42 U.S. Code § 1862 - Functions
The Foundation is authorized to initiate and support specific scientific and engineering activities in connection with matters relating to international cooperation, national security, and the effects of scientific and engineering applications upon society by making contracts or other arrangements (including grants, loans, and other forms of assistance) for the conduct of such activities. When initiated or supported pursuant to requests made by any other Federal department or agency, including the Office of Technology Assessment, such activities shall be financed whenever feasible from funds transferred to the Foundation by the requesting official as provided in section 1873(f) of this title, and any such activities shall be unclassified and shall be identified by the Foundation as being undertaken at the request of the appropriate official.
In addition to the authority contained in subsections (a) and (b), the Foundation is authorized to initiate and support scientific and engineering research, including applied research, at academic and other nonprofit institutions. When so directed by the President, the Foundation is further authorized to support, through other appropriate organizations, applied scientific research and engineering research relevant to national problems involving the public interest. In exercising the authority contained in this subsection, the Foundation may employ by grant or contract such consulting services as it deems necessary, and shall coordinate and correlate its activities with respect to any such problem with other agencies of the Federal Government undertaking similar programs in that field.
The Board and the Director shall recommend and encourage the pursuit of national policies for the promotion of research and education in science and engineering.
In exercising the authority and discharging the functions referred to in the foregoing subsections, it shall be an objective of the Foundation to strengthen research and education in the sciences and engineering, including independent research by individuals, throughout the United States, and to avoid undue concentration of such research and education.
The Foundation shall render an annual report to the President for submission on or before the 15th day of April of each year to the Congress summarizing the activities of the Foundation and making such recommendations as it may deem appropriate. Such report shall include information as to the acquisition and disposition by the Foundation of any patents and patent rights.
In carrying out subsection (a)(4), the Foundation is authorized to foster and support access by the research and education communities to computer networks which may be used substantially for purposes in addition to research and education in the sciences and engineering, if the additional uses will tend to increase the overall capabilities of the networks to support such research and education activities.
2002—Subsec. (a)(8). Pub. L. 107–305 added par. (8).
1986—Subsec. (a)(6). Pub. L. 99–383 amended par. (6) generally. Prior to amendment, par. (6) read as follows: “to maintain a current register of scientific and engineering personnel, and in other ways to provide a central clearinghouse for the collection, interpretation, and analysis of data on the availability of, and the current and projected need for, scientific and engineering resources in the United States, and to provide a source of information for policy formulation by other agencies of the Federal Government; and”.
1985—Subsec. (a)(1). Pub. L. 99–159, § 110(a)(1), struck out “engineering,” after “biological,” and inserted provisions relating to research fundamental to the engineering process, engineering programs, and engineering activities.
Subsec. (a)(2). Pub. L. 99–159, § 110(a)(2), substituted “for study and research in the sciences or in engineering” for “in the mathematical, physical, medical, biological, engineering, social, and other sciences”.
Subsec. (a)(3). Pub. L. 99–159, § 110(a)(3), inserted applicability to engineering and engineers.
Subsec. (a)(4). Pub. L. 99–159, § 110(a)(4), inserted applicability to engineering.
Subsec. (a)(5). Pub. L. 99–159, § 110(a)(5), inserted applicability to fields of engineering.
Subsec. (a)(6). Pub. L. 99–159, § 110(a)(6), substituted “engineering” for “technical” in two places.
Subsec. (a)(7). Pub. L. 99–159, § 110(a)(7), inserted applicability to engineering.
Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 99–159, §§ 109(e)(2), 110(a)(8), inserted reference to engineering in two places and substituted “1873(f)” for “1873(g)”.
Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 99–159, § 110(a)(9), inserted applicability to engineering research.
Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 99–159, § 110(a)(10), substituted “research and education in science and engineering” for “basic research and education in the sciences”.
Subsec. (e). Pub. L. 99–159, § 110(11), inserted applicability to engineering.
1977—Subsec. (e). Pub. L. 95–99 substituted “an objective” for “one of the objectives”.
1976—Subsec. (f). Pub. L. 94–273 substituted “April” for “January”.
1972—Subsec. (a)(1). Pub. L. 92–372 inserted support of science education programs at all levels to the functions of the Foundation and substituted “scientific and educational activities” for “scientific activities”.
Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 92–484 inserted provisions authorizing the Foundation to initiate and support specific scientific activities in connection with matters relating to the effects of scientific applications upon society, and substituted provisions relating to the initiation or support pursuant to requests of activities by any other Federal department or agency, including the Office of Technology Assessment, for provisions relating to the initiation or support pursuant to requests of activities by the Secretary of State or Secretary of Defense.
1968—Subsec. (a)(1). Pub. L. 90–407 redesignated par. (2) as (1) and added social sciences to the enumerated list of sciences. Former par. (1) redesignated subsec. (d).
Subsec. (a)(2). Pub. L. 90–407 redesignated par. (4) as (2) and added social sciences to the enumerated list of sciences. Former par. (2) redesignated (1).
Subsec. (a)(3). Pub. L. 90–407 redesignated par. (5) as (3). Former par. (3) redesignated subsec. (b).
Subsec. (a)(4). Pub. L. 90–407 added par. (4). Former par. (4) redesignated subsec. (a)(2).
Subsec. (a)(5). Pub. L. 90–407 redesignated par. (6) as (5) and provided for the employment of consulting services, by grant or contract, to assist in the evaluation of the status and needs of the various sciences as evidenced by the programs and studies undertaken by agencies of the government, by individuals, and by public and private research groups, and provided for the consideration of the results of such evaluations in the correlation of the Foundation’s programs with those undertaken by agencies of the government, as well as those undertaken by individuals and by public and private research groups. Former par. (5) redesignated (3).
Subsec. (a)(6). Pub. L. 90–407 redesignated par. (8) as (6) and provided that the register of scientific and technical personnel shall be current, and authorized the Foundation to analyze and interpret the collected data on the availability of, and the current and projected need for, scientific and technical resources in the United States and to make such information available to other agencies of the government for policy formulation. Former par. (6) redesignated (5).
Subsec. (a)(7). Pub. L. 90–407 added par. (7). Former par. (7), which provided for the establishment of such special commissions as the Board may from to time deem necessary for the purposes of this chapter, was struck out.
Subsec. (a)(8). Pub. L. 90–407 redesignated par. (8) as (6).
Subsec. (a)(9). Pub. L. 90–407 struck out par. (9) which authorized the Foundation to initiate and support a program of study, research, and evaluation in the field of weather modification, with particular attention to areas experiencing floods, drought, etc., and to report annually to the President and the Congress thereon.
Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 90–407 redesignated former subsec. (a)(3) as (b) and substituted provisions authorizing the Foundation to initiate and support specific scientific activities in matters related to international cooperation or national security for provisions authorizing the Foundation to initiate and support only scientific research activities, only in matters related to national defense and only when requested to do so by the Secretary of Defense, and inserted provisions specifying the manner of financing such scientific activities. Former subsec. (b) redesignated (e).
Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 90–407 added subsec. (c). Former subsec. (c) redesignated (f).
Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 90–407 redesignated former subsec. (a)(1) as (d) and substituted provisions authorizing the Board and the Director to recommend and encourage national policies promoting basic research and education in the sciences for provisions authorizing and directing the Foundation to develop and encourage such policies.
Subsec. (e). Pub. L. 90–407 redesignated former subsec. (b) as (e), substituted “the foregoing subsections” for “subsection (a) of this section”, “strengthen research” for “strengthen basic research”, and struck out reference to the territories and possessions of the United States.
Subsec. (f). Pub. L. 90–407 redesignated former subsec. (c) as (f) and struck out provision requiring the report to include the minority views and recommendations if any, of members of the Board.
1959—Subsec. (a)(2). Pub. L. 86–232 clarified the Foundation’s authority to support programs to strengthen scientific research potential.
1958—Subsec. (a)(9). Pub. L. 85–510 added par. (9).
For transfer of all programs relating to science education of the National Science Foundation or the Director thereof under this chapter, with certain exceptions, to the Secretary of Education, see section 3444 of Title 20, Education.
Pub. L. 105–244, title VIII, § 831, Oct. 7, 1998, 112 Stat. 1820, which provided for an interdisciplinary program of education and research on East Asian science, engineering, and technology, was repealed by Pub. L. 110–315, title IX, § 931(3), Aug. 14, 2008, 122 Stat. 3456.
Pub. L. 96–44, § 8, Aug. 2, 1979, 93 Stat. 334, directed National Science Foundation to conduct a Flood Hazard Mitigation Study and report to Congress with specific program recommendations by end of fiscal year 1980.
Pub. L. 94–471, § 6, Oct. 11, 1976, 90 Stat. 2055, required the National Science Foundation to develop a program plan for continuing education in science and engineering and, not later than Oct. 31, 1977, provide specific committees of the House of Representatives and Senate a report on the plan developed with recommendations for implementation in fiscal year 1978.
Similar provisions were contained in the following National Science Foundation Authorization Acts:
Pub. L. 90–407, § 11(1), July 18, 1968, 82 Stat. 365, provided in part that the authorization for the programs initiated under former subsec. (a)(9) of this section shall continue in effect until Sept. 1, 1968 for the purposes of section 1872a of this title.
Act Aug. 1, 1956, ch. 865, 70 Stat. 922, directed the National Science Foundation to conduct an investigation into the need for and the feasibility and usefulness of a geophysical institute located in the Territory [now State] of Hawaii. The Foundation was required to report the results of its investigations, together with its recommendations based thereon, to the Congress not later than 9 months after Aug. 1, 1956.
Ex. Ord. No. 10521, Mar. 17, 1954, 19 F.R. 1499, as amended by Ex. Ord. No. 10807, § 6(b), Mar. 13, 1959, 24 F.R. 1899, provided:
Section 1. The National Science Foundation (hereinafter referred to as the Foundation) shall from time to time recommend to the President policies for the promotion and support of basic research and education in the sciences, including policies with respect to furnishing guidance toward defining the responsibilities of the Federal Government in the conduct and support of basic scientific research.
Sec. 2. The Foundation shall continue to make comprehensive studies and recommendations regarding the Nation’s scientific research effort and its resources for scientific activities, including facilities and scientific personnel, and its foreseeable scientific needs, with particular attention to the extent of the Federal Government’s activities and the resulting effects upon trained scientific personnel. In making such studies, the Foundation shall make full use of existing sources of information and research facilities within the Federal Government.
Sec. 3. The Foundation, in concert with each Federal agency concerned, shall review the basic scientific research programs and activities of the Federal Government in order, among other purposes, to formulate methods for strengthening the administration of such programs and activities by the responsible agencies, and to study areas of basic research where gaps or undesirable overlapping of support may exist, and shall recommend to the heads of agencies concerning the support given to basic research.
Sec. 4. As now or hereafter authorized or permitted by law, the Foundation shall be increasingly responsible for providing support by the Federal Government for general-purpose basic research through contracts and grants. The conduct and support by other Federal agencies of basic research in areas which are closely related to their missions is recognized as important and desirable, especially in response to current national needs, and shall continue.
Sec. 5. The Foundation, in consultation with educational institutions, the heads of Federal agencies, and the Commissioner of Education of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare [now Secretary of Education], shall study the effects upon educational institutions of Federal policies and administration of contracts and grants for scientific research and development, and shall recommend policies and procedures which will promote the attainment of general national research objectives and realization of the research needs of Federal agencies while safeguarding the strength and independence of the Nation’s institutions of learning.
Sec. 6. The head of each Federal agency engaged in scientific research shall make certain that effective executive, organizational, and fiscal practices exist to ensure (a) that the Foundation is consulted on policies concerning the support of basic research, (b) that approved scientific research programs conducted by the agency are reviewed continuously in order to preserve priorities in research efforts and to adjust programs to meet changing conditions without imposing unnecessary added burdens on budgetary and other resources, (c) that applied research and development shall be undertaken with sufficient consideration of the underlying basic research and such other factors as relative urgency, project costs, and availability of manpower and facilities, and (d) that, subject to considerations of security and applicable law, adequate dissemination shall be made within the Federal Government of reports on the nature and progress of research projects as an aid to the efficiency and economy of the overall Federal scientific research program.
Sec. 7. Federal agencies supporting or engaging in scientific research shall, with the assistance of the Foundation, cooperate in an effort to improve the methods of classification and reporting of scientific research projects and activities, subject to the requirements of security of information.
Sec. 8. To facilitate the efficient use of scientific research equipment and facilities held by Federal agencies:
(a) the head of each such agency engaged in scientific research shall, to the extent practicable, encourage and facilitate the sharing with other Federal agencies of major equipment and facilities; and
(b) a Federal agency shall procure new major equipment or facilities for scientific research purposes only after taking suitable steps to ascertain that the need cannot be met adequately from existing inventories or facilities of its own or of other agencies; and
(c) the Interdepartmental Committee on Scientific Research and Development shall take necessary steps to ensure that each Federal agency engaged directly in scientific research is kept informed of selected major equipment and facilities which could serve the needs of more than one agency. Each Federal agency possessing such equipment and facilities shall maintain appropriate records to assist other agencies in arranging for their joint use or exchange.
Sec. 9. The heads of the respective Federal agencies shall make such reports concerning activities within the purview of this order as may be required by the President.
Sec. 10. The National Science Foundation shall provide leadership in the effective coordination of the scientific information activities of the Federal Government with a view to improving the availability and dissemination of scientific information. Federal agencies shall cooperate with and assist the National Science Foundation in the performance of this function, to the extent permitted by law.
Ex. Ord. No. 10807, Mar. 13, 1959, 24 F.R. 1897, as amended Ex. Ord. No. 11381, Nov. 8, 1967, 32 F.R. 15629, which established the Federal Council for Science and Technology, provided for a chairman and membership, specified the functions of the Council, provided for assistance from other Federal agencies and the establishment of standing committees and panels, revoked Ex. Ord. No. 9912 of Dec. 24, 1947, entitled “Establishing the Interdepartmental Committee on Scientific Research and Development”, and amended Ex. Ord. No. 10521, set out above, was omitted from the Code in view of Pub. L. 94–282, title IV, § 402, May 11, 1976, 90 Stat. 472, set out below, which abolished the Federal Council for Science and Technology.