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NSF PR 00-4


NSF Press Release


NSF PR 00-4 - February 4, 2000

Media contacts:

 Bill Noxon

 (703) 292-8070


 Peter West

 (703) 292-8070

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 Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

National Science Board Recommends $1 Billion Increase in Environmental Research Spending

The National Science Board (NSB) has adopted a report recommending that the National Science Foundation (NSF) spend an additional $1 billion over the next five years to increase its support for environmental research and education.

Meeting in Irvine Calif., the Board unanimously approved the report of its Task Force on the Environment, which contains a series of recommendations for bolstering what the board describes as NSF's strong existing portfolio of environmental research and education programs.

Noting that NSF "is one of the largest supporters of environmental research in the federal government and the major supporter of environmental research conducted by the academic community," the report calls for more than doubling NSF's current funding level of roughly $600 million annually on environmental research to $1.6 billion.

"This report reflects the NSB's strong support of the role NSF is already playing in environmental research -- but also a desire to see that role grow," said NSB chair Eamon Kelly. "There is no more important national issue than this. We are on the verge of profound discoveries, and NSF leadership is needed to direct these discoveries for the good of the nation."

NSF Director Rita Colwell emphasized that an investment in environmental research "is necessary to gain a better understanding of the complexities of the world we live in, and the intricate workings of nature, in order to make wise use of our resources."

The report notes that NSF's activities should neither duplicate or replace, but rather complement and enhance, the existing portfolio of federal environmental research programs.

The report recommendations address research, environmental education, scientific assessment, and infrastructure. For example, the Board also recommends that NSF:

  • significantly increase its investments in long-term research programs and establish new support mechanisms for additional long term research;

  • encourage proposals that capitalize on student interest in environmental areas while supporting significantly more environmental education efforts through informal vehicles;

  • significantly increase its research on the methods and models used in scientific assessment;

  • give high priority to enhancing infrastructure for environmental observations and collections as well as new information networking capacity; and

  • "vigorously" support research on environmental technologies, including those that can help both the public and private sectors wisely utilize natural resources;


For a copy of the report, Environmental Science and Engineering for the 21st Century, see:



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