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 What is ERE?

ERE Primary Functions

NSF has supported activities associated with environmental research and education for decades, primarily through disciplinary programs. In recent years, program officers have recognized that many exciting research opportunities in this area cut across extant disciplines and have formed interdisciplinary and interorganizational programs in response.

In supporting activities at the interdisciplinary frontiers, NSF has sought to integrate holistic multidisciplinary investments with disciplinary-intensive opportunities. Because of the tremendous opportunity for advances in environmental science and engineering revealed by this integrative approach, NSF considers environmental research and education a strategic priority for the Foundation.

In FY 2001, funding in ERE areas totaled approximately $825 million, roughly one-fifth of NSF's research budget.

Activity Highlights

ERE Growing Knowledge and Know-how

ERE Educational and Outreach Activities

A cornerstone of NSF programs is the integration of research and education. Most research projects have educational components targeted at students and teachers at all levels and the general public. In addition, NSF supports many programs whose central focus is education. Examples of those that have an environmental concentration include the Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship program, the Math and Science Partnership program, the Digital Libraries Initiative, and the Course, Curriculum, and Laboratory Improvement program.

ERE Research Activities

Much of NSF’s support for environmental research is focused on understanding fundamental processes involved in physical, biological, and human system interactions. Examples include research in the areas of ecosystem dynamics, cell function, atmospheric chemistry, biogeochemical cycles, political or economic institutional processes, coastal ocean processes, population biology and physiological ecology, Earth system history; solar influences, and the study of the interactions responsible for the ozone hole. NSF also supports research activities across all scientific and engineering disciplines to address issues related to the preservation, management, and enhancement of the environment. Areas of interest include air and water quality, biodiversity, environmental technology, natural disaster reduction, water and watersheds research, and risk assessment.

The National Science Foundation
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Last Updated: 05/20/2002