Date: Fri, Feb 12, 2016 at 3:07 PM
Subject: FY17 NSF/CISE Budget Request
Dear CISE Community,
I am pleased to share highlights from the President's FY 2017 Budget Request for the National Science Foundation (NSF), which was released this past Tuesday, February 9. The Administration is requesting approximately $8 billion for NSF. This includes $995 million for the CISE directorate – an increase of approximately $59 million or 6.3 percent above our estimated budget for FY 2016. This CISE request includes $938 million in discretionary funding, plus $56 million in one-time, new "mandatory funding."
The FY 2017 Budget Request for CISE, as in past years, is shaped by investments in core research and infrastructure activities, as well as by investments that support NSF-wide priorities and crosscutting activities. Notably, our Request is shaped by CISE's increasingly critical role in many national initiatives.
Before diving into the Budget Request a bit deeper, I'd like to elaborate a bit on the difference between discretionary and mandatory funding. NSF, including CISE, is generally supported through what's called discretionary funding; on an annual basis, Congress passes an appropriations bill specifying such funds for NSF (along with a host of other departments, agencies, and offices in the federal government). By contrast, mandatory funding is most commonly associated with spending on programs required by existing law, like Social Security and Medicare. Mandatory funding programs do not require yearly appropriations acts, nor are they subject to any previously agreed-upon discretionary caps. As noted above, the Budget Request for CISE calls for $938 million in discretionary funding, and $56 million in "mandatory" funding. Thus, for FY 2017, the Administration will be seeking legislation to provide this mandatory funding for NSF and other R&D agencies on a one-time basis. You can read the President's budget message here, as well as the White House Fact Sheet for the President's FY 2017 Budget, which elaborates on how the mandatory funding sustains the Administration's prioritization of research and development.
Here are selected highlights of the FY 2017 Budget Request for CISE:
Strong Commitment to the Core: The FY 2017 Budget Request continues CISE's strong commitment to our core research programs across all project sizes, from single-investigator proposals to center-scale activities. Even in the recent budget climate, there has been sustained growth in CISE's investment in core research across all CISE divisions. These investments push forward the fundamental knowledge base of our discipline and build a solid foundation to support a thriving innovation ecosystem.
Growing Support for Advanced Cyberinfrastructure: The FY 2017 Budget Request for NSF includes significant support for advanced cyberinfrastructure, recognizing its importance in furthering the frontiers of discovery for all areas of science and engineering. Specifically, as part of our support of advanced computing infrastructure, CISE, through its Division of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure (ACI), will begin transitioning its Cyberinfrastructure Framework for 21st Century Science and Engineering (CIF21) activities, which has long been scheduled to sunset in FY 2017, to two new crosscutting investment areas: the National Strategic Computing Initiative (NSCI) and Data for Scientific Discovery and Action (D4SDA).
NSF's NSCI activities align with the goals articulated in Executive Order 13702 issued by President Obama in July 2015 and will focus NSF's efforts on advancing the Nation's high-performance computing (HPC) ecosystem for scientific discovery and economic competitiveness. NSCI activities are being co-led by NSF, DOE, and the DOD, and involve many other agencies across government; CISE/ACI will represent NSF in this leadership role.
Investments in data – encompassing foundational research; innovative, reusable data and knowledge infrastructure to support data-intensive science; data governance and lifecycle issues; and education of a data-savvy workforce – will remain a strategic focus under D4SDA. This area will be led by CISE and will span research, research infrastructure, and education activities.
Smart & Connected Communities: The FY 2017 Budget Request includes a new NSF-wide investment for Smart & Connected Communities (S&CC), which aligns with the White House Smart Cities Initiative announced in September 2015. CISE will lead S&CC, which also includes the participation of the Education and Human Resources (EHR); Engineering (ENG); Geosciences (GEO); and Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (SBE) directorates. This area builds on previous CISE investments in US Ignite and Urban Science and aims to improve the quality of life, health, well-being and learning in 21st-century communities. As part of this investment, CISE will support a network of regional research hubs that will advance fundamental research on advanced networking, physical sensors/devices, large-scale data analysis, and control and automation, all with humans in the loop.
Smart & Autonomous Systems: The FY 2017 Budget Request includes a new activity called Smart & Autonomous Systems (S&AS) under the Cyber-Enabled Materials, Manufacturing, and Smart Systems (CEMMSS) investment area. S&AS will focus on fundamental science and engineering addressing how intelligent physical systems sense, perceive, and operate in environments that are dynamic, uncertain, and unanticipated. This research activity will accelerate the transformation of static systems, processes, and edifices into intelligent, autonomous systems, such as those that can sense, learn, and adapt. S&AS leverages synergistic advances at the interstices of robotics and cyber-physical systems.
CS Education: The FY 2017 Budget Request includes investments in support of the Computer Science (CS) for All initiative that the President announced in his weekly address on January 30, 2016. This high-profile attention reflects the central role that computer and information science and engineering has come to play in so many aspects of our daily lives. CS for All will support the development of prototypes of instructional materials, assessments, scalable and sustainable professional development models, and teacher resources, along with research to study their effectiveness. The FY 2017 Budget Request also includes investment in undergraduate education through our collaboration with EHR and ENG on REvolutionizing engineering and computer science Departments (RED).
An Emphasis on Early-Career Researchers: The FY 2017 Budget Request includes a special emphasis on early-career researchers. Early-career investigators not only catalyze the next generation of breakthrough discoveries, but they also embrace novel approaches for accelerating the research enterprise more broadly. Today, these approaches include significant use of computation and data-intensive techniques, along with the pursuit of increasingly interdisciplinary research that falls at the boundaries of traditional academic disciplines.
Continuing Collaborative Efforts: The FY 2017 Budget Request continues CISE's leadership in a number of crosscutting areas and programs, which in many cases involve multiple NSF directorates and federal agencies.
· Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace (SaTC), which aims to secure our Nation's cyberspace, is in partnership with the EHR, ENG, Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS), and SBE directorates.
· Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) aims to deeply integrate computation, communication, and control into physical systems. The CPS program is in collaboration with ENG as well as the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Department of Transportation (DOT), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), National Institutes of Health (NIH), and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
· The National Robotics Initiative (NRI), in partnership with ENG, EHR, and SBE, as well as the Department of Defense (DOD), Department of Energy (DOE), NASA, NIH, and USDA, aims to develop the next generation of collaborative robots to enhance personal safety, health, and productivity.
· Smart and Connected Health (SCH), in partnership with ENG and SBE as well as NIH, aims to accelerate the development and use of innovative approaches that would support the transformation of healthcare knowledge, delivery, and quality of life through IT.
· Cyberlearning and Future Learning Technologies (CFLT) integrates advances in technology with advances in the way people learn. It enables a better understanding of how to use technology more effectively for promoting learning, as well as how to design and evaluate new technologies for integration in learning environments. CFLT is in collaboration with EHR and ENG.
CISE will also continue to participate in other NSF-wide priority areas including Innovations at the Nexus of Food, Energy, and Water Systems (INFEWS), Understanding the Brain (UtB), and NSF Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science (NSF INCLUDES). Additionally, CISE is a key participant in the NSF-wide Clean Energy R&D emphasis.
Investments in CISE research, education, and infrastructure have returned exceptional dividends to our Nation. Computing is ubiquitous, engages and intertwines with many communities, and is a field that is rapidly changing with the potential for profound societal impact. I invite you to continue to work with us to transform the world for decades to come.
Assistant Director, CISE, NSF
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