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NSB Chair Duderstadt NSF Acting Director Bernthal NSF Director Massey
The National Science Board - A History in Highlights, 1950-2000
Table of Contents | Preface | Acknowledgements | Former Members | Exec Secretaries/Officers | Timeline

THE 1990'S


Comparison of a foundation pen for writing and a computer chip. Photo NSF Collection. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States suddenly found itself the world's sole superpower. Yet the Nation's economy remained riddled with problems, including a huge federal deficit, an underskilled workforce, and poor K-12 education. William J. Clinton won election as President in 1992 in part because he called for government to address these issues more actively. Support for research at U.S. universities grew with the decade. Americans saw a dramatic payoff from university research after NSF opened the Internet to public and commercial use in 1991. More than in the 1980s, states helped their local institutions to compete for NSF awards. By FY2000 the Foundation's budget had topped $4 billion.

The Board offered advice within a context that was increasingly global in scope. Issues such as species loss, global climate change, and the Internet's power to distribute information highlighted the international nature of science. The Board tackled national policy issues, such as research priority-setting, now that decisions were no longer to be made under the exigencies of the Cold War. With a report that made the case for environmental research and education as a national and NSF priority, and in other statements on national policy, the Board began finally to fulfill the vision that Vannevar Bush had originally spelled out in Science-The Endless Frontier.

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