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NSF-Wide Investments

The National Science Foundation's (NSF) fiscal year (FY) 2012 budget request to Congress identifies the following areas for NSF-wide investments. Strengthening capabilities in each of these areas will enhance the productivity and efficiency of the science and engineering enterprise while producing concrete economic and social benefits for the nation.

National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) Activities

Semiconducting metal junction formed from two carbon nanotubes National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) (PDF)
NSF's contribution to the multiagency National Nanotechnology Initiative encompasses the systematic understanding, organization, manipulation, and control of matter at the atomic, molecular, and supramolecular levels in the size range of 1 to 100 nanometers. Novel materials, devices, and systems--with their building blocks designed on the scale of nanometers--open up new directions in science, engineering, and technology with potentially profound implications for society.
Researcher welding a GPS station on the flanks of Mount St. Helens Networking and Information Technology R&D (NITRD) (PDF)
NSF is a primary federal agency supporting the Networking and Information Technology Research and Development program. NSF's NITRD portfolio includes all funding in the Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) and the Office of Cyberinfrastructure (OCI), and contributions from all of the agency's other directorates.
Surf along a coastline U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) (PDF)
The U.S. Global Change Research Program provides the nation and the world with the scientific knowledge necessary for understanding and predicting climate change and environmental responses, managing risk, and anticipating opportunities that may result from changes in climate and climate variability. Research conducted through the USGCRP ( builds on the scientific advances of recent decades and deepens our understanding of how the interplay between human and natural systems affects the climate system, and of the impacts of a changing climate on those systems.

NSF Activities

EcoCradle packaging material is composed of agricultural byproducts bound by fungal roots. Advanced Manufacturing (PDF)
Few areas of research hold as much potential for significant short-term and long-term economic impact as research in advanced manufacturing. Rather than a "refinement" of traditional manufacturing processes, advanced manufacturing involves new methodologies, new systems, new processes, and entirely new paradigms for translating fundamental raw materials into finished products. NSF supports a diverse research portfolio providing basic research discoveries that benefit advanced manufacturing.
Dye pattern resembling a green apple NSF Centers (PDF)
NSF supports a variety of centers programs that contribute to the Foundation's mission and vision. Centers exploit opportunities in science, engineering, and technology in which the complexity of the research problem or the resources needed to solve the problem require the advantages of scope, scale, duration, equipment, facilities, and students.
Visualization of Internet connections in the U.S. Cyberinfrastructure Framework for 21st Century Science and Engineering (CIF21) (PDF)
The goal of Cyberinfrastructure Framework for 21st Century Science and Engineering is to develop and deploy comprehensive, integrated, sustainable, and secure cyberinfrastructure (CI) to accelerate research and education and new functional capabilities in computational and data-intensive science and engineering, thereby transforming our ability to effectively address and solve the many complex problems facing science and society.
Composite of electron cloud visualization with gallium arsenide crystal structure Science and Engineering Beyond Moore's Law (SEBML) (PDF)
The goal of Science and Engineering Beyond Moore's Law is to position the U.S. at the forefront of communications and computation capability beyond the physical and conceptual limitations of current technologies. Moore's Law is the empirical observation, made in 1965, by the co-founder of Intel, Gordon E. Moore, that semiconductor device density, and therefore computer processing power, doubles about every 18 months. Currently, many innovations are being pursued to prolong the scalability of computer processing power, but with silicon technology the fundamental physical and conceptual limits of Moore's Law are likely to be reached in 10 to 20 years. To take computation beyond Moore's Law requires new scientific, mathematical, engineering, and conceptual frameworks.
Cover of NSB report, Building a Sustainable Energy Future Science, Engineering and Education for Sustainability (SEES) (PDF)
The goal of Science, Engineering and Education for Sustainability is to advance climate and energy science, engineering, and education to inform the societal actions needed for environmental and economic sustainability and sustainable human well-being. SEES is designed to foster insights about the environment-energy-society nexus that will increase the effectiveness of our energy and management policies in adapting to, and mitigating the impacts of, environmental and climate change.
Students using a microscope Selected Crosscutting Programs (PDF)
NSF crosscutting programs include interdisciplinary programs and programs that are supported by multiple directorates. Examples of major crosscutting activities include ADVANCE, Climate Change Education Program, Enhancing Access to the Radio Spectrum (EARS), Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER), Graduate Fellowships and Traineeships, Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER), Research at the Interface of the Biological, Mathematical, and Physical Sciences (BioMaPS), Research Experiences for Teachers (RET), Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU), Research in Undergraduate Institutions (RUI) and Science and Technology Centers (STCs).

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NSF has designated special areas of emphasis or priority areas in previous budget years. A select list of materials from previous years is available here.


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