The NSF is currently seeking public comment on its new draft Strategic Plan for fiscal years 2006 - 2011. Comments on the draft plan must be provided by JULY 17 through the website at http://www.nsf.gov/about/performance/input.cfmor by email to strategicplaninput [at] nsf.gov .
The draft Strategic Plan, which runs about 20 pages, is available at the following web site: http://www.nsf.gov/about/performance/nsfplandraft.pdf . In its introduction, the document acknowledges that the "context in which science is done is undergoing rapid change and NSF needs to respond to it." It describes how increasing globalization and advanced technologies and instrumentation are changing the conduct of science and engineering, and states that the new plan provides "an overarching framework for progress in fundamental research and education; a framework that leaves ample room to experiment and adapt to changing circumstances."
The document addresses NSF's mission, goals and objectives, investment priorities, and how these concepts could be translated into action. The four goals cited in the plan are derived from the National Science Board's December 2005 publication: 2020 Vision for the National science Foundation (see http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2006/nsb05142/nsb05142.pdf ). Under each of these four goals, the draft Strategic Plan lists several Long-Term Investment Priorities. The Goals are:
DISCOVERY: "Foster research that will advance the frontiers of knowledge, emphasizing areas of greatest opportunity and potential benefit, and establishing the nation as a global leader in fundamental and transformative science and engineering."
LEARNING: "Cultivate a world-class, broadly inclusive science and engineering workforce, and expand the scientific literacy of all citizens."
RESEARCH INFRASTRUCTURE: "Build the nation's research capability through critical investments in advanced instrumentation, facilities, cyberinfrastructure, and experimental tools."
STEWARDSHIP: "Support excellence in science and engineering research and education through a capable and responsive organization."
During the public comment period, NSF is requesting feedback on the following questions in particular: What are the strengths and weaknesses of the draft plan? Does NSF's draft Strategic Plan effectively communicate NSF's investments and priorities in supporting the science and engineering community? If not, what is lacking and specifically how can it be improved?
After comments are received and considered, a final plan will be reviewed by NSF and the Office of Management and Budget, and sent to Congress by September 30, 2006. At that time it will also be posted on NSF's web site.