10 Big Ideas for Future NSF Investments

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has announced its 10 big ideas as part of a long-term research agenda that will drive NSF investments over the next few decades.

These ideas will require novel methods and approaches involving researchers from multiple disciplines as well as collaborators from industry, private foundations, other agencies, science academies and societies, and universities.

  • NSF INCLUDES: Enhancing STEM through Diversity and Inclusion aims to transform STEM education and career pathways on a national scale to promote Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science (INCLUDES).
  • NSF 2050: The Integrative Foundational Fund allows for systemic community input into long-term program development ensuring continuous exploration at the frontiers and risk-taking in areas that might not fit inside the “box” of any particular program.
  • Understanding the Rules of Life: Predicting Phenotype seeks to predict an organism’s observable characteristics, an initiative that will require convergence of research across biology, computer science, mathematics, behavioral sciences, and engineering.
  • Work at the Human-Technology Frontier: Shaping the Future promotes an understanding of the benefits as well as the risks of new technologies and enables the creation of technologies that can collaborate with humans to enrich their lives in the workplaces of the future.
  • Mid-scale Research Infrastructure develops an agile, yet carefully monitored, process for funding experimental research capabilities in the mid-scale range to include important potential experiments and facilities that fall between small and large research infrastructure projects.
  • Windows on the Universe: The Era of Multi-messenger Astrophysics promotes interagency and international collaborations needed to advance understanding in ground-based astronomy, particle astrophysics, and gravitational physics engaging all three types of multi-messenger astrophysics.
  • Navigating the New Arctic establishes an observing network of mobile and fixed platforms and tools across the Arctic to document the rapid biological, physical, chemical, and social changes due to warming and to leverage participation by other federal agencies.
  • Harnessing Data for 21st Century Science and Engineering develops a cohesive, national-scale approach to research data infrastructure and a 21st-century workforce capable of working effectively with data.
  • The Quantum Leap: Leading the Next Quantum Revolution addresses fundamental questions about quantum behavior and the manipulation of quantum systems.
  • Growing Convergent Research at NSF fosters convergence by blending multiple scientific disciplines in a coordinated, reciprocal way and promotes the robust collaborations needed for successful inquiry to address complex problems.

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