Dr. Rita R. Colwell
National Science Foundation
Remarks to HRD Diversity Focused Programs PI/PD Meeting
March 25, 2002
Good morning. I am pleased to join you to talk collectively
about strategies to increase the diversity in the
I'll begin by saying that investments in this year's
Budget Request are key to developing our nation's
STEM talent and to increasing the productivity of
Our FY 2003 Budget Request is $5.036 billion, which
represents a 5 percent increase, or $240 million more
than in FY 2002.
- The budget includes a second
installment of $200 million for the President's
five year Math and Science Partnership program
to link local schools with colleges and universities
to improve preK-12 math and science education,
train teachers, and create innovative ways to
reach out to underserved students and schools.
- In order to attract more of the nation's
most promising students into graduate level science
and engineering, we are requesting an investment
of approximately $37 million to increase annual
stipends for graduate fellows to $25,000.
- NSF's Learning for the 21st Century
Workforce is another priority area. A key centerpiece
will fund three to four new multi-disciplinary,
multi-institutional, Science of Learning Centers
to enhance our understanding of human learning
and use information technology to promote learning.
This will enable us to explore how educational
institutions foster or inhibit learning, and eventually
allow us to develop more effective strategies
to prepare our workforce.
Also, we know that new discoveries will lead to new
and emerging fields. So the focus of our programs
must also be to prepare our students to adapt to change
and to work across disciplines. They must be able
to take the tools of their disciplines and expand
them outwards to new endeavors and cross-boundary
We must not only see increasing diversity in terms
of increasing the number of women and minorities into
the STEM fields, but also recognize the unique and
differing perspectives it brings.
The increasing complexity of science and engineering
issues demands that differing perspectives be at the
table where issues are defined and solutions rendered.
What better way to effect global leadership than by
capitalizing on our nation's extraordinary diversity!
This meeting provides a special opportunity to address
a broad spectrum of colleagues that represent individual
and collective strategies designed to significantly
impact critical points along the pathway to STEM careers.
The partnerships that are represented have an impressive
history of stimulating change and progress; and the
prospect of enhanced partnerships across program lines
holds the promise of unprecedented success in broadening
participation of underrepresented groups at all levels
The creation of more effective lines of communication
among institutions funded through HRD programs can
lead to a degree of general synergy that, in turn,
can be focused on areas of individual institutional
need. The opportunities for programmatic cross-fertilization
and adaptation and implementation of successful strategies
Programs such as those represented in this forum are
critical to NSF's continuing efforts to attract and
retain members of underrepresented groups in the science
and engineering enterprise.
This meeting represents a big step in the direction
of extending the scope and sharpening the direction
of some of NSF's most innovative, committed, and effective
efforts to broaden participation in America's science
and engineering enterprise.