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Toward a Globally Engaged Workforce

A Vision for the International Science and Engineering section:

NSF’s current strategic plan describes its vision as “advancing discovery, innovation and education beyond the frontiers of current knowledge, and empowering future generations in science and engineering.” Because science and engineering are increasingly global, NSF’s International Science and Engineering section (OD/IIA/ISE) seeks to ensure that U.S. institutions and researchers are globally engaged, are able to advance their research through international collaboration, and will maintain U.S. leadership within the global scientific community.

ISE focuses on two parts of the NSF vision: discovery and learning. To pursue its goals in these areas, ISE develops international programs that are innovative, catalytic, and responsive to the broad range of NSF interests. Consequently, ISE’s portfolio of activities employs three approaches:

  1. supporting planning visits and workshops that are expected to lead to international collaborative projects (Catalyzing New International Collaborations);
  2. providing international research opportunities for U.S. students and early-career scientists and engineers (International Research Experiences for Students, East Asia Pacific Summer Institutes for US Graduate Students), and postdoctoral fellowship support for international research and education activities in partnership with NSF's directorate postdoctoral fellowship programs; and
  3. funding international partnerships with larger, longer-term awards in which research and educational activities build on institutional strengths. These partnerships expand global networks to create lasting international linkages with foreign institutions, leverage international investments and provide collaborative experiences involving U.S. researchers at all career levels (Partnerships for International Research and Education).

These three approaches are designed to capitalize on unique opportunities afforded by international collaboration and to enhance broad-based NSF support for international collaborative research throughout NSF. Mutually beneficial and sustainable collaborations yield high benefits because of the vital and integral nature of the foreign collaboration and investment. ISE also seeks to increase NSF support for collaborative research with developing countries, and to broaden the participation of the U.S. science, mathematics, and engineering communities in international collaborative research by partnering with other agencies and NGOs.

To encourage increased international investments by NSF research directorates, ISE co-funds international collaborative activities with NSF’s disciplinary programs. Cyberinfrastructure and cyber-enabled discovery and innovation are a special priority for ISE co-funding because they provide essential framework to facilitate greater international collaborations.

ISE supports its goal of providing international research experiences for U.S. students by actively co-funding international Research Experiences for Undergraduates sites (including a Research Experience for Teachers component). ISE supplements add an international dimension to domestic research projects and usually require international research experiences for students to develop the global scientists and engineers of the future.

ISE is an interface for NSF’s directorates, offices, divisions, and programs with multi-national organizations, international science organizations, and national funding agencies and ministries in other countries. The three overseas offices in Paris, Tokyo, and Beijing foster closer linkages with national agencies in the Europe, Eurasia and the East Asia-Pacific regions. In addition, they assist senior government officials by informing NSF about the S&T policies, funding priorities, and investments in these regions.

Return to ISE Home page.

General questions about ISE may be directed to oiia-ise-webmaster@nsf.gov.


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