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Report to the National Science Board on the National Science Foundation's Merit Review Process, Fiscal Year 2005
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nsb0621 Document Number: nsb0621
Author: National Science Board
Published: March, 2006
Keywords: Annual Report, Merit Review Process, Funding review, National Science Board, Award, Grant, 2005, Exploratory Research, Budget
Available Formats: PDF
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Abstract
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The National Science Foundation Act of 1950 directs the Foundation "to initiate and support basic scientific research and programs to strengthen scientific research potential and science education programs at all levels." NSF achieves its unique mission by making merit-based awards to researchers, educators, and students at approximately 1,700 U.S. colleges, universities and other institutions. Over 96 percent of NSF's awards are selected through its competitive merit review process, combining external and internal evaluation. The merit review system is at the very heart of NSF's selection of the projects through which its mission is achieved.


Executive Summary
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The National Science Foundation Act of 1950 directs the Foundation "to initiate and support basic scientific research and programs to strengthen scientific research potential and science education programs at all levels." NSF achieves its unique mission by making merit-based awards to researchers, educators, and students at approximately 1,700 U.S. colleges, universities and other institutions. In Fiscal Year (FY) 2005, NSF awards directly involved an estimated 195,000 people, including senior researchers, post-doctoral associates, teachers, and students from kindergarten through graduate school.

This year NSF made nearly 10,000 new awards from more than 40,000 competitive proposals submitted. Over 96 percent of NSF's awards are selected through its competitive merit review process, combining external and internal evaluation. All proposals for research and education projects are evaluated using two criteria: the intellectual merit of the proposed activity and its broader impacts, such as impacts on teaching and learning. Reviewers also consider how well the proposed activity fosters the integration of research and education and broadens opportunities to include a diversity of participants, particularly from underrepresented groups. The merit review system is at the very heart of NSF's selection of the projects through which its mission is achieved.

This FY 2005 Report on the NSF Merit Review System responds to a National Science Board (NSB) policy endorsed in 1977 and amended in 1984, requesting that the NSF Director submit an annual report on the NSF proposal review system. The report provides summary information about proposal and award activity and the process by which proposals are reviewed and awarded. Section 3 of this year's report describes NSF's response to the recommendations of the Board's September 2005 report on NSF's merit review processes.


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