NSF to invest heavily in nanotechnology

The National Science Foundation is seeking $305 million to fund research into nanotechnology, which is the research and development of technologies at the atomic, molecular and macromolecular level.

NSF Director Rita Colwell said yesterday the 2005 budget request represents a 20 percent increase over fiscal 2004 levels and is the foundation's "largest priority area investment."

The NSF's total budget request for fiscal 2005 is $5.7 billion, an increase of 3 percent over 2004.

Colwell said she was pleased with the NSF's proposed funding "in light of the significant challenges that face the nation in security, defense and the economy."

"This year, we have had to make informed choices in a sea of mixed opportunity and constraint," Colwell said. "NSF's budget priorities for fiscal 2005 are strengthening its ability to administer a growing number of awards, advancing the productivity of researchers ? and improving science and engineering infrastructure."

The proposed budget provides $618 million for the NSF's Computer and Information Science and Engineering program, which promotes research into computer technology. Within that program, funding for computer and network systems, computing and communications foundations, information and intelligent systems and shared cyberinfrastructure would see significant increases.

The 2005 budget proposal is the first to include funding for the NSF's new, widely shared cyberinfrastructure initiative, which includes the TeraGrid project launched last month. The new initiative builds on the Partnerships for Advanced Computational Infrastructure, which winds down in fiscal 2004.

NSF plans to create a national cyberinfrastructure, an integrated system of supercomputing resources that will be broadly accessible by scientists and engineers.

The NSF's budget request includes $137.9 million for the widely shared cyberinfrastructure program. According to NSF estimates, cyberinfrastructure funding represents a 15 percent increase over the same component programs in 2004.

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