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National Science Foundation Fiscal Year 2014 Budget Request Sustains Momentum for Fundamental Research in Science, Technology and Innovation


The National Science Foundation (NSF) today announced President Obama’s $7.626 billion fiscal year (FY) 2014 budget request for the agency, representing an 8.4 percent increase over the fiscal year 2012 enacted budget.

“NSF’s fiscal year 2014 budget request empowers discovery through investments in fundamental research and facilities, in STEM education, and in systems and processes to enhance transparency and effectiveness,” said NSF Acting Director Cora Marrett, who announced the budget at the agency’s headquarters in Arlington, Va. “Collectively these efforts will continue to expand the frontiers of knowledge, drive the nation’s innovation economy and address societal challenges.”

The budget request prioritizes investments in fundamental research and related activities that represent $6.2 billion of the $7.6 billion budget request. These investments include the recently inaugurated Atacama Large Millimeter Array telescope and other observatories; investigations into novel materials, manufacturing processes and smart systems; advanced cyber infrastructure; and sustainability science and engineering. The Foundation will play an important role in the Administration’s recently-announced BRAIN initiative through its research portfolio exploring neural connections from the cellular to human behavioral levels.

NSF will also invest $210 million in major research equipment and facilities construction (MREFC), with an initial funding request for the Large Synoptic Survey telescope, as well as funding to further development of the National Ecological Observatory Network, the Advanced Technology Solar Telescope, the Ocean Observatories Initiative and the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory.

The FY 2014 request also highlights NSF’s leadership in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education, particularly at the graduate and undergraduate levels. This is part of the Administration’s multiagency effort to increase the impact of federal investments on STEM achievement through a national strategy that includes strong collaborations among agencies and leveraging of unique agency assets.

NSF’s STEM education portfolio totals nearly $1.3 billion in the FY 2014 request. Investments in this portfolio will support the next generation of leaders in science, technology and innovation through an expanded National Graduate Research Fellowships program, a reorganization of existing undergraduate STEM education programs into the new Catalyzing Advances in Undergraduate STEM Education program, and a new NSF Research Traineeships program. This portfolio also includes important foundational work in research to build the evidence base for successful models in STEM learning both inside and outside of schools.

The FY 2014 request includes measures for improving program effectiveness and efficiency, including ensuring public access to NSF-funded research results, establishing an evaluation capability to expand evidence-based planning and decision-making, modernizing NSF’s financial management system (iTRAK), and expanding the use of innovative virtual meeting technologies for the support of merit review panels.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2012, its budget was $7.0 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives about 50,000 competitive requests for funding, and makes about 11,500 new funding awards. NSF also awards about $593 million in professional and service contracts yearly.

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