NSF's increase focuses on a number of emerging areas of science and engineering, including research in knowledge and distributed intelligence (KDI) and new areas of research on life and the earth's environment. The new budget plan for 1998 also defines greater emphasis on innovative education programs, especially those which link learning with discovery.
"This request demonstrates the value that the Administration places on fundamental research as an investment in the nation's future," Neal Lane, NSF Director said. "There are a number of key areas driving national growth and opportunity as we near a new century. Top economists estimate that advances in science and technology account for half of all real economic growth in the United States; so it's clear that fundamental research holds the key to exploiting scientific potential and to bringing economic success to America."
"NSF's FY98 budget request includes a 3.4% increase planned in overall research and related activities, and a 6.3% rise in funding for major research equipment. Some of the highlights and priority areas include:
Knowledge and Distributed Intelligence.-- NSF will invest $58 million on a focused, multidisciplinary KDI program. This is built upon a base of existing KDI-related projects of more than $355 million. In just a few years, the power and connectivity of computers has changed the face of science and engineering and transformed the U.S. economy. KDI is envisioned as an agency-wide effort to revolutionize information, computing, networking and communicating in ways that will fundamentally change how all Americans will learn, work and interact.
Life and Earth's Environment.-- NSF is continuing its strong presence in life, social and environmental sciences and will devote increasing attention on how living organisms interact with their environment. One such effort is Life in Extreme Environments (LExEn). Undertaken in 1997, NSF will continue to develop this initiative in FY98 -- an overall effort totaling $35 million in concert with activities in other research agencies. NSF will also explore urban-based activities within a coherent, interdisciplinary approach during 1998.
Integration of Research and Education.-- This NSF core strategy will touch virtually all areas of NSF's investments, but a particular focus will be on enhancing the Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) program, which will be funded at approximately $83 million, a 21 percent increase over FY 97. The CAREER program provides a framework for junior-level faculty members to link their research activities with their teaching, (responsibility for curriculum innovation) and mentoring of students.
Funding for the Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program will be increased by 11 percent in FY 98 compared to the FY 97 estimate.
Also, a new Integrative Graduate Education and Research Training (IGERT) program, funded at $20 million, will provide new opportunities for multidisciplinary research and educational training opportunities for graduate students in science and engineering.
"Success stories abound, and they're all traced back to investments in people and ideas, the very heart of NSF's mission in fundamental research and education in science and engineering," Lane said.
Editors: The NSF FY 1998 Budget Request is
available at: http://www.