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NSF Press Release


This document has been archived.

NSF PR 00-05 - February 7, 2000

Media contact:

 Bill Noxon

 (703) 292-8070

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 Joe Kull

 (703) 292-8200

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

President Seeks More Than $4.5 Billion for NSF in 2001
A 21st century budget for 21st century science and engineering, says NSF director

The National Science Foundation (NSF) announced today the largest budget request in foundation history -- a record $4.57 billion for fiscal 2001. The total 2001 request is 17.3 percent higher than the current year's budget, and the planned $675-million increase for 2001 is double the largest increase proposed in NSF history. The increase represents a broad-based effort to strengthen NSF's core research and education programs and give impetus to major new and ongoing initiatives.

"President Clinton's request meets the challenge to invest in the innovative ideas, outstanding people and the cutting-edge tools that will extend the frontiers of science, technology and learning in many directions," Rita Colwell, NSF director, said. "Industry CEOs, economists, academic and scientific leaders, the Council on Competitiveness, and many others are in agreement on the importance of federally supported fundamental research to the growth and strength of the American economy."

Nearly half of the increase -- about $320 million -- will go toward "core" research and education activities:

  • to sustain the flow of new discoveries and fuel development of new technologies; and
  • to fund emphasis areas such as fundamental mathematics, functional genomics, physical, chemical and geologic cycles as well as psychological, cognitive and linguistic sciences.

"These core activities aren't tied to focused initiatives, so it gives us some of the flexibility we've been seeking for years," Colwell noted.

In addition to core activities, the $675 million increase will go toward funding four focused areas, all building on existing NSF activities. Two are part of a broader federal effort. They are:

  • Information Technology Research (ITR) - NSF will lead a multi-agency effort in ITR, investing $327 million in broad areas of research and education, focused on computer system architecture, information storage and retrieval, scalable networks, and connectivity, as well as studies of the impact of information technology on society. The ITR initiative planned for 2001 builds on current NSF investments and increases NSF's total ITR commitment by 160 percent above year 2000.
  • Biocomplexity in the Environment (BE) - Totaling $136 million, investment for BE in 2001 is more than two-and-a-half times the commitment in year 2000. The enhanced BE initiative will bring together interdisciplinary teams of scientists in an intensified effort to understand dynamic interactions within biological systems and the physical environment. About $12 million will be used to support initial construction of a National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON). This facility will explore the biology of the planet (pole-to-pole) with state-of-the-art research tools and infrastructure.
  • 21st Century Workforce - The almost $157 million NSF plans in 2001 is more than double its year 2000 investment. Programs such as Centers for Learning and Teaching will address the needs of the American workforce and its transition into a more technology-based, information and knowledge-based workplace. Increased emphasis on Graduate Teaching Fellowships will place many more graduate and undergraduate students into K-12 classrooms as teaching resources. A $10-million initiative for tribal colleges will encourage Native Americans to pursue fields of study in information technology and other scientific areas. It will also allow tribal colleges to offer relevant courses and to enhance K-12 education in feeder school systems.
  • Nanoscale science and engineering - NSF will invest more than $216 million in the multi-agency National Nanotechnology Initiative as the lead agency. NSF's research will include work in nanoscale biosystems, structures and quantum control, device and system architecture, processes in the environment and simulations. Interdisciplinary research and education teams will also initiate long-term work in nanostructured materials, manufacturing, electronics, magnetics and health care. The money will support new centers and networks of excellence, research instrumentation and facilities and student felllowships, traineeships and curriculum development.

Overall, NSF is seeking a nearly 20-percent increase in funding for research and related activities. Earthscope: U.S. Array and San Andreas Fault Observatory at Depth (SAFOD), an array of instruments that will allow high-resolution observations of earthquake and other earth processes, highlights (along with NEON) a jump of 48.2 percent in major research equipment. Another $45 million will be invested in terascale computing systems.

Colwell emphasized that the new budget also allows for larger and longer duration of grants, and -- just as important -- allows funding of more first-time, young investigators, which will help to maintain and invigorate the research base.


See also:

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