The National Science Foundation supports collaborative projects involving academic institutions, private industry, and state and local governments. The Foundation also works closely with other ederal agencies in cross-cutting areas of research and education, and we support U.S. participation in international scientific efforts. Promoting partnerships is one of NSF’s core strategies. Collaboration and partnerships between disciplines and institutions and among academe, industry, and government enable the movement of people, ideas, and tools throughout the public and private sectors.

The NSF fulfills its mission chiefly by issuing limited-term grants — currently about 12,000 new awards per year, with an average duration of three years — to fund specific research proposals that have been judged the most promising by a rigorous and objective merit-review system. Most of these awards go to individuals or small groups of investigators. Others provide funding for research centers, instruments and facilities that allow scientists, engineers and students to work at the outermost frontiers of knowledge.