FYI: The AIP Bulletin of Science Policy News

FY 2013 National Science Foundation Budget Request

Aline D. McNaull
Number 23 - February 15, 2012  |  Search FYI  |   FYI Archives  |   Subscribe to FYI

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“Collaboration with our scientific community partners not only advances science and engineering knowledge, but also furthers policy making and understanding of our shared objectives.” – Director Subra Suresh

National Science Foundation (NSF) Director Subra Suresh delivered positive news for the FY 2013 budget request on Monday.

Suresh announced:

 “I have good news to report today.  NSF has fared very well in the President’s budget request.  But before I give you the numbers, I would like to comment on why good news for NSF is good news for America and for science everywhere.  In times of constrained budgets, we need to be crystal clear about why NSF matters, we need to be crystal clear about why it matters especially now.  In today’s changing economic landscape, science and technology are the new frontiers of American prosperity.  The Nation’s wellbeing and global competitiveness depend, more than ever before, on the steady stream of new ideas and the highly skilled STEM talent that the National Science Foundation supports.  The Nation particularly needs the diversity and excellence of the young researchers that NSF so skillfully nurtures.  The globalization of science and engineering has not only led to healthy competition for ideas but also stiff competition for science and engineering talent and for leadership in turning knowledge into technologies and benefits for society.  For the last half century, the US has held a commanding position in all three areas.  Our universities rank among the best in the world.  Our scientists and engineers have led the world in discovery and innovation.  Our entrepreneurial spirit and know-how has created a vibrant private sector and good jobs.” 

Suresh continued:

“The NSF budget request moves America forward by connecting the science and engineering enterprise with benefits for Americans in areas critical to job creation and growing economy at a higher standard of living.” 

OneNSF is the comprehensive vision for NSF.  It operates with the science and engineering community and empowers the Foundation to respond to new challenges in the global environment, leverage resources and opportunities for maximum impact, and provide leadership to establish innovative practices, programs, and paradigms that advance scientific knowledge and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education.  In FY 2013 OneNSF will encompase a set of investments that create a new knowledge, stimulate discovery, address societal problems and promote national prosperities. 

The priorities for OneNSF in the FY 2013 budget request are:

Cyber-enabled Materials, Manufacturing and Smart Systems (CEMMSS): $257 million
Cyberinfrastructure Framework for 21st Century Science and Engineering (CIF21): $106 million
Expeditions in Education (E2): $49 million
NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps): $19 million
Integrated NSF Support Promoting Interdisciplinary Research and Education (INSPIRE): $63 million
Science, Engineering, and Education for Sustainability (SEES): $203 million
Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace (SaTC): $110 million

Total National Science Foundation
The total request is $7,373 million which is an increase of $340 million or 4.8% over the FY 2012 enacted budget.

There are six budget accounts within the NSF:

Research and Related Activities
The FY 2013 budget request is $5,983.3 million which is up $294.3 million or 5.2 percent.

Within Research and Related Activities are the following selected Directorates:

Engineering:  Up 6.1 percent or 50.2 million from $826.2 million to $876.3 million
Geosciences:  Up 2.4 percent or $21.2 million from $885.3 million to $906.4 million
Mathematical and Physical Sciences:  Up 2.8 percent or $36.2 million from $1,308.9 million to $1,345.2 million

Within this Directorate are six Subactivities, including:

  • Astronomical Sciences:  Up 4.3 percent or $10.0 million from $234.6 million to $244.6 million
  • Materials Research:  Up 2.7 percent or $8.1 million  from $294.6 million to $302.6 million
  • Physics:  Up 1.0 percent or $2.7 million from $277.4 million to $280.1 million
  • Mathematical Sciences:  Up 3.0 percent or $7.2 million from $237.4 million to $245.0 million


Education and Human Resources
The FY 2013 budget request is $875.6 million which is up $46.6 million or 5.6 percent.

Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction (MREFC)
The FY 2013 budget request is $196.2 million which is down $0.89 million or 0.4 percent.

In FY 2013, NSF requests funding to continue construction of four projects: Advanced LIGO (AdvLIGO), Advanced Technology Solar Telescope (ATST), Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI), and the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON).  No additional funding is required in FY 2013 for Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA).

Agency Operations and Award Management
The FY 2013 budget request is $299.4 million which is equal to the FY 2012 budget estimate.

National Science Board
The FY 2013 budget request is $4.4 million which is equal to the FY 2012 budget estimate.

Office of Inspector General
The FY 2013 budget request is $14.2 million which is equal to the FY 2012 budget estimate.

Other NSF FY 2013 Investment Highlights include

  • Core Fundamental Research Grant Programs: $3.2 billion
  • Advanced Manufacturing: $149 million
  • Science and Technology Centers: $74 million
  • Enhancing Access to the Radio Spectrum (EARS): $51 million
  • Research at the Interface of the Biological, Mathematical, and Physical Sciences (BioMaPS): $30 million
  • STEM Education
    • K-16 Math Education: $30 million
    • Widening Implementation and Demonstration of Evidence-based Reforms (WIDER) program: $20 million


NSF has set three priority goals for accomplishment in FY 2012 an FY 2013: access to digital products of NSF-funded research, undergraduate programs, and the Innovation Corps program which tests the commercial viability of entrepreneurs emerging from university laboratories.

For more information on the FY 2013 NSF budget request, visit the website.

Aline D. McNaull
Government Relations Division
American Institute of Physics