Two students work on a research project as part of Rutgers' I3 effort. Rutgers' goal is to develop a model that will recruit, retain, mentor and educate graduate students to become leading scientists in the nation.
William Bell, Fort Belknap College instructor, with students doing research on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation about transmission of the West Nile virus.
NSF AT A GLANCE
WHO WE ARE
NSF leadership has two major components: a director who oversees NSF staff and management responsible for program creation and administration, merit review, planning, budget and day-to-day operations; and a 24-member National Science Board (NSB) of eminent individuals that meets six times a year to establish the overall policies of the foundation.
NSF is divided into the following seven directorates that support science and engineering research and education: Biological Sciences, Computer and Information Science and Engineering, Engineering, Geosciences, Mathematics and Physical Sciences, Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences, and Education and Human Resources.
Each is headed by an assistant director and each is further subdivided into divisions like materials research, ocean sciences and behavioral and cognitive sciences. Some of the divisions within NSF's Office of the Director also support research and researchers. These include the Office of Polar Programs, the Office of Integrative Activities (covering activities that span many areas), the Office of International Science and Engineering and the Office of Cyberinfrastructure. Other sections of NSF are devoted to financial management, award processing and monitoring, legal affairs, outreach and other functions. The Office of the Inspector General examines the foundation's work and reports to the NSB and Congress.
WHAT WE DO
As described in our strategic plan, NSF is the only federal agency whose mission includes support for all fields of fundamental science and engineering, except for medical sciences. NSF is tasked with keeping the United States at the leading edge of discovery in a wide range of scientific areas, from astronomy to geology to zoology. So, in addition to funding research in the traditional academic areas, the agency also supports "high risk, high pay off" ideas, novel collaborations and numerous projects that may seem like science fiction today, but which the public will take for granted tomorrow. And in every case, we ensure that research is fully integrated with education so that today's revolutionary work will also be training tomorrow's top scientists and engineers.
We fulfill our mission chiefly by issuing limited-term grants -- currently about 10,000 new awards per year, with an average duration of three years -- to fund specific research proposals that have been judged the most promising by a rigorous and objective merit-review system. Most of these awards go to individuals or small groups of investigators. Others provide funding for research centers, instruments and facilities that allow scientists, engineers and students to work at the outermost frontiers of knowledge.
NSF's goals--discovery, learning, research infrastructure and stewardship--provide an integrated strategy to advance the frontiers of knowledge, cultivate a world-class, broadly inclusive science and engineering workforce and expand the scientific literacy of all citizens, build the nation's research capability through investments in advanced instrumentation and facilities, and support excellence in science and engineering research and education through a capable and responsive organization. We like to say that NSF is "where discoveries begin."
An essential element in NSF's mission is support for science and engineering education, from pre-K through graduate school and beyond. The research we fund is thoroughly integrated with education to help ensure that there will always be plenty of skilled people available to work in new and emerging scientific, engineering and technological fields, and plenty of capable teachers to educate the next generation.
No single factor is more important to the intellectual and economic progress of society, and to the enhanced well-being of its citizens, than the continuous acquisition of new knowledge. NSF is proud to be a major part of that process.
Specifically, the Foundation's organic legislation authorizes us to engage in the following activities:
A. Initiate and support, through grants and contracts, scientific and engineering research and programs to strengthen scientific and engineering research potential, and education programs at all levels, and appraise the impact of research upon industrial development and the general welfare.
B. Award graduate fellowships in the sciences and in engineering.
C. Foster the interchange of scientific information among scientists and engineers in the United States and foreign countries.
D. Foster and support the development and use of computers and other scientific methods and technologies, primarily for research and education in the sciences.
E. Evaluate the status and needs of the various sciences and engineering and take into consideration the results of this evaluation in correlating our research and educational programs with other federal and non-federal programs.
F. Provide a central clearinghouse for the collection, interpretation and analysis of data on scientific and technical resources in the United States, and provide a source of information for policy formulation by other federal agencies.
G. Determine the total amount of federal money received by universities and appropriate organizations for the conduct of scientific and engineering research, including both basic and applied, and construction of facilities where such research is conducted, but excluding development, and report annually thereon to the President and the Congress.
H. Initiate and support specific scientific and engineering activities in connection with matters relating to international cooperation, national security and the effects of scientific and technological applications upon society.
I. Initiate and support scientific and engineering research, including applied research, at academic and other nonprofit institutions and, at the direction of the President, support applied research at other organizations.
J. Recommend and encourage the pursuit of national policies for the promotion of basic research and education in the sciences and engineering. Strengthen research and education innovation in the sciences and engineering, including independent research by individuals, throughout the United States.
K. Support activities designed to increase the participation of women and minorities and others underrepresented in science and technology.
NSF Strategic Framework
NSF uses a multi-layer performance assessment approach, integrating qualitative and quantitative goals. Central to assessment of agency-wide strategic goals is the Advisory Committee for GPRA Performance Assessment, which annually reviews outcomes of NSF’s investments in research and education. NSF’s Directorates and Offices also have advisory committees, which usually meet semi-annually to review program directions and outcomes. Committees of Visitors for each NSF Division or crosscutting program also provide external, independent advice on program management and conduct a review of program outcomes.
Directorates and Organizations
Biological Sciences (BIO)
Computer and Info Science and Eng (CISE)
Education and Human Resources (EHR)
Math and Physical Sciences (MPS)
Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE)
Office of International Science and Engineering (ISE)
About Biological Sciences (BIO)
The mission of the Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO) is to enable discoveries for understanding life. BIO-supported research advances the frontiers of biological knowledge, increases our understanding of complex systems, and provides a theoretical basis for original research in many other scientific disciplines.
Areas of Support
The Directorate for Biological Sciences provides support for research to advance understanding of the underlying principles and mechanisms governing life. Research studies range across progressively more complex systems and scales encompassing the structure and dynamics of biological molecules, cells, tissues, organs, organisms, populations, communities, and ecosystems up to and including the global biosphere. Comprehensive concepts that span and unify the diverse areas of biology include complexity, robustness, communication, resilience, adaptability and cooperation. Achieving a coherent understanding of the complex biological web of interactions that is life is a major challenge of the future. This challenge will require that knowledge about individual biological units, networks, sub-systems and systems be compiled and connected from the molecular to the global level and across scales of time and space. Integral to all activities across the directorate is a commitment to integrate research and education, to broaden participation, and to promote international partnerships.
NSF/BIO plays a major role in support of research resources for the biological sciences including living stock centers, systematics collections, biological field stations, computerized databases including sequence databases for plants and microorganisms. NSF/BIO is also the nation's principal supporter of fundamental academic research on plant biology, environmental biology and biodiversity.
Biological Infrastructure (DBI)
Human Resources Cluster
Research Resources Cluster
Plant Genome Research Program
Integrative Organismal Systems (IOS)
Physiological and Structural Systems
Environmental Biology (DEB)
Population and Evolutionary Processes
Systematic Biology and Biodiversity Inventories
Molecular and Cellular Biosciences (MCB)
Biomolecular Systems Cluster
Cellular Systems Cluster
Genes and Genome Systems Cluster
Emerging Frontiers (EF)
(Cross-disciplinary solicited programs; e.g., Human and Social Dynamics, Biology and Society, Assembling the Tree of Life, Environmental Genomics, etc.)
CISE - AboutComputer and Info Science and Eng
The Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering has three goals:
To enable the U.S. to uphold a position of world leadership in computing, communications, and information science and engineering
To promote understanding of the principles and uses of advanced computing, communications and information systems in service to society
To contribute to universal, transparent and affordable participation in an information-based society.
To achieve these, CISE supports investigator initiated research in all areas of computer and information science and engineering, helps develop and maintain cutting-edge national computing and information infrastructure for research and education generally, and contributes to the education and training of the next generation of computer scientists and engineers.
CISE is organized in three divisions: the Division of Computing & Communication Foundations (CCF); the Division of Computer and Network Systems (CNS); and the Division of Information and Intelligent Systems (IIS). Each division is organized into a small number of programs that are responsible for managing a portfoflio of grants and proposal competitions within a broad area of research and education. While individual program directors may be designated as the point of contact for specific sub-disciplines, collaboration takes place within each program, across each division, and between divisions and directorates
Foundations of Computing Processes and Artifacts Cluster
Emerging Models and Technologies for Computation Cluster
Computer and Network Systems (CNS)
Computer Systems Cluster
Computing Research Infrastructure Cluster
Network Systems Cluster
Education and Workforce Cluster
Information and Intelligent Systems (IIS)
Human-Center Computing Cluster
Information Integration and Informatics Cluster
Robust Intelligence Cluster
General Information About ENG
About Engineering (ENG)
The National Science Foundation promotes the progress of engineering in the United States in order to enable the Nation's capacity to perform. Its investments in engineering research and education aim to build and strengthen a national capacity for innovation that can lead over time to the creation of new shared wealth and a better quality of life. Most NSF programs in engineering are funded through the Directorate for Engineering, which also sponsors the NSF's Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program.
Making Imagination Real
Engineers excel at Making Imagination Real, bridging the gap between what the mind can imagine and what the laws of nature allow. While scientists seek to discover what is not yet known, engineers apply fundamental science to design and develop new devices and engineered systems to solve societal problems. Learn more and view the special presentation.
Nanotechnology Engineering and Science. Part of the National Technology Initiative (NNI).
Cyberinfrastructure. Investments that support engineering and research.
Human and Social Dynamics (HDS). Fosters knowledge in human interaction and development.
Network for Earthquake Simulation.(NEES). Model based earthquake simulation.
Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental and Transport Systems (CBET)
Biomedical Engineering and Engineering Healthcare
Research to Aid Persons with Disabilities
Chemical, Biochemical, and Biotechnology Systems
Chemical and Biological Separations
Catalysis and Biocatalysis
Process and Reaction Engineering
Environmental Engineering and Sustainability
Energy for Sustainability
Transport and Thermal Fluids Phenomena
Interfacial Processes and Thermodynamics
Thermal Transport Processes
Combustion, Fire and Plasma Systems
Particulate and Multiphase Processes
Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation (CMMI)
Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation Research
Information Technology and Infrastucture Systems
Infrastructure Management and Hazard Response
Manufacturing Machines and Equipment
Structural Systems and Hazards Mitigation of Structures
Innovation Sciences and Decision Engineering
Control Systems Program
Manufacturing Enterprise Systems
Sensor Innovation and Systems
Service Enterprise Engineering
Material Transformation and Mechanics
GeoMechanics and GeoTechnical Systems
Infrastructure Materials Applications and Structural Mechanics
Material Design and Surface Engineering
Materials Processing and Manufacturing
Mechanics and Structures of Materials
Nano and Bio Mechanics
Electrical, Communications and CyberSystems (ECCS)
Electronics, Photonics & Device Technologies
Integrative, Hybrid & Complex Systems
Power, Controls and Adaptive Networks
Engineering Education and Centers (EEC)
Centers Programs Cluster (Engineering Research Centers)
Engineering Education Programs Cluster
Engineering Education programs
Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation (EFRI)
Industrial Innovation and Partnerships (IIP)
Centers for Research Excellence in Science and Technology (CREST)
Grant Opportunities for Academic Liaison with Industry (GOALI)
Industry/University Cooperative Research Centers Program (IUCRC)
Partnerships for Innovation (PFI)
About Education and Human Resources (EHR)
The mission of EHR is to achieve excellence in U.S. science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education at all levels and in all settings (both formal and informal) in order to support the development of a diverse and well-prepared workforce of scientists, technicians, engineers, mathematicians and educators and a well-informed citizenry that have access to the ideas and tools of science and engineering. The purpose of these activities is to enhance the quality of life of all citizens and the health, prosperity, welfare and security of the nation.
Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE)
Advanced Technological Education
Cooperative Activity with Department of Energy Program for Education and Human Resource Development
Course, Curriculum and Laboratory Improvement
Federal Cyber Service: Scholarship for Service
Interdisciplinary Training for Undergraduates in Biological and Mathematical Sciences
Math and Science Partnership
Nanotechnology Undergraduate Education in Engineering
Antarctic Infrastructure and Logistics Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE)
Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences (BCS)
Archaeology and Archaeometry
Developmental and Learning Sciences
Geography and Regional Science
Perception, Action & Cognition
Documenting Endangered Languages
SBE Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grants
Mathematical Social and Behavioral Sciences
High-risk Research in Anthropology
Social and Economic Sciences (SES)
Decision, Risk and Management Sciences
Innovation and Organizational Change
Law and Social Sciences
Methodology, Measurement and Statistics
Science and Society
Ethics Education in Science and Engineering
Mathematical Social and Behavioral Sciences (MSBS)
Science Resources Statistics (SRS)
(Provides data and analyses about the nation’s science and engineering resources – does not fund research.)
Office of International Science and Engineering (ISE)
International science and engineering research and education activities are funded by all NSF directorates and offices.
Investigators seeking funding for international collaborative research may include an international component in newproposals submitted to their relevant NSF research program, or request supplemental funding to add international collaboration to projects supported by current NSF grants.
Also oversee various programs, e.g.,
Developing Global Scientists and Engineers
East Asia and Pacific Summer Institutes for U.S. Graduate Students
International Research and Education: Planning Visits and Workshops