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Photo of Arden Bement

Dr. Arden L. Bement, Jr.
National Science Foundation

FY 2007 Budget Presentation
National Science Foundation
Arlington, VA
February 6, 2006

(As Prepared)

See also slide presentation.

If you're interested in reproducing any of the slides, please contact the Office of Legislative and Public Affairs: (703) 292-8070.

[Title Slide: NSF FY 2007 Budget Request]

Good afternoon--and welcome to the National Science Foundation. Thank you for coming to hear about the NSF FY 2007 Budget request.

I don't want to keep you in suspense, so I will begin by letting the largest cat out of the bag.

[Slide #2: President's Competitiveness Initiative]

As part of the President's American Competitiveness Initiative, the Administration has made a firm commitment to doubling the NSF budget over the next ten-years.

This is a great day for NSF, and that means it's a great day for the nation. There has been a lot of rhetoric about doubling the NSF budget, but now the Administration is behind it. The FY 2007 Budget Request is the first installment. We are grateful to the Administration for its recognition and leadership.

[Slide #3: FY 2007 Budget Request Total]

NSF is requesting $6.02 billion dollars. That's an increase of $439 million, or 7.9 percent above the 2006 level.

The Administration's message is crystal clear: aggressively pursuing new knowledge and the innovation it spurs is our best way to sustain a robust, competitive and productive America.

America's leadership depends more and more on the quality of our new ideas---the vitality of our science and engineering workforce---and the innovative use of new knowledge generated through research and education. With today's intense global competition for ideas and talent to achieve comparative advantage and capture market opportunities worldwide, we must sustain our momentum of leadership.

The President's budget submission for NSF aims to do just that, and I am delighted to bring you the good news.

[Slide #4: NSF Budget by Account]

NSF investments in Research and Related Activities increase by 7.7 percent------Education and Human Resources by 2.5 percent--------MREFC by 26 percent----------and S&E by 14.2 percent. These are resources that NSF needs to keep U.S. science and engineering healthy and vibrant for America's future.

Our focus for 2007 emphasizes four priorities.

[Slide #5: FY 2007 Budget Priorities: Advancing the Frontier]

The first of these--Advancing the frontier--is at the heart of everything NSF does. In a science and technology-based world, to divert our focus from the frontier is to put the nation at peril.

One of NSF's strong points is multidisciplinary integration at the frontier, where disciplinary boundaries blur and knowledge converges. To explore that territory, our strategy must be to keep all fields and disciplines of science and engineering healthy and strong.

Frontier research is NSF's unique task in pursuing the Administration's research priorities within the larger federal research and development effort. Over the years, NSF has advanced the frontier with support for pioneering research that has spawned new concepts and even new disciplines.

The NSF budget provides strong support in fundamental research for activities coordinated by the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC).

[Slide #6: NITRD, Cyber Trust]

NSF is the lead federal agency supporting NSTC's Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) program. The '07 budget includes investments of $904 million in NITRD—an increase of $93 million.

A highlight of the Foundation's contribution to NITRD is a $35 million investment—an increase of $10 million—in Cyber Trust. Cyber Trust supports cutting-edge research to ensure that computers and networks that underlie national infrastructures, as well as in homes and offices, can be relied on to work, even in the face of cyber attacks. It’s part of a larger effort in cybersecurity research, totaling $97 million.

[Slide #7: NNI, NIRTs]

NSF is also the lead in the multi-agency National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI). NSF's '07 investment in NNI is $373 million, an increase of $29 million. Of that total, $65 million will fund Nanoscale interdisciplinary research teams (NIRTs). These awards encourage team approaches to address nanoscale research and education themes, where a collaborative blend of expertise is needed to make significant contributions.

[Slide #8: CCSP]

NSF will invest $205 million—an increase of $8 million—in the interagency Climate Change Science Program. NSF supports a broad portfolio of research activities that provides a comprehensive scientific foundation for understanding climate and climate variability. Climate has a pervasive effect on the U.S. through its impact on natural resources, the economy, and the environment, so this is work of great significance to the nation.

[Slide #9: Homeland Security]

NSF investments in basic research in Homeland Security also increase by $42 million, to $384 million.

Rapid advances in each of these national priorities requires effective collaboration across agencies to make absolutely certain that our progress is effective, and that we deliver results.

[Slide #10: Sensors for the Detection of Explosives]

An important new effort will support a program of fundamental research on new technologies for sensors and sensor systems to improve the detection of explosives, with a particular emphasis on Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).

Unfortunately, we hear about these devices all too often. Fundamental research can play a vital role in helping to stem this threat, and at the same time, advance the entire field of sensor research.

A focal point of this $20 million dollar activity will be improving the sensitivity and fine resolution of sensors to recognize threats earlier than current technologies.

[Slide #11: IPY]

The International Polar Year in 2007 to 2008 will mark the 50th anniversary of the International Geophysical Year. That was a year in which unparalleled exploration of Earth and space led to discoveries in many fields of science—and we hope to emulate that success. The U.S. vision for IPY, articulated by the National Academies, urges the U.S. scientific community and agencies to participate as international leaders in IPY.

The Administration has asked NSF to be the lead agency for U.S. IPY activities. In 2007, we will invest $62 million to address major challenges in polar research. Key research programs include: Observing Environmental Change in the Arctic; Studying Ice Sheet Dynamics and Stability; and Life in the Cold and Dark.

[Slide #12: Elementary Particle Physics]

Recent advances in elementary particle physics strongly suggest that we are on the verge of a revolution in our understanding of the nature of matter, energy, space, and time. NSF will expand its substantial investment in elementary particle physics by $15 million. The opportunities for discovery today are greater than at any point in the last half-century, particularly for the study of dark matter and dark energy, and the physics of the universe.

[Slide #13: Science Metrics]

A new research effort to address policy-relevant Science Metrics is funded initially at $6.8 million, through the Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences Directorate. The goal is to develop the data, tools, and knowledge needed to establish the foundations for an evidence-based science policy. NSF intends to pursue this in close cooperation with other agencies.

[Slide #14: Plant Genome Research]

The Plant Genome Research program, funded at $101 million—an increase of $2.5 million—will continue to provide fundamental breakthroughs in our understanding of plant biology. With an emphasis on plants of economic importance, this research effort, in partnership with the Agriculture Department, can deliver a wealth of new information to improve yields in food crops and to develop novel, plant-based products.

[Slide #15: Broadening Participation in the Science and Engineering Enterprise]

In our efforts to advance the frontier, we also aim to enhance development of the nation's talent pool by integrating research and education. That means providing students with significant research experiences throughout their schooling. The world-class scientists, technologists, engineers, and mathematicians trained in this way can transfer new scientific and engineering concepts from universities directly to the entrepreneurial sector as they enter the workforce. This capability is a strong suit in U.S. competitiveness, and one of NSF's greatest contributions to the nation's innovation system.

As a priority within our overarching educational mandate, NSF will continue to emphasize programs aimed at tapping the potential of those underrepresented in the science and engineering workforce – especially minorities, women, and persons with disabilities. Support for this priority will total over $640 million in '07.


Three highly successful programs form the core of this investment: the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP), the Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP), and the Centers of Research Excellence in Science and Technology (CREST). These programs increase by $16.2 million—or 24 percent.

Broadening participation also applies to institutions. In '07, we will increase efforts to ensure that the U.S. enjoys a strong capability in science and engineering across all regions of the country. NSF will invest $100 million in EPSCoR, the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research.

[Slide #17: Providing World-Class Facilities and Infrastructure]

Providing World-Class Facilities and Infrastructure is our third priority for 2007. NSF has a long-established role in providing state-of-the-art infrastructure to meet major research challenges. Our strategy is to invest in tools that promise significant advances in a field of research and to make them widely available to a broad cross-section of investigators.

[Slide #18: MREFC]

Total funding in the Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction (MRFEC) account is $240.45 million. This investment funds five on-going projects and two new starts.

The two new projects are the feature attractions of our major equipment investment in 2007: the Alaska Region Research Vessel (ARRV) and the Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI). Both projects will help to fulfill the Administration's 2004 U.S. Ocean Action Plan, developed in response to the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy.

[Slide #19: ARRV]

ARRV is a ship that will dramatically improve access to Arctic waters. With an operating year as long as 300 days, this ship could accommodate some five hundred researchers and students annually. A variety of complex regional and global ecosystem and climate studies require a technologically advanced oceanographic platform to conduct field research at the ice edge as well as in ice up to three feet thick.

[Slide #20: OOI]

OOI is an integrated observatory network, distributed among coastal and deep-sea sites that will help advance our understanding of oceanographic and geological features and processes. With these fundamentally new tools for local, regional and global ocean science, researchers and students will have continuous, interactive access to the ocean for the first time.

As our facilities increase in sophistication and capability, so does the amount of data they produce. The sheer volume of information is overwhelming our current computational capacity.

[Slide #21: Cyberinfrastructure]

Cyberinfrastructure is likely to be a key factor in addressing this problem—and also in establishing and continuing global research excellence for many years to come. That makes it a significant NSF priority. In 2007, funding for cyberinfrastructure research and development will reach $597 million—an increase of $77 million, or 15 percent.

NSF will invest $50 million to begin the acquisition of a leadership-class high performance computing system. This will be our first step on the road toward computation and data processing for petascale-level science and engineering. It will be a major milestone in NSF's multi-year plan to provide and support a world-class computing environment that will make the most powerful High Performance Computing assets broadly available to the science and engineering community.

[Slide #22: Bolstering K-12 Education]

I come to the last, but not least, of NSF's four priorities for '07: Bolstering K-12 Education. Today's youngsters face a world of increasing global competition. We depend on the excellence of U.S. schools and universities to provide them with the wherewithal to meet this challenge and to make their own contributions to America's future.

We clearly need to do more to build strong research foundations and foster innovation in K-12 science and mathematics education.

[Slide #23: Three DR-K12 Challenges]

In line with Administration’s focus on this vital national priority, and in partnership with the Department of Education, NSF will invest $104 million in a new effort named Discovery Research K-12 that aims to strengthen K-12 science, technology, engineering and mathematics education. We will refocus our efforts on a vital cluster of research in three well-defined grand challenges:

  • Developing effective science and mathematics assessments for K-12;

  • Improving science teaching and learning in the elementary grades; and

  • Introducing cutting-edge discoveries into K-12 classrooms.

[Slide #24: GK-12]

We will also increase funding for the Graduate Teaching Fellowships in K-12 Education—better known as GK-12—by nearly 10 percent to $56 million, supporting an estimated 1000 graduate fellows. By pairing graduate students and K-12 teachers in the classroom, this program has been particularly successful in encouraging effective partnerships between institutions of higher education and local school districts.

[Slide #25: NSF]

As I said before, at NSF we know what to do with increased funding. But we also recognize the challenge to be vigilant and responsible stewards. NSF is one of three agencies that have been recognized as models of excellence in Grants Management. We intend to continue leading federal momentum toward more robust business practices as we put tax dollars to work for the nation.

I have only been able to scratch the surface with today's investment highlights. With increased funding in this first year of the doubling process, NSF will be able to capitalize on the many areas of emerging promise already on the horizon. We are on the road. Now we need to engage the journey in earnest.

That means generating quality programs year, after year, after year. There is no doubt in my mind that NSF—together with our partners in the science and engineering community and other agencies—can stay on this course.

The President's commitment to doubling the NSF budget will allow NSF to concentrate its vision on the frontier and on the talent needed to keep us there.

The larger rationale for the science and engineering enterprise is always to put knowledge to work—to improve the quality of life and enhance the security and prosperity of every citizen.

NSF is committed to a science and engineering that not only unlocks the mysteries of the universe but that addresses the challenges of America and the world.



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