February 3, 2010
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has submitted to Congress a $7.4 billion budget for FY 2011, calling for an 8% increase over 2010. NSF represents 65% of total federal support for basic research in mathematics.
NSF proposed that research and related activities receive $6 billion, an 8.2% boost. In this context, Mathematical Sciences is to get $250 million in research funding, up 5%. At the same time, education and human resources is to receive $892 million, a 2.2% increase.
Among NSF’s investment priorities is the new Cyberlearning Transforming Education (CTE) initiative, which is slated to receive $41 million. A multidisciplinary effort coordinated with the Department of Education, it aims at bringing advances in learning technologies to students at all educational levels and encouraging study of the learning process itself.
Another priority is the Graduate Research Fellowship program, where funding is to increase by 16% in 2011 to $159 million.
NSF is also committed to broadening participation and improving education and workforce development in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. As part of this effort, a new $103 million program, Comprehensive Broadening Participation of Undergraduates in STEM, focuses on increasing minority participation by building on successes realized through existing undergraduate programs.
In the Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR), only the Division of Undergraduate Education is to show a decrease in funding level, declining 0.8% to $290 million. The Course, Curriculum, and Laboratory Improvement (CCLI) program (now renamed Transforming Undergraduate Education in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics—TUES) and the National STEM Education Distributed Learning (NSDL) program will bear the brunt of the decrease in funding.
In the Division of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings (DRL), funding is to increase by 2.4%. The bulk of that increase, however, is meant to bolster project and program evaluation, which is to grow by $7 million (58%). DRL will assume a key role within EHR for building capacity and expertise in STEM education program evaluation.
“The MAA will continue to monitor the development of the federal budget, especially funding for NSF, and advocate for funding that supports innovative efforts in undergraduate mathematics programs,” Michael Pearson, MAA Associate Executive Director, said. “While most of the new educational initiatives announced by President Obama focus on K-12, we want to be sure that the central role of the undergraduate program in preparing students for STEM careers is not forgotten.”
To learn more about MAA science policy efforts, visit www.maa.org/sciencepolicy.