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National Science Foundation Overview. Agenda Our Legacy: About NSF Our Work: Programs & The Merit Review Process Our Opportunities: Working at the NSF.

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Presentation on theme: "National Science Foundation Overview. Agenda Our Legacy: About NSF Our Work: Programs & The Merit Review Process Our Opportunities: Working at the NSF."— Presentation transcript:

1 National Science Foundation Overview

2 Agenda Our Legacy: About NSF Our Work: Programs & The Merit Review Process Our Opportunities: Working at the NSF

3 Our Legacy: About NSF

4 NSF Vision (2011) NSF envisions a nation that capitalizes on new concepts in science and engineering and provides global leadership in advancing research and education. NSF-3 NSF Mission (1950) To promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity and welfare; to secure the national defense.

5 Legislation authorizes us to … Evaluate the status and needs of the various sciences and engineering and take into consideration the results of this evaluation in correlating our research and educational programs with other federal and non-federal programs. Provide a central clearinghouse for the collection, interpretation and analysis of data on scientific and technical resources in the United States, and provide a source of information for policy formulation by other federal agencies. Determine the total amount of federal money received by universities and appropriate organizations for the conduct of scientific and engineering research, including both basic and applied, and construction of facilities where such research is conducted, but excluding development, and report annually thereon to the President and the Congress.

6 Legislation authorizes us to … Provide information for policy formulation by other federal agencies Recommend the pursuit of policies for the promotion of basic S&E research and education innovation throughout the US Report to the President and Congress the total amount of federal money received by universities and other organizations Initiate S&E activities related to international cooperation, national security and the effects of scientific and technological applications upon society Support activities to increase the participation of women and minorities and others underrepresented in science and technology. Initiate and support specific scientific and engineering activities in connection with matters relating to international cooperation, national security and the effects of scientific and technological applications upon society.

7 Legislation authorizes us to … Initiate and support scientific and engineering research, including applied research, at academic and other nonprofit institutions and, at the direction of the President, support applied research at other organizations. Recommend and encourage the pursuit of national policies for the promotion of basic research and education in the sciences and engineering. Strengthen research and education innovation in the sciences and engineering, including independent research by individuals, throughout the United States. Support activities designed to increase the participation of women and minorities and others underrepresented in science and technology.

8 With an annual budget of about $7 billion, NSF funds approximately 25 % of all federally supported basic research conducted by U.S. colleges and universities. NSF Support for Basic Research at Academic Institutions: Share of Total Federal Support

9 NSF’s Strategic Goals Innovate for Society, linking with societal needs, and impacting economic and societal welfare. Perform as a Model Organization, attaining excellence and inclusion in all operational aspects. Transform the Frontiers, seamlessly integrating research and education, coupling research infrastructure and discovery.

10 Mathematical & Physical Sciences (MPS) Geosciences (GEO) Engineering (ENG) Computer & Information Science & Engineering (CISE) Biological Sciences (BIO) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) Director Deputy Director National Science Board (NSB) Office of Cyberinfrastructure Office of Diversity & Inclusion Office of the General Counsel Office of Integrative Activities Office of International Science & Engineering Office of Legislative & Public Affairs Office of Polar Programs Social, Behavioral & Economic Sciences (SBE) Education & Human Resources (EHR) Budget, Finance & Award Management (BFA) Information & Resource Management (IRM) NSF Organizational Chart

11 NSF Workforce Consists of approximately – 1,450 Federal employees (includes staff of the National Science Board Office and the Office of the Inspector General); – 200 Non-Federal Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) assignees coming from research institutions; – 450 contract workers. Unlike other science agencies, NSF does not maintain its own research laboratories.

12 Our Work: Programs & The Merit Review Process

13 13 What is a Program? A well-defined grant-giving function, usually with a well- defined budget Usually means an individual investigator grant program, but could also refer to a facilities program (e.g., National Radio Astronomy Observatory), a center program or fellowship program for students. Programs are the implementation arm of NSF.

14 What is NSF’s Merit Review Process? The review process ensures that proposals submitted to NSF are reviewed in a fair, transparent, and in-depth manner NSF proposals receive an external review by experts; Program Officers make funding recommendations based on the input received from reviewers. NSF receives approximately 42,000 proposals each year for research, education and training projects, of which approximately 10,000 are funded.

15 Program Directors oversee the National Science Foundation’s “gold standard” merit review process. Program directors have the opportunity to be involved with a broad spectrum of national scientific programs and initiatives that ultimately increase intellectual awareness and enhance professional growth. What do Program Directors do?

16 NSF Merit Review Process

17 Proposal Review Criterion: Intellectual Merit Advance knowledge & understanding Well thought-out Principal Investigator qualifications Access to resources Creative or original Potentially transformative

18 Proposal Review Criterion: Broader Impacts Advancement of discovery and understanding while promoting teaching, training, and learning Broaden participation of underrepresented groups Enhancement of infrastructure for research and education Dissemination of results to enhance scientific and technological understanding Benefits to society Mentoring Activities for Postdoctoral Researchers

19 Integration of Research and Education Integrating Diversity into NSF Programs, Projects, and Activities Postdoc Mentoring Plan Data Management Plan Additional Considerations That Apply to All Proposals

20 Established Spring 2010, charged with “examining the two Merit Review Criteria and their effectiveness in achieving the goals for NSF support for science and engineering research and education” Focusing on: –How criteria are being interpreted and used by PIs, reviewers, and NSF staff –Strengths and weaknesses of criteria –Impact of criteria on how PIs develop projects –Role of the institution NSB Task Force on Merit Review

21 NSB Report on Merit Review Criteria: Overall Findings The Intellectual Merit and Broader Impacts review criteria together capture the important elements that should guide the evaluation of NSF proposals. Revisions to the descriptions of the Broader Impacts criterion and how it is implemented are needed. Use of the review criteria should be informed by a guiding set of core principles.

22 NSB approved report in December 2011 and published in January 2012: eritreviewcriteria.pdf eritreviewcriteria.pdf NSF Working Group is developing policies and internal and external implementation plans Revised criteria and principles will be published in the Proposal & Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG) Implementation and Next Steps

23 Working at NSF

24 Program Appointment Types Excepted Service (Temporary or Permanent) Intergovernmental Personnel Act Assignments (IPAs) Visiting Scientists, Engineers and Educators (VSEEs)

25 Science and Engineering Onboard Counts

26 To apply for scientific and professional positions at NSF Go to – Click on “Career Opportunities” – Scroll down to “Current Vacancies” and click on “Scientific and Professional” – Select your Directorate of Choice from the dropdown menu and open your desired position. – Program Directors may be appointed on a Federal Permanent or Federal Temporary basis, through the Visiting Scientist, Engineer, and Educator (VSEE) program or under the provisions of the Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA). Contact the relevant NSF program office Contact the Division of Human Resource Management Check For more information about rotator opportunities at NSF, please visit


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