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Dr. Colwell's Remarks


Dr. Rita R. Colwell
National Science Foundation
The National Science Foundation's FY 2004 Budget
Investing in the Nation's Future

February 3, 2003

I am pleased to present the National Science Foundation's budget for the coming fiscal year. Our investments are aimed at the frontiers of science and engineering research and education, where advances in fundamental knowledge drive innovation and progress. The surest way to keep our nation prosperous and secure in the 21st century is to keep it at the forefront of learning and discovery.

The NSF budget proposal for FY2004 leaves no doubt that the President embraces NSF's vision and value. NSF-funded research and education will help us meet the economic, social and national security challenges facing us at home and abroad, now and in the future.

This year the National Science Foundation is requesting $5.48 billion, an additional $453 million or 9 percent more than last year's request. NSF investments research and education have been growing steadily.

Producing the finest scientists and engineers in the world and encouraging new ideas to strengthen U.S. leadership across the frontiers of discovery are NSF's principal goals. Tools help to get the job done. NSF puts its money where it counts - 95 percent of NSF funding goes directly to the research and education that keep our knowledge base fresh, our economy humming and the benefits to society flowing.

Our highest priority is maintaining the quality of the U.S. workforce. The FY2004 budget includes $200 million for the Math and Science Partnership program, the centerpiece of the President's No Child Left Behind initiative. This is the third installment of a $1 billion, five-year investment to link local schools with colleges and universities to raise the performance of all U.S. students in mathematics and science, train teachers, and create innovative ways to reach out to underserved students and schools.

To attract more of the most promising students to graduate studies, NSF proposes to raise annual stipends for graduate fellows to $30,000 and increase the number of fellowships. An investment of $8.5 million will fund the development of a 21st Century Workforce focus to attract U.S. students to science and engineering fields and broaden participation in the workforce. An additional investment of $20 million will fund three new Science of Learning Centers to investigate how people learn.

The FY2004 budget includes funding for research and education in six emerging areas that hold exceptional potential to strengthen U.S. world leadership in areas of global economic and social importance.

An investment of $303 million will expand research in high-end computation and large-scale networking, and address the need for safe and dependable information systems. We are also proposing a new $20 million CyberInfrastructure investment to bring next-generation computer and networking capabilities to researchers and educators nationwide.

As the lead agency in the National Nanotechnology Initiative, NSF is requesting $249 million to expand basic research in this revolutionary field. It will focus on new materials and biological systems at the nanoscale to open new possibilities in materials and manufacturing, medicine, environment and energy, and national security.

An investment of $100 million for research and education in Biocomplexity in the Environment will support microbial genome sequencing and the ecology of infectious diseases, areas of vital importance to the nation's anti-terrorism efforts. It will also improve our ability to understand and manage the environment through research that charts the interactions among physical, human, and other living systems.

We propose to invest $90 million in focused research in the mathematical sciences and statistics to advance multidisciplinary science and engineering. This investment will improve our ability to handle the massive data sets produced by today's sensors and observation systems, and to model and manage uncertainty.

Building on previous investments in the social, behavioral and economic sciences, we are requesting $24 million to launch a Human and Social Dynamics priority area that will investigate the impacts of change on our lives and on our institutions. This research will improve our understanding of large-scale change, such as globalization, and of how people make decisions and take risks.

The most significant dollar increase in NSF's FY2004 budget is in tools, with a total investment of $1.34 billion, an increase of $220 million to meet growing needs for small and mid-sized equipment, as well as major construction projects.

Today, our nation faces significant challenges--in security, the economy, the environment and the workforce. The NSF request places special emphasis on broadening the participation of U.S. students in science and engineering. We are also proposing a 12.7 percent increase that will bring total funding in the physical sciences to over $1 billion dollars. This investment will spur the vigorous research in these fields that has helped in the past to power advances in medicine, energy, agriculture, and the environment. As part of the President's multi-agency Climate Change Research Initiative, NSF will support research to reduce uncertainty in climate change knowledge and provide timely information for policy decisions. And finally, basic research will help enhance homeland security in areas such as cyber security and critical infrastructure protection.

In making these critical investments, NSF continues to put a strong emphasis on effective and efficient management. We are proud of our track record.

For more information see also:



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