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Dr. Colwell's Remarks


Dr. Rita R. Colwell
National Science Foundation
President's FY 2005 Budget Request for the National Science Foundation

February 2, 2004

I am pleased to present the National Science Foundation's budget for the coming fiscal year. For over 50 years, NSF stewardship of U.S. science and engineering research and education has built a solid record of achievement in learning, discovery and innovation at the frontier of knowledge.

Knowledge is a powerful path to progress in the lives of people and nations. The surest way to keep our nation prosperous and secure is to keep it at the forefront of learning and discovery. That is NSF's business-to educate and train scientists and engineers, advance fundamental research and engineering, and provide the tools to accomplish both.

This year the National Science Foundation is requesting $5.745 billion dollars, an increase of $167 million, or 3 percent above the FY 2004 budget estimate. In light of the significant challenges that face the nation-in security, defense, and the economy-this increase is a tribute to the extraordinary performance of the 200,000-plus students, teachers and researchers who are directly supported by NSF each year, and a vote of confidence for the National Science Foundation's performance.

Thanks to strong support for NSF's vision and mission in the Administration and Congress, the NSF budget has grown steadily-by 62 percent between FY 1998 and FY 2004. The NSF Authorization Act, signed by the President in December 2002, endorses substantial increases through FY 2008.

This year, we have had to make informed choices in a sea of mixed opportunity and constraint. NSF's budget priorities for FY 2005 are strengthening NSF's ability to administer a growing number of awards, advancing the productivity of researchers and expanding opportunities for students, and improving science and engineering infrastructure. Targeted investments in each of NSF's four strategic areas will promote these objectives and advance the progress of science and engineering.

Organizational Excellence (OE). We manage and operate NSF with an eye for excellence and a head for figures. It is central to NSF's mission to provide effective stewardship of public funds, to realize maximum benefits at minimum cost, and to ensure public trust in the quality of the process. In FY 2005 we are investing $76 million dollars to ensure that we can continue to make productive investments wisely and efficiently, and perform even better in the future. This represents an increase in the share of OE from 5 percent to 6 percent of the total NSF budget. That means that 94 percent of NSF funding goes directly to the research and education that underpins the nation's economic and social prosperity.

For twenty years NSF staffing has remained level, even as NSF's total budget and workload have grown significantly, and the work has become more complex. Our increasing responsibilities to meet management responsibilities, such as the President's Management Agenda (PMA), add force to this rationale. The OE investment will significantly streamline and update NSF operations and management through the application of cutting edge business tools, and improve cyber and building security.

People. To capture the young talent so vital for the next generation of discovery, we will increase the number of fellowships from 5,000 to 5,500 for NSF's prestigious graduate education programs: the Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeships (IGERT), Graduate Research Fellowships (GRF), and Graduate Teaching Fellows in K-12 Education (GK-12). NSF has supported 39,000 fellows since our founding in 1950.

Ideas. Ideas provide the intellectual capital and fundamental knowledge that drive technological innovation, spur economic growth, and increase national security and welfare. NSF is requesting a total of $2.8 billion in FY 2005 for Ideas.

We propose increasing average award size by $3,000 to raise the productivity of U.S. science and engineering. This investment will bring the average annual award to $142,00, a 71 percent increase over the past 6 years.

NSF's diverse Centers Programs bring people, ideas, and tools together on scales that are large enough to have a significant impact on important science and engineering challenges. This year, the request for NSF's Centers Programs is $457 million, an increase of $44 million. This includes $30 million for a new cohort of six Science and Technology Centers, and $20 million to continue support for Science of Learning Centers. $15 million will fund two new nanotechnology centers, two or three centers that advance fundamental knowledge about Environmental Social and Behavioral Science, three Information Technology Centers, additional funding for the NSF Long Term Ecological Research network, and a number of mathematical and physical science centers.

To provide American scientists and engineers with opportunities to engage with the world's top researchers, to lead major international collaborations, and to have access to the best research facilities throughout the world, we are requesting $34 million, an increase of $6 million, for the activities of the Office of International Science and Engineering.

The FY 2005 request includes funding for research and education in five emerging areas of research that hold exceptional potential to advance knowledge in areas of global economic and social importance: Biocomplexity in the Environment, Human and Social Dynamics, Mathematical Sciences, Nanoscale Science and Engineering, and Workforce for the 21st Century. As the lead agency for the government-wide National Nanotechnology Initiative, NSF is requesting $305 million for the nano priority area, an increase of nearly $52 million, or 15 percent. $20 million will initiate Workforce for the 21st Century, an innovative effort to integrate NSF's investments in education at all levels, attract more U.S. students to science and engineering fields, and broaden participation. This year NSF will also initiate an Innovation Fund at $5 million to respond quickly to rapidly emerging activities at the frontiers of learning and discovery.

Tools. We propose $1.47 billion, an increase of $104 million over the FY 2004 estimate, to provide researchers and students with access to cutting-edge tools to tackle today's complex and radically different research tasks. Nearly $400 million will support the expansion of state-of-the-art cyberinfrastructure to provide broad access to moderate-cost computation, storage, analysis, visualization and communication. An additional $213 million investment in Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction will support three continuing projects, and launch three new ones: the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON), the Scientific Ocean Drilling Vessel (SODV), and Rare Symmetry Violating Processes (RSVP).

The nation faces challenges, and NSF proposes research to addresses many of them. Our request continues to fund research to enhance homeland security in areas such as cyber security and critical infrastructure protection, reduce uncertainty in climate change knowledge, and advance genome sequencing of plants of economic importance and of microorganisms.

For more information see also:



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