Stimulus Bill Opportunities

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Subject: NSF Stimulus Statement

Dr. Arden L. Bement, Jr., Director of the National Science Foundation, delivered a speech recently to employees on how the agency intends to implement the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

In his remarks, Dr. Bement said that NSF's portion of the ARRA ($3 billion) is "sorely needed to ensure that America remains a leader in science and engineering research and education. That investment of 3 billion dollars will have an immediate impact on investigators, post-docs, graduate and undergraduate students, and teachers throughout the nation. NSF funding now helps to support nearly 200,000 individuals every year." In his remarks, Dr. Bement described the rapid timeline and extensive planning under way at NSF to implement the ARRA:

  • NSF is working closely with both OSTP, OMB and Congress on the spending plan for ARRA. The agency anticipates a quick turnaround and will begin issuing ARRA research awards as soon as the plan is approved.
  • NSF will define its ARRA funding and accountability processes on NSF.gov and Recovery.gov, and will begin to implement tracking and monitoring procedures immediately.
  • NSF already has many highly rated research proposals in hand to consider for funding with ARRA funds. Some research proposals have already been reviewed and others are in the review process. NSF is planning to use the majority of the $2 billion available in Research and Related Activities for proposals that are already in house and will be reviewed and/or awarded prior to Sept. 30, 2009.
  • Grants funded under ARRA will be awarded quickly in order to contribute to new job creation and reinvestment.
  • All grants issued with Recovery Act funds will be standard grants with durations of up to 5 years. This approach will allow NSF to structure a sustainable portfolio.
  • Funding of new Principal Investigators and high-risk, high-return research will be a top priority.
  • NSF will use ARRA funds to increase the number of CAREER and IGERT awards. CAREER grants support the research and education activities of junior faculty and IGERT grants support interdisciplinary research and training of graduate students.
  • In addition to R&RA grants, the ARRA also allocated funding for NSF's Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) program and an Academic Research Infrastructure (ARI) program. NSF plans to issue new solicitations for proposals for these programs soon.
  • NSF also will consider proposals declined on or after October 1, 2008. Reversals of declined proposals will be based on both the high quality of the initial reviews, and the lack of available funding at the time of the original decision. NSF program officers will contact institutions when a reversal is being considered by NSF.
  • NSF is currently working on a solicitation for a Science Masters Program, a new activity created under ARRA.
  • NSF will use ARRA funds for awards under the Robert Noyce Scholarship program and the Math and Science Partnership program following merit review of proposals already submitted to those programs.
  • NSF does not intend to provide any supplements to existing grants under ARRA.

George J. Pappas
Joseph Moore Professor of Electrical and Systems Engineering
Deputy Dean, School of Engineering and Applied Science
University of Pennsylvania
http://www.seas.upenn.edu/~pappasg/

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