NSF's investments are distributed across four key program functions.

NSF Budget by Key Program Function

(Dollars in Millions)

NSF's goals are pursued through the investment priorities and strategies developed for the key program functions, the merit review by peer evaluation of projects that make up the portfolio of investments, and a process of performance assessment that addresses the effectiveness of the implementation. Though there is inevitably some overlap in scope, the key program functions are distinguished from each other by the general nature of the activities undertaken under each rubric. The functions are interdependent for their joint success, and NSF's.

Research Project Support

Funding for Research Project Support totals $1,872 million in FY 1998, an increase of 2.7 percent over FY 1997. Research projects provide support for individuals and small groups devoted both to disciplinary research in traditional fields and to cross-disciplinary fields. Also included within this function is support for centers, based on the premise that some scientific questions and research problems can best be addressed through the multidisciplinary, long-term, coordinated efforts of many researchers. Support for centers totals $204 million in FY 1998.

Research Facilities

Support for Research Facilities totals $684 million in FY 1998, an increase of 3.5 percent over FY 1997. NSF supports large, multi-user research facilities that are characteristically complicated and expensive, requiring long-term commitments of support. The principal focus is providing access to state-of-the-art capabilities that might otherwise be unavailable to U.S. researchers.

Education and Training

Education and Training totals $669 million in FY 1998, an increase of 3.5 percent over FY 1997. NSF's education and training component supports activities from pre-kindergarten through postdoctoral levels, including public science literacy, aimed at enabling U.S. students to become scientifically literate citizens and well-trained members of the nation's workforce.

Administration and Management

Administration and Management totals $142 million in FY 1998. This provides the operating funds to support NSF staff in efforts to achieve strategic goals by implementing programs in all key program areas.

Back to the FY 1998 Budget page