France Córdova, the director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) in Arlington, Virginia, has unveiled a research agenda intended to shape the agency’s next few decades and win over the next U.S. president and Congress.
(From Science Magazine / by Jeffery Mervis)– The nine big ideas illustrate how increased support for the type of basic research that NSF funds could help answer pressing societal problems, she says, ranging from how humans interact with technology to how climate change in the polar regions will impact the global economy, environment, and culture. (Click here for a one-page description of each idea.) It’s unusual for a federal agency to talk publicly about its long-range budget plans, Córdova acknowledges. But she is betting that touting the agency’s capabilities during an election year will pay dividends after voters have chosen a successor to President Barack Obama.
“This comes at a time of transition,” she told the National Science Board, NSF’s oversight body, on 6 May. “So that makes it a great opportunity for NSF to present a menu of the things it can do.” And NSF’s current budget of $7.46 billion is insufficient to tackle these questions, Córdova told Science after the meeting. “We can’t do any of these things without future investments. So yes, we need an infusion of money.”
But the federal government isn’t the only possible source of funding, she added. “We either need to get that investment from new dollars appropriated by Congress, or hope to get on the agenda of one or more of the candidates during the campaign, or spark the imagination of groups in the private sector, including industry and foundations.”
Córdova is counting on rank-and-file scientists to help sell the initiative by submitting more grant proposals that don’t fit traditional categories or are especially ambitious. “We want people to think about what’s missing, and how they would fill those gaps,” she says.
Read the full article here: http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/05/nsf-director-unveils-big-ideas-eye-next-president-and-congress