GPRA Plan    
NSF GPRA Strategic Plan
FY 2001 - 2006



About the NSF

NSF Role

I.  Introduction

II.  Vision and Mission

III.  Outcome Goals

IV.  Strategy


Appendix 1: Critical Factors for Success

Appendix 2: External Factors Affecting Success

Appendix 3: Assessing NSF’s Performance

Appendix 4: Integration of NSF Plans with those of Other Agencies

Appendix 5: Resource Utilization

Appendix 6: Linking the Strategic Plan to the Performance Plan

Appendix 7: Crosswalk of NSF Goals and Programs

How We Operate

Our Attributes

National Science Board

Director's Policy Group


The work of research and education that results in the achievement of NSF's outcome goals is performed largely outside the agency; thus, external factors have a significant impact on NSF's performance. In particular, the circumstances of our institutional partners in academe, the private sector, and the government affect how individuals and groups are able to respond in both proposing and conducting research and education activities.

For example, NSF relies on the academic research facilities and platforms available at colleges and universities across the country to provide a base upon which grantees can build their research programs. Although NSF support enhances this infrastructure, we do not control its current condition and quality. Failing to maintain a state-of-the-art research infrastructure will slow the pace of discovery and limit the research options available to researchers.

With regard to the "people" goal, characteristics of the workforce of scientists and engineers are highly dependent on the systems through which they are educated and trained. NSF programs influence educational systems and the public that supports them, but are only one influence among many.

Other factors that exist beyond NSF's control include: (1) appropriations; (2) indirect cost rates; (3) government-wide policies; (4) inflation; (5) budgets and plans of other R&D agencies; (6) uncertainty and risk inherent in research; (7) availability and pace of technology; and (8) private sector capacity to use new knowledge.

However, NSF’s influence and leadership extend well beyond our budget, and we can do much to minimize the negative impacts of factors beyond the agency's control. Given our unique role, NSF brings together diverse elements of the larger science and engineering community to achieve our mission. This positions the agency to: (1) establish partnerships that leverage funds beyond our budget and (2) provide leadership that catalyzes new directions for research and education