In DepthScience Policy

NSF director unveils big ideas

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Science  13 May 2016:
Vol. 352, Issue 6287, pp. 755-756
DOI: 10.1126/science.352.6287.755

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France Córdova, the director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) in Arlington, Virginia, has unveiled a research agenda intended to both shape the agency's next few decades and win over the next U.S. president and Congress. The nine "big ideas" she presented last week to the National Science Board are meant to illustrate how increased support for the type of basic research that NSF funds can help answer pressing societal problems. They range from how humans interact with technology to how climate change in the polar regions will impact the global economy, environment, and culture. Córdova admits that it's unusual for a federal agency to talk publicly about its long-range budget plans. But she is betting that touting the agency's capabilities during an election year will pay dividends after voters have chosen a successor to President Barack Obama.