Seal of the National Science Foundation
Flag of the National Science Foundation
|Formed||May 10, 1950|
|Headquarters||Alexandria, Virginia, U.S.|
|Motto||Where Discoveries Begin|
|Annual budget||$8.28 billion for 2020|
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent agency of the United States government, that supports fundamental research and education in all the non-medical fields of science and engineering. Its medical counterpart is the National Institutes of Health. With an annual budget of about US$8.3 billion (fiscal year 2020), the NSF funds approximately 25%, of all federally supported basic research conducted by the United States' colleges and universities.In some fields, such as mathematics, computer science, economics, and the social sciences, the NSF is the major source of federal backing.
The NSF's director and deputy director, are appointed by the President of the United States, and confirmed by the United States Senate, whereas the 24 presidentially appointed members of the National Science Board (NSB)do not require Senate confirmation. The director and deputy director are responsible for administration, planning, budgeting and day-to-day operations of the foundation, while the NSB meets six times a year to establish its overall policies. The current NSF director is Sethuraman Panchanathan.
The NSF was established by the National Science Foundation Act of 1950.Its stated mission is "To promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; and to secure the national defense." The NSF's scope has expanded over the years to include many areas that were not in its initial portfolio, including the social and behavioral sciences, engineering, and science and mathematics education. The NSF is the only U.S. federal agency with a mandate to support all non-medical fields of research.
After the technology boom of the 1980s, both sides of the aisle have generally embraced the notion that government-funded basic research is essential for the nation's economic health and global competitiveness, and for national defense.[ citation needed ] That support has manifested itself in an expanding budget—from $1 billion in 1983 to $8.28 billion for FY 2020. NSF has published annual reports since 1950, which since the new millennium have been two reports, variously called Performance Report and Accountability Report or Performance Highlights and Financial Highlights; the latest available FY 2013 Agency Financial Report was posted December 16, 2013, and the 6 page FY 2013 Performance and Financial Highlights was posted March 25, 2013. Recently, the organization has been focusing on obtaining high return on investment from their spending on scientific research.
Various bills have been introduced to direct funds within the NSF. In 1981, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) introduced a proposal to reduce the NSF social sciences directorate's budget by 75%.Economist Robert A. Moffit suggests a connection between this proposal and Democratic Senator William Proxmire's Golden Fleece Award series criticizing "frivolous" government spending—Proxmire's first Golden Fleece had been awarded to the NSF in 1975, for granting $84,000 to a social science project investigating why people fall in love. Ultimately, the OMB's 75% reduction proposal failed, but the NSF Economics Program budget did fall 40%. In 2012, political science research was barred from NSF funding following the passage of the Flake Amendment. Legislation requiring specific appropriations for various directorates was also approved by the House of Representatives in May 2015. This legislation broke the precedent of granting the NSF autonomy to determine its own priorities.
Although the federal government had established nearly 40 scientific organizations between 1910 and 1940, the US relied upon a primarily laissez-faire approach to scientific research and development. Academic research in science and engineering occasionally received federal funding. Within University laboratories, almost all support came from private contributions and charitable foundations. In industrial laboratories, the concentration of workers and funding (some through military and government programs as a result of Roosevelt's New Deal) would eventually raise concern during the wartime period. In particular, concerns were raised that industry laboratories were largely allowed full patent rights of technologies developed with federal funds. These concerns, in part, led to efforts like Senator Harley M. Kilgore's "Science Mobilization Act" (see below).
Amidst growing awareness that US military capability depended on strength in science and engineering, Congress considered several proposals to support research in these fields. Separately, President Franklin D. Roosevelt sponsored creation of organizations to coordinate federal funding of science for war, including the National Defense Research Committee and the Office of Scientific Research and Development both from 1941-1947. Despite broad agreement over the principle of federal support for science, working out a consensus how to organize and manage it required five years.The five-year political debate over the creation of a national scientific agency has become a topic for academic study, and is currently understood from a variety of perspectives. Themes include disagreements over administrative structure, patents and inclusion of social sciences, a populist-versus-scientist dispute, as well as the roles of political parties, Congress, and President Truman.
Most commonly, this debate is characterized by the conflict between New Deal Senator Harley M. Kilgore and OSRD head Vannevar Bush.Narratives about the National Science Foundation prior to the 1970s typically concentrated on Vannevar Bush and his 1945 publication Science—The Endless Frontier. In this report, Vannevar Bush, then head of the Office of Scientific Research and Development which ran the Manhattan Project that outlived it, addressed what should be done in the postwar years to further foster government commitment to science and technology. Issued to President Harry S. Truman in July 1945, the report laid out a strong case for federally-funded scientific research, arguing that the nation would reap rich dividends in the form of better health care, a more vigorous economy, and a stronger national defense. It proposed creating a new federal agency, the National Research Foundation.
Upon reexamining the historical record,scholars discovered that the NSF first appeared as a comprehensive New Deal Policy proposed by Sen. Harley Kilgore of West Virginia. In 1942, Senator Kilgore introduced the "Science Mobilization Act" (S. 1297), which did not pass. Perceiving organizational chaos, elitism, over-concentration of funds in a small set of universities, and lack of incentives for socially applicable research, Kilgore envisioned a comprehensive and centralized research body supporting basic and applied research which would be controlled by members of the public and civil servants rather than scientific experts. The public would own the rights to all patents funded by public monies and research monies would be equitably spread across universities. Kilgore's supporters included non-elite universities, small businesses and the Budget Bureau. His proposals received mixed support.
Vannevar Bush, an opponent of Kilgore, preferred science policy to be driven by experts and scientists rather than public and civil servants.Bush was concerned that public interests would politicize science, and believed that scientists would make the best judges of the direction and needs of their field. While Bush and Kilgore both agreed that on the need for a national science policy, Bush maintained that scientists should continue to own the research results and patents, wanted project selection limited to scientists, and focused support on basic research, not in the social sciences, leaving the market to support applied projects.
Sociologist Daniel Kleinman divides the debate into three broad legislative attempts. The first attempt consisted of the 1945 Magnuson bill (S. 1285), the 1945 Science and Technology Mobilization Bill, a 1945 compromise bill (S. 1720), a 1946 compromise bill (S. 1850), and the Mills Bill (H.B. 6448). The Magnuson bill was sponsored by Senator Warren Magnuson and drafted by the OSRD, headed by Vannevar Bush. The Science and Technology Mobilization bill was promoted by Harley Kilgore. The bills called for the creation of a centralized science agency, but differed in governance and research supported.The second attempt, in 1947, included Senator H. Alexander Smith's bill S. 526, and Senator Elbert Thomas's bill S. 525. The Smith bill reflected ideas of Vannevar Bush, while the Thomas bill was identical to the previous year's compromise bill (S. 1850).
After amendments, the Smith bill made it to President Truman's desk, but it was vetoed. Truman wrote that he did so with regret, but that the proposed agency would have been "divorced from control by the people to an extent that implies a distinct lack of faith in the democratic process".The third attempt began with the introduction of S. 2385 in 1948. This was a compromise bill cosponsored by Smith and Kilgore, and Bush aide John Teeter had contributed in the drafting process. In 1949, S. 247 was introduced by the same group of senators behind S. 2385, marking the fourth and final effort to establish a national science agency. Essentially identical to S. 2385, S. 247 passed the Senate and the House with a few amendments. It was signed by President Truman on May 10, 1950. Kleinman points out that the final NSF bill closely resembles Vannevar Bush's proposals.
|Populist Proposal |
|Scientist/Business Proposal |
|National Science Foundation Act |
|Coordination/Planning||Strong Mandate||Vague Mandate||Vague Mandate|
|Control/Administration||Non-scientist members of the public: |
Business, labor, farmers, consumers
|Scientists and other experts||Scientists and other experts|
|Research Supported||Basic and applied||Basic||Basic|
|Patent Policy||Nonexclusive licensing||No nonexclusive licensing||No nonexclusive licensing|
|Social Science Support||Yes||No||No|
In 1950 Harry S. Truman signed Public Law 507, or 42 U.S.C. 16creating the National Science Foundation. which provided for a National Science Board of twenty-four part-time. In 1951 Truman nominated Alan T. Waterman, chief scientist at the Office of Naval Research, to become the first Director. With the Korean War underway, the agency's initial budget was just $151,000 for 9 months. After moving its administrative offices twice, NSF began its first full year of operations with an appropriation from Congress of $3.5 million, far less the almost $33.5 million requested with which 28 research grants were awarded. After the 1957 Soviet Union orbited Sputnik 1, the first ever man-made satellite, national self-appraisal questioned American education, scientific, technical and industrial strength and Congress increased the NSF appropriation for 1958 to $40 million. In 1958 the NSF selected Kitt Peak, near Tucson, Arizona, as the site of the first national observatory, that would give any astronomer unprecedented access to state-of-the-art telescopes; previously major research telescopes were privately funded, available only to astronomers who taught at the universities that ran them. The idea expanded to encompass the National Optical Astronomy Observatory, the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, the National Solar Observatory, the Gemini Observatory and the Arecibo Observatory, all of which are funded in whole or in part by NSF. The NSF's astronomy program forged a close working relationship with NASA, also founded in 1958, in that the NSF provides virtually all the U.S. federal support for ground-based astronomy, while NASA's responsibility is the U.S. effort in space-based astronomy. In 1959 the U.S. and other nations concluded the Antarctic Treaty reserving Antarctica for peaceful and scientific research, and a presidential directive gave the NSF responsibility for virtually all U.S. Antarctic operations and research in form of the United States Antarctic Program.
Emphasis on international scientific and technological competition accelerated NSF growth. The foundation started the "Institutional Support Program", a capital funding program designed to build a research infrastructure among U.S. universities; it was the single largest beneficiary of NSF budget growth in the 1960s. In 1960, the NSF's appropriation was $152.7 million and 2,000 grants were made. In 1968 the Deep Sea Drilling Project began (until 1983), which revealed evidence about the concepts of continental drift, sea floor spreading and the general youthfulness of the ocean basins compared to Earth. The program became a model of international cooperation as several foreign countries joined. By 1968, the NSF budget stood at nearly $500 million.
In 1972 the NSF took over management of twelve interdisciplinary materials research laboratories from the Defense Department's Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). These university-based laboratories had taken a more integrated approach than did most academic departments at the time, encouraging physicists, chemists, engineers, and metallurgists to cross departmental boundaries and use systems approaches to attack complex problems of materials synthesis or processing. The NSF expanded these laboratories into a nationwide network of Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers. In 1972 the NSF launched the biennial "Science & Engineering Indicators" reportto the US President and Congress, as required by the NSF Act of 1950. In 1977 the first interconnection of unrelated networks was developed, run by DARPA.
During this decade, increasing NSF involvement lead to a three-tiered system of internetworks managed by a mix of universities, nonprofit organizations and government agencies. By the mid-1980s, primary financial support for the growing project was assumed by the NSF.In 1983, NSF budget topped $1 billion for the first time. Major increases in the nation's research budget were proposed as "the country recognizes the importance of research in science and technology, and education". The U.S. Antarctic Program was taken out of the NSF appropriation now requiring a separate appropriation. The NSF received more than 27,000 proposals and funded more than 12,000 of them in 1983. In 1985, the NSF delivered ozone sensors, along with balloons and helium, to researchers at the South Pole so they can measure stratospheric ozone loss. This was in response to findings earlier that year, indicating a steep drop in ozone over a period of several years. The Internet project continued, now known as NSFNET.
In 1990 the NSF's appropriation passed $2 billion for the first time. NSF funded the development of several curricula based on the NCTM standards, devised by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. These standards were widely adopted by school districts during the subsequent decade. However, in what newspapers such as the Wall Street Journal called the "math wars", organizations such as Mathematically Correct complained that some elementary texts based on the standards, including Mathland, have almost entirely abandoned any instruction of traditional arithmetic in favor of cutting, coloring, pasting, and writing. During that debate, NSF was both lauded and criticized for favoring the standards. In 1991 the NSFNET acceptable use policy was altered to allow commercial traffic. By 1995, with private, commercial market thriving, NSF decommissioned the NSFNET, allowing for public use of the Internet. In 1993 students and staff at the NSF-supported National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, developed Mosaic, the first freely available browser to allow World Wide Web pages that include both graphics and text. Within 18 months, NCSA Mosaic becomes the Web browser of choice for more than a million users, and sets off an exponential growth in the number of Web users. In 1994 NSF, together with DARPA and NASA, launched the Digital Library Initiative.One of the first six grants went to Stanford University, where two graduate students, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, began to develop a search engine that used the links between Web pages as a ranking method, which they later commercialized under the name Google. In 1996 NSF-funded research established beyond doubt that the chemistry of the atmosphere above Antarctica was grossly abnormal and that levels of key chlorine compounds are greatly elevated. During two months of intense work, NSF researchers learned most of what is known about the ozone hole. In 1998 two independent teams of NSF-supported astronomers discovered that the expansion of the universe was actually speeding up, as if some previously unknown force, now known as dark energy, is driving the galaxies apart at an ever-increasing rate. Since passage of the Small Business Technology Transfer Act of 1992 (Public Law 102-564, Title II), NSF has been required to reserve 0.3% of its extramural research budget for Small Business Technology Transfer awards, and 2.8% of its R&D budget for small business innovation research.
NSF joined with other federal agencies in the National Nanotechnology Initiative, dedicated to the understanding and control of matter at the atomic and molecular scale. NSF's roughly $300 million annual investment in nanotechnology research was still one of the largest in the 23-agency initiative. In 2001, NSF's appropriation passed $4 billion. The NSF's "Survey of Public Attitudes Toward and Understanding of Science and Technology" revealed that the public had a positive attitude toward science, but a poor understanding of it.During 2004–5 NSF sent "rapid response" research teams to investigate the aftermath of the Indian Ocean tsunami disaster and Hurricane Katrina. An NSF-funded engineering team helped uncover why the levees failed in New Orleans. In 2005, NSF's budget stood at $5.6 billion, in 2006 it stood at $5.91 billion for the 2007 fiscal year (October 1, 2006 through September 30, 2007), and in 2007 NSF requested $6.43 billion for FY 2008.
President Obama requested $7.373 billion for fiscal year 2013.Due to the October 1, 2013 shutdown of the Federal Government, and NSF's lapse in funding, their website was down "until further notice," but was brought back online after the US government passed their budget. In 2014, NSF awarded rapid response grants to study a chemical spill that contaminated the drinking water of about 300,000 West Virginia residents. In early 2018, it was announced that Trump would cut NSF Research Funding by 30% but quickly rescinded this due to backlash. As of May 2018, Heather Wilson, the secretary of the Air Force signed that letter of intent with the director of NSF initiating partnership for the research related to space operations and Geosciences, advanced material sciences, information and data sciences, and workforce and processes.
The NSF seeks to fulfill its mission chiefly by issuing competitive, limited-term grants in response to specific proposals from the research community and establishing cooperative agreements with research organizations.It does not operate its own laboratories, unlike other federal research agencies, notable examples being NASA and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The NSF uses four main mechanisms to communicate funding opportunities and generate proposals: dear colleague letters, program descriptions, program announcements, and program solicitations.
The NSF receives over 50,000 such proposals each year, and funds about 10,000 of them.Those funded are typically projects that are ranked highest in a 'merit review' process, the current version of which was introduced in 1997. Reviews are carried out by ad hoc reviewers and panels of independent scientists, engineers, and educators who are experts in the relevant fields of study, and who are selected by the NSF with particular attention to avoiding conflicts of interest. For example, reviewers cannot work at the NSF itself, nor for the institution that employs the proposing researchers. All proposal evaluations are confidential: the proposing researchers may see them, but they do not see the names of the reviewers.
The first merit review criterion is 'intellectual merit', the second is that of the 'broader societal impact' of the proposed research; the latter has been met with opposition from the scientific and policy communities since its inception in 1997.In June 2010, the National Science Board (NSB), the governing body for NSF and science advisers to both the legislative and executive branches, convened a 'Task Force on Merit Review' to determine "how well the current Merit Review criteria used by the NSF to evaluate all proposals were serving the agency." The task force reinforced its support for both criteria as appropriate for the goals and aims of the agency, and published a revised version of the merit review criteria in its 2012 report, to clarify and improve the function of the criteria. However, both criteria already had been mandated for all NSF merit review procedures in the 2010 re-authorization of the America COMPETES Act. The Act also includes an emphasis on promoting potentially transformative research, a phrase which has been included in the most recent incarnation of the 'merit review' criteria.
Most NSF grants go to individuals or small groups of investigators, who carry out research at their home campuses. Other grants provide funding for mid-scale research centers, instruments, and facilities that serve researchers from many institutions. Still, others fund national-scale facilities that are shared by the research community as a whole. Examples of national facilities include the NSF's national observatories, with their giant optical and radio telescopes; its Antarctic research sites; its high-end computer facilities and ultra-high-speed network connections; the ships and submersibles used for ocean research; and its gravitational wave observatories.
In addition to researchers and research facilities, NSF grants also support science, engineering and mathematics education from pre-K through graduate school. Undergraduates can receive funding through Research Experiences for Undergraduates summer programs.Graduate students are supported through Integrative Graduate Education Research Traineeships (IGERT) and Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) programs and through the Graduate Research Fellowships, NSF-GRF. K-12 and some community college instructors are eligible to participate in compensated Research Experiences for Teachers programs. In addition, an early career-development program (CAREER) supports teacher-scholars that most effectively integrate research and education within the mission of their organization, as a foundation for a lifetime of integrated contributions.
The NSF is broadly organized into four offices, seven directorates, and the National Science Board.It employs about 2,100 people in permanent, temporary and contractual positions at its headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia. Prior to 2017, its headquarters were located in Arlington, Virginia.
In addition to around 1,400 permanent employees and the staffs of the NSB office and the Office of the Inspector General, the NSF workforce includes some 200 scientists on temporary duty and 450 contract workers.Scientists from research institutions can join the NSF as temporary program directors, called "rotators", overseeing the merit review process and searching for new funding opportunities. These assignments typically last 1–2 years, but may extend to 4. The NSF also offers contracting opportunities. As of May 2018, the NSF has 53 existing contracts.
The NSF also supports research through several offices within the Office of the Director, including the Office of Cyberinfrastructure,Office of Polar Programs, Office of Integrative Activities, and Office of International Science and Engineering.
The NSF organizes its research and education support through seven directorates, each encompassing several disciplines:
Prior to October 2018, NSF maintained three overseas offices to promote collaboration between the science and engineering communities of the United States and other continents' scientific communities:
All three overseas offices were shut down in October 2018, to reflect the agency's move to a more nimble international posture. Rather than maintain dedicated offices, NSF will dispatch small teams to specific international institutions. Teams may work for up to a week on-site to evaluate research and explore collaborations with the institution.
In addition to the research it funds in specific disciplines, the NSF has launched a number of projects that coordinate the efforts of experts in many disciplines, which often involve collaborations with other U.S. federal agencies.Examples include initiatives in:
NSF's National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES) gathers data from surveys and partnerships with other agencies to offer official data on the American science and engineering workforce, graduates of advanced U.S. science and engineering programs, and R&D expenditures by U.S. industry. [ citation needed ] It is a part of the NSF's Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences Directorate (SBE).NCSES is one of the principal U.S. statistical agencies.
NSF surveys of public attitudes and knowledge have consistently shown that the public has a positive view of science but has little scientific understanding.[ citation needed ] The greatest deficit remains the public's understanding of the scientific method. Comparison surveys elsewhere in the world, including Japan and Europe, have indicated public interest in science and technology is lower than in the US, with China a notable exception. A majority of Americans (54%) had heard "nothing at all" about nanotechnology in 2008.[ citation needed ]
In May 2011, Republican Senator Tom Coburn released a 73-page report, "National Science Foundation: Under the Microscope",receiving immediate attention from such media outlets as The New York Times , Fox News, and MSNBC. The report found fault with various research projects and was critical of the social sciences. It started a controversy about political bias and a Congressional Inquiry into federally sponsored research. In 2014, Republicans proposed a bill to limit the NSF Board's authority in grant-writing.
In 2013, the NSF had funded the work of Mark Carey at University of Oregon with a $412,930 grant, which included a study concerning gender in glaciological research. After its January 2016 release, the NSF drew criticism for alleged misuse of funding.
Some historians of science have argued that the National Science Foundation Act of 1950 was an unsatisfactory compromise between too many clashing visions of the purpose and scope of the federal government.The NSF was certainly not the primary government agency for the funding of basic science, as its supporters had originally envisioned in the aftermath of World War II. By 1950, support for major areas of research had already become dominated by specialized agencies such as the National Institutes of Health (medical research) and the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (nuclear and particle physics). That pattern would continue after 1957 when U.S. anxiety over the launch of Sputnik led to the creation of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (space science) and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (defense-related research).
The National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) is a state-federal partnership to develop and deploy national-scale cyberinfrastructure that advances research, science and engineering based in the United States of America. NCSA operates as a unit of the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, and provides high-performance computing resources to researchers across the country. Support for NCSA comes from the National Science Foundation, the state of Illinois, the University of Illinois, business and industry partners, and other federal agencies.
The National Science Foundation Network (NSFNET) was a program of coordinated, evolving projects sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) from 1985 to 1995 to promote advanced research and education networking in the United States. The program created several nationwide backbone computer networks in support of these initiatives. Initially created to link researchers to the NSF-funded supercomputing centers, through further public funding and private industry partnerships it developed into a major part of the Internet backbone.
Science policy is concerned with the allocation of resources for the conduct of science towards the goal of best serving the public interest. Topics include the funding of science, the careers of scientists, and the translation of scientific discoveries into technological innovation to promote commercial product development, competitiveness, economic growth and economic development. Science policy focuses on knowledge production and role of knowledge networks, collaborations and the complex distributions of expertise, equipment and know-how. Understanding the processes and organizational context of generating novel and innovative science and engineering ideas is a core concern of science policy. Science policy topics include weapons development, health care and environmental monitoring.
The National Nanotechnology Initiative is a United States federal government program for the science, engineering, and technology research and development for nanoscale projects. "The NNI serves as the central point of communication, cooperation, and collaboration for all Federal agencies engaged in nanotechnology research, bringing together the expertise needed to advance this broad and complex field". Initiative participants state that its four goals are to
The Small Business Innovation Research program is a United States Government program, coordinated by the Small Business Administration, intended to help certain small businesses conduct research and development (R&D). Funding takes the form of contracts or grants. The recipient projects must have the potential for commercialization and must meet specific U.S. government R&D needs.
Harley Martin Kilgore was a United States Senator from West Virginia.
The National Science Board (NSB) of the United States establishes the policies of the National Science Foundation (NSF) within the framework of applicable national policies set forth by the President and the Congress. The NSB also serves as an independent policy advisory body to the President and Congress on science and engineering research and education issues. The Board has a statutory obligation to "...render to the President and to the Congress reports on specific, individual policy matters related to science and engineering and education in science engineering, as Congress or the President determines the need for such reports,". All Board members are presidential appointees. NSF's director serves as an ex officio 25th member and is appointed by the President and confirmed by the US Senate.
Cornelius (Neal) Francis Lane, is a U.S. physicist and Senior Fellow in Science and Technology Policy at Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy and Malcolm Gillis University Professor Emeritus of Physics and Astronomy Emeritus at Rice University in Houston, Texas.
Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), previously Science, mathematics, engineering, and technology (SMET), is a term used to group together these academic disciplines. This term is typically used when addressing education policy and curriculum choices in schools to improve competitiveness in science and technology development. It has implications for workforce development, national security concerns and immigration policy. The science in STEM typically refers to two out of the three major branches of science: natural sciences, including biology, physics, and chemistry; and formal sciences, of which mathematics is an example, along with logic and statistics. The third major branch of science, social science such as: psychology, sociology, and political science, are categorized separately from the other two branches of science, and are instead grouped together with humanities and arts to form another counterpart acronym named HASS - Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. In the United States/ United Kingdom education system, in elementary, middle, and high schools, the term science refers primarily to the natural sciences, with mathematics being a standalone subject, and the social sciences are combined with the humanities under the umbrella term social studies.
The United States National Academy of Sciences' Board on Science, Technology, and Economic Policy (STEP) is a board of the United States National Academy of Sciences.
Transformative research is a term that became increasingly common within the science policy community in the 2000s for research that shifts or breaks existing scientific paradigms. The idea has its provenance in Thomas Kuhn's notion of scientific revolutions, where one scientific paradigm is overturned for another. Classic examples are the Copernican Revolution, Albert Einstein's theories, the work of Watson and Crick, and plate tectonics theory. The term also has a strong neoliberal dimension: in the endless economic competition with other nations it is no longer sufficient to merely 'innovate'; companies and nations must seek out revolutionary advances that will lead to major economic advantages.
The Office of Science is a component of the United States Department of Energy (DOE). The Office of Science is the lead federal agency supporting fundamental scientific research for energy and the Nation’s largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences. The Office of Science portfolio has two principal thrusts: direct support of scientific research and direct support of the development, construction, and operation of unique, open-access scientific user facilities that are made available for use by external researchers.
The America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science Act of 2007 or America COMPETES Act was authored by Bart Gordon and signed by President George W. Bush; it became law on 9 August 2007. This was an Act, "To invest in innovation through research and development, and to improve the competitiveness of the United States."
The Computing Community Consortium (CCC) is an organization whose goal is to catalyze and empower the U.S. computing research community to pursue audacious, high-impact research.
The Utah Science Technology and Research Initiative (USTAR) is a technology-based economic development agency funded by the state of Utah. The organization works to develop ideas and research into marketable products and successful companies through its competitive grant and entrepreneur support programs. USTAR facilitates the diversification of the state’s tech economy, increases private follow-on investment, and supports the creation of technology-based start-up firms, higher paying jobs and additional business activity leading to a statewide expansion of Utah’s tax base.
Subra Suresh is an Indian-American biological engineer, materials scientist, and academic administrator. On 1 January 2018, he was inaugurated as the fourth President of Singapore's Nanyang Technological University (NTU), where he is also the inaugural Distinguished University Professor. He was the Vannevar Bush Professor of Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Dean of the School of Engineering at MIT from 2007 to 2010 before being appointed as Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) by Barack Obama, where he served from 2010 to 2013. He was the president of Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) from 2013 to 2017.
The science policy of the United States is the responsibility of many organizations throughout the federal government. Much of the large-scale policy is made through the legislative budget process of enacting the yearly federal budget, although there are other legislative issues that directly involve science, such as energy policy, climate change, and stem cell research. Further decisions are made by the various federal agencies which spend the funds allocated by Congress, either on in-house research or by granting funds to outside organizations and researchers.
The Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) program consists of a group of U.S. federal agencies to research and develop information technology (IT) capabilities to empower Federal missions; support U.S. science, engineering, and technology leadership; and bolster U.S. economic competitiveness.
Engineering Research Centers (ERC) are university-led institutions developed through the National Science Foundation (NSF) Directorate of Engineering. While ERCs are initially funded by the NSF, they are expected to be self-sustaining within 10 years of being founded. The Engineering Research Centers program was originally developed in 1984 with the mission of removing disparity between academic and industrial engineering applications. In this way, engineering students would, theoretically, be better prepared to enter the engineering workforce. As a result, the United States would gain a competitive advantage over other countries. There have been three generations of Engineering Research Centers. Each of these generations has been specifically designed to meet the dynamic engineering demands of the United States. Due to the limited amount of funding available for ERCs, the program is competitive; out of 143 proposals submitted in 2008, only 5 were awarded centers. Commercialization of academic research is one of the primary goals of NSF ERCs.
The National Strategic Computing Initiative (NSCI) is a United States initiative calling for the accelerated development of technologies for exascale supercomputers, and funding research into post-semiconductor computing. The initiative was created by an executive order issued by President Barack Obama in July 2015. Ten United States government departments and independent agencies are involved in the initiative. The initiative initially brought together existing programs, with some dedicated funding increases proposed in the Obama administration's 2017 budget request. The initiative's strategic plan was released in July 2016.
2. To what extent do the proposed activities suggest and explore creative, original, or potentially transformative concepts?
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