The National Science Foundation (NSF) has outlined a new vision and goals for the agency for fiscal years 2011 to 2016. The new vision is more outcome-oriented than the previous vision: “NSF envisions a nation that capitalizes on new concepts in science and engineering and provides global leadership in advancing research and education.” The strategic goals were also revised: transform the frontiers, innovate for society, and perform as a model organization.

According to the plan, the new vision and goals were developed “to better integrate them with the concepts of research and learning, and more closely align with NSF’s merit review criteria of intellectual merit and broader impacts.”

The strategic plan also utilizes new methods for evaluating the performance of NSF’s investments in research and education. New performance goals include:

  • Transform the Frontiers:

    • Make investments that lead to emerging new fields of science and engineering and shifts in existing fields.
    • Prepare and engage a diverse STEM workforce motivated to participate at the frontiers.
    • Keep the United States globally competitive at the frontiers of knowledge by increasing international partnerships and collaborations.
    • Enhance research infrastructure and promote data access to support researchers’ and educators’ capabilities and enable transformation at the frontiers.
  • Innovate for Society:

    • Make investments that lead to results and resources that are useful to society.
    • Build the capacity of the nation’s citizenry for addressing societal challenges through science and engineering.
    • Support the development of innovative learning systems.
  • Perform as a Model Organization:

    • Achieve management excellence through leadership, accountability, and personal responsibility.
    • Infuse learning as an essential element of the NSF culture with emphasis on professional development and personal growth.
    • Encourage and sustain a culture of creativity and innovation across the agency to ensure continuous improvement and achieve high levels of customer service.

To read the strategic plan, visit


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