INTEGRATIVE ACTIVITIES $119,230,000
The FY 2001 Budget Request for Integrative Activities (IA) is $119.23 million, a decrease of $10.0 million from the FY 2000 Current Plan of $129.23 million.
(Millions of Dollars)
Integrative Activities supports emerging cross-disciplinary research and education efforts and major research instrumentation. In addition, IA provides support for the Science and Technology Policy Institute. IA explicitly recognizes the importance of these types of integrative efforts to the future of science and engineering.
Integrative Activities supports the following programs:
(Millions of Dollars)
In FY 2000, $50 million was provided for a focused initiative on Biocomplexity within IA. In FY 2001, $12.50 million of these funds have been transferred to the Biological Sciences Activity, and $37.50 million transferred to the Geosciences Activity for programs within the expanded Biocomplexity in the Environment initiative.
Major Research Instrumentation
The Major Research Instrumentation Program (MRI) is designed to improve the capabilities of scientific and engineering equipment for research and research training in our nation's academic institutions. This program seeks to improve the quality and expand the scope of research and research training in science and engineering, and to foster the integration of research and education by providing instrumentation for research-intensive learning environments. In FY 2001, NSF will continue to provide $50.0 million for this ongoing program to support the acquisition and development of research instrumentation in academic institutions.
NSF's Opportunity Fund was created in FY 1995 to support innovative, cross-disciplinary research and education through small, focused competitions, and to assist the Foundation in responding quickly to emerging or unique opportunities in science and engineering. The Fund has been used to stimulate interest and participation in a number of focused research and education efforts. These efforts have ranged from research in optical science and engineering, to awards for Collaborative Research on Learning Technologies, to Recognition Awards for Integration of Research and Education, to awards to support research on Knowledge and Distributed Intelligence. All NSF activities have participated in efforts supported through the Opportunity Fund.
Some of the efforts initially funded through the Opportunity Fund were later incorporated into ongoing NSF programs; others are one-year pilot efforts or experiments. For example, an FY 1995 effort on Water & Watersheds which supported research on the natural and anthropogenic processes that govern the quantity, quality, and availability of water resources, and facilitated an understanding of ecosystems that comprise watersheds, has become incorporated in an interagency program with EPA. An FY 1997 effort on Life in Extreme Environments which enabled interdisciplinary research on living systems in extreme environments, such as the polar regions and around deep sea vents, was one of the activities leading to the current research effort on biocomplexity.
In FY 2000, no support was provided for the Opportunity Fund, per Congressional direction. In FY 2001, $32.0 million is requested for the Opportunity Fund within R&RA through Integrative Activities.
Science and Technology Centers
NSF created the Science and Technology Centers (STC) program in 1989. STCs support universitybased multidisciplinary research which encourages knowledge transfer to non-academic sectors of society and establishes innovative education activities. The centers have become focal points for their respective communities by providing facilities, instruments, and venues for interactions. Education and research have become tightly interwoven at the centers and a large cohort of students has graduated with special capabilities gained through the centers. Collaborations with industrial scientists and engineers at national labs have become commonplace, resulting in new technologies, products, and jobs. Most importantly, the centers have successfully resolved complex, major research problems that require sustained high levels of research support.
In FY 2000 NSF provided $25.0 million to initiate a new class of Science and Technology Centers in topics that span the range of disciplines supported by NSF. Included in this amount were necessary start-up costs for these centers. These new centers, and their lead institutions, are:
In FY 2001, $20.0 million is requested to continue support for these centers.
Science and Technology Policy Institute
The Science and Technology Policy Institute (STPI) is a Federally-Funded Research and Development Center established by Congress in 1992 to support the complex task of devising and implementing science and technology policy. Originally named the Critical Technologies Institute, the Institute was renamed by Congress in FY 1999.
The Institute provides analytical support to the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to identify near-term and long-term objectives for research and development and identify options for achieving those objectives. The analytical work of STPI is focused on informing policy decisions within three overlapping themes: (1) the conduct of fundamental science and the development and use of technology; (2) the contributions of science and technology to achieving major societal goals; and (3) the choice of policies that influence the support, conduct, and use of science and technology.
NSF provides budgetary support, as well as financial and management oversight, for STPI. The RAND Corporation, the present contractor, operates the Institute as a separate entity. The FY 2001 Request includes $4.23 million for STPI for analytic activities in support of OSTP and National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) initiatives in key areas where policy decisions are anticipated, such as:
The Institute also operates the RaDiUS data system, described in a report issued by the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) as "the first comprehensive, real-time accounting of federal R&D activities and spending." In FY 2001, $1.5 million of the STPI request will be used to provide continuing access to the RaDiUS system to users in the federal R&D community. RAND will work with NSF and OSTP to expand the number of government users of the system and also to expand the use by the university research community. Efforts will also continue to make improvements to the system in such areas as data and user interfaces tailored for specific communities.
Other Integrative Activities
A total of $13 million within Integrative Activities is included for two additional programs in FY 2001. ADVANCE, a new program to increase the participation of women in science and engineering, will be funded at more than $20 million in FY 2001, including $11 million through IA. The Integrative Graduate Education and Research Training (IGERT) program provides support for universities to engage graduate students in interdisciplinary science and engineering research. Support for IGERT will total approximately $31 million in FY 2001, including $2 million within IA.
In addition to the programs supported through IA, NSF supports a number of other Foundation-wide research and education programs. These programs are funded through the disciplinary programs, often with contributions from the Education and Human Resources Appropriation, and include:
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