NSF's Guiding Principles
The National Science Foundation is in many ways a unique Federal agency. Its relationships with the academic research community and with the science and engineering education
community must be both a working, trusting partnership and an arm's length, impartial interaction. In managing the Federal research investment, NSF must simultaneously be part of the research and education community and independent of it. The
following set of guiding principles allows the Foundation to maintain this delicate balance.
StewardshipAs responsible trustees of public funds, NSF will provide the American people with the best possible management of its
investment in research and education in science and engineering:
- We work with many others who share our values and goals: colleges, universities, private industry, other governmental agencies, and scientists and engineers in other
- We are committed to putting research and education in science and engineering to work for the American people, and to helping the public understand the importance of research and education for their lives.
- We rely on our proven
of merit review, which weighs each proposal's technical merit, creativity, educational impact, and its potential benefits to society.
- We promote professional integrity in our own work and in the research and education we support.
- We strive to
bring research and education closer together at every level, from hands-on inquiry-based teaching in grade school to dissertation research in graduate school, and beyond.
LeadershipThe researchers and educators supported
by NSF are eager to pursue new opportunities for knowledge and educational reform wherever they occur. As the leading Federal supporter of fundamental research and education in science and engineering, it is essential to identify areas of national
as well as areas of intellectual opportunity:
- We accept the challenge of leadership and the responsibilities that go with it.
- We identify and promote research with the greatest potential, whether or not it fits traditional views.
promote education in all segments of society, whether or not they have been part of the scientific and engineering traditions.
ImpactNSF and the community it serves are convinced that science and engineering can improve
our world, our society, and ourselves:
- We have seen that research and education in science and engineering can address fundamental needs around the world.
- We see the extraordinary benefits that scientific and technologicalbreakthroughs have
bestowed on our society.
- We are renewed by the never-ending challenges of research and discovery.
- We strive to affect the structure of institutions in positive ways.
ExcellenceNSF and the community it serves are
committed to excellence, as a personal and an organizational standard:
- We strive to develop the potential for excellence in ourselves and others.
- We find excellence and the potential for excellence in all parts of our population, and we
hard to identify and nurture excellence wherever it may occur.
- We believe that excellence is contagious: creating pockets of excellence will lead to widespread impact.
- We place a high value on creativity; it is the fuel that drives
OpennessNSF and the community it serves are committed to the sharing of information and a free marketplace of ideas:
- We conduct our business in an open manner, inviting advice from and evaluation by our
- We disseminate information on our programs in every way possible, to promote fair and equal access to funding opportunities.
- We are vigorous supporters of computer networks that accelerate and widen the flow of information and
- We assure the open dissemination of the results of NSF-supported research; we do not support classified research.
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