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NSF Proposed Budget for FY 2013 Notes

February 15, 2012

Here are our takeaways from the OSTP STEM Budget Briefing from Monday on the Budget Proposal for NSF.


NSF’s Proposed FY 2013 Budget: $7.4 Billion (up 4.8% or an increase of $340 million from FY 2012):

The increase in the White House’s proposed budget for NSF reflects an initiative to conduct fundamental research and fund educational programs in the areas of clean energy, advanced manufacturing, wireless communications, and new and emerging technologies. Here are some highlights of NSF’s Budget Proposals for FY 2013:

  • $203 million to The Science, Engineering, and Education for Sustainability (SEES) Portfolio for research activities on renewable energy
  • $257 million for Advanced Manufacturing research on new materials, smart systems, advanced manufacturing and robotics technologies
  • $196 million to continue construction on the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, Ocean Observatories Initiative, National Ecological Observatory Network, and the Advanced Technology Solar Telescope
  • $110 million for Cybersecurity research and education
  • $106 million for Cyberinfrastructure Framework for 21st Century Science and Engineering initiative
  • $30 million for interdisciplinary research on the Bio-economy (interface of biology, math, physical sciences, and engineering)
  • $19 million for the NSF Innovation Corps, which will fund a national innovation “ecosystem


In terms of educational programs, perhaps the highlight of NSF’s investments in education is a new initiative to close the achievement gap in math during the transition from high school to college. One of the findings from OSTP for why students planning to major in a STEM field are discouraged from doing so is because the difficulty of introductory courses, particularly in math courses, is too high.  Therefore, NSF will fund $30 million for a K-16 mathematics teaching and learning initiative in partnership with the Department of Education. Other educational highlights in the budget include:

  • $20 million for the Widening Implementation and Demonstration of Evidence-Based Reforms program, which is a “scale-up” project for improving STEM education, instruction, and curriculum  through programs that have been proven to be successful
  • $61 million for the Transforming Undergraduate Education in STEM Program
  • $49 million for the new Expeditions in Education program, which aims to bring exciting science content and applications to new learners


One of the more interesting graphs NSF Director Subra Suresh showed at the OSTP Budget Briefing was on the percentages of all basic scientific research NSF funds at academic institutions:

NSF’s % of all basic research at academic institutions Field of Study
80.00% Computer Science
64.00% Biology
64.00% Mathematics
61.00% Social Sciences
59.00% Environmental Sciences
48.00% Physical Sciences
39.00% Engineering
22.00% All sciences and engineering


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