing One Million Additional College Graduates with Degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics." We are responding by looking at ways we can make this change.
Then, we also, as I stated earlier, seek to increase the efficiency, the effectiveness, of our own operations. All federal agencies have a responsibility to try to see that we carry out or meet that kind of responsibility. And so our request addresses issues and challenges raised in a lot of venues, expressing concerns about the kinds of allocations sometimes made.
Slide title: Strengthens Transparency, Performance and Evaluation
Slide images: February 22, 2013 memorandum for the heads of Federal U.S. Government executive departments and agencies from John Holdren, Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, about increasing access to the results of federally funded scientific research (left); photo of a spreadsheet with columns of numbers and the iTRAK logo at the bottom (center); photo illustrating an office of the future -- a virtual handshake using sophisticated computer graphics (right)
Image credits: Office of Science and Technology Policy (left); Thinkstock (center); Department of Computer Science, The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (right)
The budget includes measures to improve the efficiency of operations through an array of administrative initiatives such as strategic sourcing of administrative support contracts and lowered printing costs. We will leverage improved information technology systems to monitor processes and develop strategies for providing more transparency in our operations.
For 2014, we have set a number of performance goals so that we can actually track and oversee what progress we are making on our priority investments, on our research infrastructure investments, and on our management initiatives. I said that we have these performance goals. Among the goals, some examples:
one goal: ensuring public access to NSF research. This is an effort to make the government more open and accessible. You will hear more about this activity of ensuring public access in the months to come.
We are working to establish an evaluation or strengthen our evaluation capacity to improve the ability of NSF to inform policy decisions and improve the impact of research grant investments.
We are working continually to improve the merit review process. This is essential, given the extraordinary pressures the Foundation now faces due to a growing number of proposals and the intense competition for NSF funding. How do we seek to address this? Well, we want to use much more effective, innovative virtual meeting technologies. We want to use technological support for the management of reviewers and reviews. We intend to use increased automation for the preliminary processing of proposals.
Then, within the category of strengthening performance and our transparency, we are working to modernize our financial system through the use of a new financial system -- iTRAK -- designed to move NSF more fully to an integrated financial management solution, all designed to ensure greater transparency, continuous improvement, and high levels of customer satisfaction.
Slide title: Implements Recommendations of Blue Ribbon Panel
Slide images: Photo at the South Pole of the Yeti robot designed to make over-ice travel safer by using radar to search for crevasses (left); cover of the NSF response to the U.S. Antarctic Program Blue Ribbon Panel report, More and Better Science in Antarctica through Increased Logistical Effectiveness (center); photo of three wind turbines in Antarctica (right)
Image credits: James Lever, U.S. Army's Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (left); cover art by Zina Deretsky, National Science Foundation (center); Mike Casey, National Science Foundation (right)
With reference to improving our whole matter of efficiency and effectiveness, we intend to implement recommendations that have come from the Blue Ribbon Panel, a panel that had been established by the Foundation and the Office of Science and Technology Policy with this as the intent: to conduct an independent review of the current U.S. Antarctic program, to ensure the nation is pursuing the best options for supporting and implementing the required national endeavors needed to make the Antarctic activities most productive and affordable over the long run.
The panel released its report -- and you can see the picture of the cover -- last July, in which it recommended a range of actions, many of them having to do with safety and health improvements, with improving the facilities, renewing the facilities at the McMurdo and Palmer stations, streamlining logistical capabilities to enable more efficient, world-class Antarctic science in the coming decades.
The budget request continues our efforts to respond to 10 overarching recommendations in this report. We intend to usher in a new age of Antarctic science focused on the most cost-effective and efficient ways to increase flexibility as research frontiers evolve.
Slide title: NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION FISCAL YEAR 2014 BUDGET REQUEST
Slide image: Photo showing high quality bi-layer graphene on a copper substrate
Image credit: Peter Allen, University of California, Santa Barbara
Now, with reference to where we are. I know -- you are wondering, is it ever going to end? No, it never ends for the National Science Foundation. We will always be at the forefront. But let me close with the words of J. Robert Oppenheimer, who observed, "The deep things in science are not found because they are useful, they are found because it was possible to find them."
That is what we seek to do -- to enable the possibilities of discovery. We all take for granted -- that is, many people in the nation take for granted -- such technological marvels as lasers, computers, the Internet, wireless communications, weather observing satellites. And yet, those technologies would not exist without the scientific discoveries that made them possible. Those discoveries, in turn, have fostered long-term economic growth. We have seen their contributions to the education of the next generation of scientists and engineers. We see the discoveries as addressing critical national needs.
So, NSF-empowered discoveries have returned unimagined dividends to the American people. But to keep those benefits flowing, we need constantly to replenish the wellspring of new ideas, to train the new talent, while this organization will never depart from its commitment to be good stewards of the public trust. This is the fundamental and continuing mission of the National Science Foundation.
So, let me thank you for your attention now. Thank you for the commitment you have shown in the past, the commitment we know will be there, all in the cause of what it will require to keep us in the forefront and keep us on the path of the kinds of activities essential especially for the well-being of the nation. Thank you for your time and attention.
I believe Judy (Gan) had said that I would take questions. I think that's what she told me that I had to do. Let me see if there are any questions. If not, that is perfectly okay, too, because I will assume you are saving up your questions for the sessions you will be moving to now as you can delve into far greater depth on the kinds of things that my wonderful colleagues will be ready to describe as we are trying to undertake in 2014 and beyond. Again, thank you for your time and attention.