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Fact Sheet
National Science Board

May 14, 2012

Background. The National Science Foundation (NSF) Act of 1950, which created NSF, states: "The Foundation shall consist of a National Science Board (NSB) ... and a director." Jointly, the board and the director pursue the goals and functions of NSF, including the duty to "recommend and encourage the pursuit of national policies for the promotion of research and education in science and engineering."

The board has several statutory responsibilities. One is to provide oversight for and establish the policies of the foundation, within the framework of applicable national policies, as set forth by the president and the Congress. Another is to serve as an independent body of advisors to both the president and Congress on broad, national policy issues related to science and engineering research and education. The board is to render to the president, for submission to Congress no later than January 15 of each even numbered year, a report on indicators of the state of science and engineering in the United States. Additionally, the board is to render to the president for submission to Congress, reports on specific, individual policy matters related to science and engineering and education in science and engineering, as the board, the president or the Congress determines the need for such reports.

Composition. The NSB is made up of 24 members appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. Also, the NSF director is an ex-officio member. Members serve six-year terms; one-third of the board is appointed every two years. NSB members are selected to represent the leadership of science and engineering in all areas of the nation. They are selected for their eminence in research, education or public service.

Actions. The NSB meets five times a year (four meetings at NSF headquarters in Arlington, Va., and one in another part of the country). It reviews and approves major NSF awards and new programs. It also initiates and conducts studies and reports on a broad range of policy topics--on its own initiative or as the president or Congress requests--including the biennial Science and Engineering Indicators. The NSB also publishes occasional policy papers or statements on issues of importance to U.S. science and engineering.

Honors. The NSB sponsors national honorary awards:

  • Vannevar Bush Award - established by the board in 1980, awarded to senior scientists for public service in science and technology;
  • NSB Public Service Award - established by the board in 1996, presented to one or more individuals, or to a company, corporation or organization, in recognition of their contributions to increasing public understanding of science or engineering.

Members of the National Science Board

Terms expire May 10, 2014

  • Ray M. Bowen -President Emeritus, Texas A&M University, Visiting Distinguished Professor, Rice University, Houston, Texas
  • France A. Córdova – President, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana
  • Esin Gulari – Dean of Engineering and Science, Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina
  • G.P. "Bud" Peterson - President, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia
  • Douglas D. Randall - Professor Emeritus and Thomas Jefferson Fellow, and Director Emeritus Interdisciplinary Plant Group, University of Missouri-Columbia, Columbia, Missouri
  • Diane L. Souvaine - Professor of Computer Science, Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts
  • Arnold F. Stancell - Emeritus Professor and Turner Leadership Chair, Georgia Institute of Technology, School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Atlanta, Georgia
  • Claude M. Steele - Dean, School of Education, Stanford University, Palo Alto, California

Terms expire May 10, 2016

  • Dan E. Arvizu - NSB Chairman; Director and Chief Executive, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, Colorado
  • Kelvin K. Droegemeier - NSB Vice Chairman; Vice President for Research, Regents' Professor of Meteorology Weathernews Chair, Emeritus University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma
  • Bonnie Bassler - Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, Squibb Professor of Molecular Biology, Princeton University
  • Alan Leshner - Chief Executive Officer and Executive Publisher, Science, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Washington, DC
  • W. Carl Lineberger - Fellow of JILA, E. U. Condon Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado
  • Anneila I. Sargent - Benjamin M. Rosen Professor of Astronomy, Vice President for Student Affairs, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California 
  • Robert J. Zimmer - President, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois

Ex-Officio Member: Subra Suresh - Director, National Science Foundation, Arlington, Virginia

Board Consultants

  • Mark R. Abbott - Dean and Professor; College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences; Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon
  • Camilla P. Benbow - Patricia and Rodes Hart Dean of Education and Human Development; Peabody College; Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee
  • Arthur Bienenstock - Professor Emeritus of Photon Science; Stanford University
  • John T. Bruer - President; The James S. McDonnell Foundation, St. Louis, Missouri
  • Patricia D. Galloway - CEO; Pegasus Global Holding, Inc., Cle Elum, Washington
  • José-Marie Griffiths - Vice President for Academic Affairs and University Professor; Bryant University, Smithfield, Rhode Island
  • Arthur K. Reilly - Retired Senior Director; Strategic Technology Policy; Cisco Systems, Inc., Ocean, New Jersey
  • Thomas N. Taylor - Roy A. Roberts Distinguished Professor; Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology; Curator of Paleobotany in the Natural History Museum and Biodiversity Research Center; The University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas
  • Richard F. Thompson - Keck Professor of Psychology and Biological Sciences; University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California

Executive Officer and NSB Office Director: Michael L. Van Woert, National Science Board Office, Arlington, Virginia


Media Contacts
Dana Topousis, NSF, (703) 292-7750, dtopousi@nsf.gov

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) 2016, its budget is $7.5 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 48,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards. NSF also awards about $626 million in professional and service contracts yearly.

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Useful NSF Web Sites:
NSF Home Page: http://www.nsf.gov
NSF News: http://www.nsf.gov/news/
For the News Media: http://www.nsf.gov/news/newsroom.jsp
Science and Engineering Statistics: http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/
Awards Searches: http://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/



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