NSF’s Big Ideas (Vision and Programs of Interest)

NSF’s 10 Big Ideas
In 2016, NSF unveiled a set of “Big Ideas”—10 bold, long-term research and process ideas that identify areas for future investment at the frontiers of science and engineering. With its broad portfolio of investments, NSF is uniquely suited to advance this set of cutting-edge research agendas and processes that will require collaborations with industry, private foundations, other agencies, science academies and societies, and universities and the education sector.

Harnessing Data
Engaging NSF’s research community in the pursuit of fundamental research in data science and engineering, the development of a cohesive, federated, national-scale approach to research data infrastructure, and the development of a 21st-century data-capable workforce.

The Future of Work
The future of work at the human-technology frontier will bring together NSF research communities to conduct basic scientific research on the interaction of humans, society, and technology that will help shape the future of work to increase opportunities for workers and productivity for the American economy.

Navigating the New Arctic
Establishing an observing network of mobile and fixed platforms and tools across the Arctic to document and understand the Arctic’s rapid biological, physical, chemical, and social changes.

Multi-Messenger Astrophysics
Using powerful new syntheses of observational approaches to provide unique insights into the nature and behavior of matter and energy and help to answer some of the most profound questions before humankind.

The Quantum Leap
Exploiting quantum mechanics to observe, manipulate, and control the behavior of particles and energy at atomic and subatomic scales, resulting in next-generation technologies for sensing, computing, modeling, and communicating.

Understanding the Rules of Life
Elucidating the sets of rules that predict an organism’s observable characteristics, its phenotype.

Mid-scale Research Infrastructure
Developing an agile process for funding experimental research capabilities in the mid-scale range.

NSF 2026
Investing in bold foundational research questions that are large in scope, innovative in character, originate outside of any particular directorate, and require a long-term commitment. This Big Idea is framed around the year 2026 in order to tie into the Nation’s 250th anniversary (“sestercentennial”).

Growing Convergent Research at NSF
The grand challenges of today — protecting human health; understanding the food, energy, water nexus; exploring the universe at all scales — will not be solved by one discipline alone. They require convergence: the merging of ideas, approaches and technologies from widely diverse fields of knowledge to stimulate innovation and discovery.

NSF INCLUDES
The focus of these NSF INCLUDES launch pilots spans a number of broadening participation activities – from STEM engagement and preparatory experiences for students and other community members to educator training to new academic programs that expand access to STEM education.

Subscribe to the VPR for Research News E-mail ListSubscribe to the VPR for Research News E-mail List