News FocusU.S. Science and Austerity

NSF Goes Back to Basics to Preserve Basic Research

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Science  11 Nov 2011:
Vol. 334, Issue 6057, pp. 756-757
DOI: 10.1126/science.334.6057.756

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For most U.S. scientists, the central issue in the budget debate is how much Congress values basic research. No government agency has a bigger stake in the answer to that question than the $6.8 billion National Science Foundation (NSF), whose raison d'être is ensuring the health of the country's academic research enterprise. But facing a budget that's flat this year and likely to shrink next year, NSF is trying new ways to achieve its mission on the cheap.