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National Science Foundation - GovITwiki

National Science Foundation

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Background on the NSF
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 National Science Foundation supports research and education in all fields of science and engineering other than medical. (Medical research is the mainstay of the National Institutes of Health.

Annual budget: $5.91 billion (fiscal year 2007), most of which is used for grants given to universities and research institutions.

The president officially appoints the NSF's director, deputy director, and the 24 members of the National Science Board. The appointments must be confirmed by the United States Senate. 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 Dr. Arden L. Bement, Jr., and the current deputy director is Dr. Kathie L. Olsen.


Current Climate

Major Projects by Department - FY2009

Department-Wide Investment Office of Budget, Finance, and Award Management Office of Information and Resource Management

Leading Projects at NSF - 2007
NSF's Financial and Accounting System
New End-to-End Human Capital System
NSF Legacy Administrative Systems
NSF Supporting Applications and Utilities, Including Internal and External NSF Web Site

Top Spending Departments - 2007
NSF Corporate Infrastructure, CIO's office
Grants Management

IT Budget History

2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
$33 $39 $36

$49 (Proposed)

$46 (Final)

$50 (Proposed)

$49 (Final)

$58 (Proposed)

$63 (Enacted)

$83 (Proposed)

Numbers = $millions. (Data from the Office of Management and Budget)

Note on 2007 & 2008: Most civilian agencies other that the Homeland Security Department have not had a full budget approved since FY2006. A continuing resolution has keep agency spending near 2006 levels.

Procurement Methods

Federal Register - NSF

Research Directorates of the NSF

NSF organizes its research and educational support efforts into seven directorates. Each has several sub-catagories:

  • Biological Sciences (molecular, cellular, and organismal biology, environmental science)
  • Computer and Information Science and Engineering (fundamental computer science, computer and networking systems, and artificial intelligence)
  • Engineering (bioengineering, environmental systems, civil and mechanical systems, chemical and transport systems, electrical and communications systems, and design and manufacturing)
  • Geosciences (geological, atmospheric and ocean sciences)
  • Mathematical and Physical Sciences (mathematics, astronomy, physics, chemistry and materials science)
  • Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (neuroscience, psychology, sociology, anthropology, linguistics and economics)
  • Education and Human Resources (science, technology, engineering and mathematics education at every level, pre-K to grey)

Other research offices

NSF also supports research through several offices within the Office of the Director:


Agency Profile

National Science Foundation
4201 Wilson Boulevard
Arlington, Virginia 22230

Web site

NSF is the only federal agency whose mission includes support for all fields of fundamental science and engineering, except for medical sciences. The foundation is tasked with keeping the United States at the leading edge of discovery in areas from astronomy to geology to zoology. 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.[1]

External links

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[1] From NSF's About the NSF page.

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