Dr. Rita R. Colwell
National Science Foundation
NSF 2002 Budget Briefing
April 9, 2001
See also: slide
Good afternoon and welcome to NSF. It's such a beautiful
spring day today. I'm sure all of us can imagine any
number of diversions from cherry blossoms to chocolate
bunnies. Thank you for joining us here at NSF.
As we were gathering today, we were treated to a few
examples of major advances supported by NSF that got
media attention last year. The breadth and scope of
these highlights underscores that progress comes through
a long supportive and nurturing process, which requires
reliable funding over the long-term. It was a great
50th anniversary year for NSF, and I want to thank
you and so many others for supporting these vital
The budget cycle this year has had its share of the
uncertainties that accompany any Presidential transition.
The Administration, to its credit, is determined to
hold the line on discretionary spending. As a result,
agencies across the government are facing tight constraints.
We at NSF consider ourselves fortunate this cycle.
Several agencies, which appear to be less fortunate,
look with envy on our budget request, and we look
forward to working with the Congress as the process
NSF's FY 2002 proposed
(Use "back" to return to the text.)
Let me first lay out the big picture of what's being
proposed for FY 2002.
NSF is requesting a total of $4.47 billion--that's
$56 million more, or a 1.3% increase, above FY 2001.
NSF budget request
Funding levels for each of NSF's appropriation accounts
at the FY 2002 Request and FY 2001 Current Plan levels
are shown in this chart.
The highlight is the Education and Human Resources
(EHR) appropriation, which receives an 11% increase.
We have also been able to provide solid increases for
administrative accounts which is very important.
The research account will basically maintain its current
level of support, and the Major Research Equipment
account will drop by one-fifth.
Let me put these numbers in a different context.
The FY 2002 Budget Request reflects the strength of
the Foundation--a broad base of research and education
activities that provides the nation with the People,
the Ideas, and the Tools needed to fuel innovation
and economic growth.
We see here these three goals identified in the NSF
FY 2002 budget request
People are NSF's most important resource. They represent
both the focus of our investments and the most important
products of them. Support for programs specifically
addressing NSF's Strategic Goal of People totals more
than $1 billion in FY 2002.
And in addition, about 40% of the funding for research
grants--an amount approaching $900 million in FY 2002
-- provides support for researchers and students,
making up about 60,000 post doctorates, trainees,
graduate, and undergraduate students.
People generate the ideas that are the currency of
the new knowledge-based economy. Tools enable scientific
discovery, and they provide access to unique educational
opportunities. They also open new opportunities for
innovative applications well beyond basic research.
Advances in information technology are a particularly
striking example of this.
NSF budget request
by strategic goal
These three goals work in concert. They reinforce each
other in ways that boost U.S. leadership in all aspects
of science and engineering research and education.
You'll see these goals highlighted throughout the budget
documents. The different categories tell a fuller
and better story than the appropriations accounts.
Investments in people are up 13 percent. We cover kindergarten
to career development. This investment encompasses
much of our Education and Human Resources Directorate,
as well as, many activities funded right across the
NSF supports about 200,000 people -- teachers, students,
researchers, postdocs, and others.
No Child Left Behind
Now, let's look at the highlights. We are particularly
pleased that the President's budget has designated
NSF to lead the Math and Science Partnerships element
of the No Child Left Behind education initiative.
At the center of the FY 2002 request is an initial
$200 million of $1 billion over 5 years which will
be used to improve K-12 education through partnerships.
NSF will provide funds for states and local school
districts to join with institutions of higher education--mathematics,
science, and engineering departments of local colleges
and universities--to strengthen K-12 math and science
This investment will help ensure that all K-12 students
have the opportunity to perform to high standards.
We'll support the direction of the President's education
initiative by addressing teacher quality; math and
science curricula and textbooks; enrollment numbers
in advanced science and math courses; and assessment.
No Child Left Behind
We anticipate two major categories of partnership activities:
infrastructure and action. Each requires the establishment
or strengthening of partnerships, plans for improving
math and science education, and, very importantly,
Infrastructure partnerships will provide frameworks
for states to partner with institutions of higher
education to gauge their current status with respect
to math and science education. Infrastructure activities
are expected to be broad in scope and aim at state-specific
issues, such as, teacher training and certification,
data generating capabilities, or aligning assessments
to high standards.
Action partnerships are more regionally focused so
that reform efforts in math and science education
are closely tailored to local needs and realities.
The second key opportunity addresses something that
is long overdue: graduate student stipends.
The FY 2002 Budget provides $8 million to increase
stipends for the Graduate Research Fellowships, the
Graduate Teaching Fellowships in K-12 Education, and
the Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship
programs. Stipends will increase from $18,000 to $20,500
for academic year 2002-2003.
This increase is extremely important. According to
an NSF survey of recent S&E bachelor's recipients,
more than one-third stated that they were not pursuing
graduate studies because of financial reasons.
We must work to ensure adequate numbers of students
willing and able to enter graduate S&E programs. Although
graduate student enrollment in U.S. science and engineering
programs increased in 1999 after 5 consecutive annual
decreases, students with temporary visas accounted
for nearly the entire increase. Efforts to boost the
number of skilled U.S. workers must continue.
Currently, the average stipend level for graduate students
in science and engineering disciplines is about half
the average wage for bachelor's degree recipients.
This increase is a very important step to address the
income disparity. It's also a very positive step toward
our goal of $25,000 annual stipends.
A centerpiece of NSF's core investments in FY 2002
is the Interdisciplinary Mathematics program funded
at $20 million.
Mathematics is a powerful tool for insight. It's a
common language for science and engineering. This
emphasis on the mathematical sciences recognizes its
increasingly critical role in advancing interdisciplinary
research. It will bring cutting-edge mathematics to
problems in the physical, biological, and social sciences.
Some examples include studies of brain function, communication
networks, modern economic behaviors, and the prediction
of major weather events, such as tornadoes or hurricanes.
In addition to investments in core research and education,
NSF identifies and supports emerging opportunities
in priority areas that hold exceptional promise to
advance knowledge. The FY 2002 Budget emphasizes four
priority areas - Biocomplexity in the Environment,
Information Technology Research, Nanoscale Science
and Engineering, and Learning for the 21st Century.
The FY 2002 budget request builds on past investments
in our Biocomplexity in the Environment portfolio.
Computational and information technologies, real time
sensing techniques, and genomics are providing insight
into the interactions among ecological, social, and
physical earth systems.
For example, recently investigators have been studying
contaminant flux of the lower Mississippi River, dynamics
of an invasive non-native species on the Pacific Coast,
and marine mammal abundance in the western Arctic
Developing new research instruments and software that
advance cross-disciplinary studies in the environment
will continue to improve our understanding of the
planet and its systems.
The Information Technology Research budget request
expands fundamental research in another multidisciplinary
This investment allows us to explore ways of making
large-scale networking, software, and systems more
reliable, stable, and secure. This will permit diverse
applications from telemedicine, to interactive education,
to the remote operation of experimental apparatus--such
as the telescope at the South Pole.
Other research will improve our understanding of human-computer
interactions and investigate the impact of IT on our
society, on our economy, and on our educational system.
Because the information technology sector has contributed
significantly to recent U.S. economic growth, these
investments have to remain a top priority.
In nanoscale science and engineering--colloquially
known as nanotechnology--activities range from investigation
of biologically based systems that exhibit novel properties
to the study of nanoscale control of the structure
and composition of new materials.
Fundamental research programs will investigate biosystems
at the nanoscale--such as nanoscale sensors to detect
cancer. Research will focus on system architectures,
nanoscale processes in the environment--for instance,
the trapping and release of contaminants--multi-scale
modeling, and large-scale computer simulation of processes
at the molecular or atomic level.
Grand challenges include major long-term research objectives
in nanoscale electronics, nano-based manufacturing,
and nanostructured materials by design.
The research will also look into the potential impact
of nanotech on society, which some claim will be extraordinary.
Learning for the
Learning for the 21st Century addresses two interrelated
challenges: understanding how we learn; and transferring
that knowledge for use in collective learning environments.
This research will expand our fundamental knowledge
about learning and teaching.
Research, development, and testing of educational tools
incorporating information technology will give us
a much better understanding of how they can be used
effectively in the classroom.
We will make investments in Centers for Learning and
Teaching. These link K-12 and higher education. They
allow opportunities for teachers to gain new skills
in the use of information technology in education,
new knowledge in science and mathematics, and--most
importantly--allow them to integrate these with new
research on learning.
Applications of research results will increase opportunities
for higher achievement and, ultimately, produce a
workforce able to meet the challenges of rapid scientific
and technological change.
Other FY 2002 highlights
Let's bring this overview to a close by sharing some
other exciting highlights.
The Children's Research Initiative, which studies children,
learning, and the influence of families and communities
on child development, will stay at $5 million.
Funding for the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive
Research, or EPSCoR--which enables researchers to
participate more fully in NSF research activities--will
total nearly $100 million. This includes about $75
million provided through the EHR appropriation and
another $25 million provided through NSF's Research
and Related Activities account.
As provided in recent legislation to strengthen the
technology workforce, approximately $144 million is
anticipated to be received from H1-B nonimmigrant
fees. These funds support Computer Science, Engineering
and Mathematics (CSEM) Scholarships and Private-Public
Partnerships in K-12.
The FY 2002 budget provides about $65 million to support
ongoing research on the genomics of plants that have
major economic importance. The long-term goal of this
program is to understand the structure, organization,
and function of plant genomes that are very important
to agriculture, the environment, and health.
Other FY 2002 highlights
Along that same line, the 2010 project will support
research to determine the functions of the 20,000
to 25,000 genes in the recently sequenced Arabidopsis
On another front, the FY 2002 budget provides about
$26 million to initiate a new cohort of Science and
Technology Centers in areas that span the range of
disciplines supported by NSF.
The budget request also includes $26 million for the
GK-12 program. That will put a lot of graduate students
in K-12 classrooms to learn the art of teaching. They
share their research with younger students and serve
as role models that are so important, especially in
In the management arena with the aim of further increasing
efficiency, NSF will evaluate the need for management
reforms in several areas, including grant size and
duration and large facilities management.
Major research equipment
And finally, the Major Research Equipment account for
FY 2002 will fund three continuing projects:
First, the Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation,
which is now the George E. Brown Jr. Network for Earthquake
Engineering Simulation. This is a national collaboration
of approximately 20 geographically-distributed, shared-use
experimental research equipment sites.
We will also continue funding the Large Hadron Collider,
the internationally funded collaboration at CERN.
This superconducting particle accelerator will advance
our fundamental understanding of matter.
Additionally, funding will support infrastructure to
allow access to terascale computing systems. This
will enable all researchers and engineers access to
leading-edge computing capabilities.
Well, I think it's clear that NSF is a wellspring of
discovery and learning at the frontiers. We know from
past activities that funding should cover a broad-base
of disciplines to make sure we have excellence in
everything we fund. It should open the potential for
every field to be connected and to contribute. Science
and engineering today are integrated and answer each
other's questions, and inspire future generations.
In order for the nation to be able to use new knowledge
for economic and social progress, we have to make
a national commitment to support these efforts. In
the current fiscal climate, this budget lays the foundation
for sustained increases over the long term while also
providing opportunities in all fields of science and
This budget offers challenges to the entire scientific
and engineering community. We have a responsibility
to convince the public, the Congress, and the new
Administration that long-term investments in science
and engineering make our economy stronger and our
lives easier and more rewarding.
As we work more efficiently within budget constraints,
we definitely can plan for the future--ensuring a
steady stream of investments. Working together, we
can set the stage for increased investments over the
long haul. Thank you again for joining us at NSF today.
Note: For additional information about the NSF FY02
Budget Request, see the budget