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What Should NSF Look Like in 2011?

December 19, 2005

One of the most critical federal partners involved either directly or indirectly in determining the success of most state tech-based economic development strategies seeks input from the science and engineering (S&E) community in the development of its next five-year plan.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is one of the federal government's most important resources for encouraging scientific inquiry, technological advancement, innovation and discovery, providing approximately 20 percent of all federal support for basic research conducted by America's colleges and universities. The independent agency also has been responsible for the design and development of programs integral to most state and local tech-based economic development efforts, programs such as EPSCoR, SBIR/STTR, Partnerships for Innovation, and the Engineering Research Centers, to note a few.

NSF is the major federal source for funding for fields such as mathematics, computer science and the social sciences. NSF also is the source for some of the most relevant statistical data TBED practitioners and policymakers use for assessing the health of their communities: industrial and academic R&D expenditures, education and workforce information, the science and engineering indicators, etc.

As the Foundation prepares its Strategic Plan for FY 2006-2011, it is requesting comments from those interested in the future direction of our nation's federally-funded basic research. In particular, NSF requests comments on the following questions:

  • Does NSF’s current Strategic Plan effectively communicate NSF’s roles and responsibilities as part of the S&E community? If not, what is lacking and how can the next plan be improved?
  • What broad characteristics of the near- and long-term environment for S&E research and education should NSF consider and address in its next strategic plan?

Comments are to be submitted by Jan. 20, 2006, through the following website, which provides additional information on the agency's planning process: http://www.nsf.gov/about/performance/input.cfm