This article is published in the February 2015 issue.

The FY2016 Budget Request for NSF Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE)

fy16_budget-cover_159On February 2, 2015, the President delivered his Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Budget Request to Congress. I am pleased to share with you key figures from the Request for the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the CISE directorate specifically. The Administration is requesting $7.7 billion for NSF. This includes $954.4 million for the CISE directorate – an increase of approximately $33 million or 3.5 percent above the FY 2015 Estimate. For more information, see

The Budget Request for CISE is shaped by investments in core research, education, and infrastructure activities, as well as by investments that support NSF-wide priorities and crosscutting activities, and address national priorities and societal challenges. The impact of past investments is profound, and CISE’s budget continues to see sustained increases in a relatively flat budget climate. Let me highlight a few aspects of the FY 2016 Budget Request for CISE below; for more information, see

Strong Commitment to the Core: The FY 2016 Budget Request continues CISE’s strong commitment to our core research programs across investment levels, from single-investigator research to center-scale activities, with increased support across all CISE divisions. These investments push the fundamental knowledge base of our discipline forward and build a solid foundation to support a thriving innovation ecosystem.

Growing Support for Advanced Cyberinfrastructure: The FY 2016 Budget Request for NSF includes significant support for advanced cyberinfrastructure, which is playing an increasingly important role in enabling computational and data-enabled discovery and innovation across all areas of science and engineering. CISE’s division of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure will continue to invest in computational science, software, data, networking, and cybersecurity.

Continuing Crosscutting Investments: The Budget Request continues CISE’s leadership in a number of crosscutting areas and programs, which in many cases involve multiple NSF directorates and federal agencies, including Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace (SaTC), Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS), National Robotics Initiative (NRI), Critical Techniques and Technologies for Advancing Big Data Science & Engineering (BIGDATA), and Smart and Connected Health (SCH). SaTC, which aims to secure our Nation’s cyberspace, is in partnership with the Education and Human Resources (EHR); Engineering (ENG); Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS); and Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (SBE) directorates. CPS is in collaboration with ENG and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Department of Transportation (DOT), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and National Institutes of Health (NIH), and aims to deeply integrate computation, communication, and control into physical systems. NRI, in partnership with ENG, EHR, and SBE, and with several other agencies, including the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), NASA, NIH, and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), aims to develop the next generation of collaborative robots to enhance personal safety, health, and productivity. BIGDATA is a collaboration across all NSF directorates, aiming to develop and apply fundamental techniques, theories, methodologies, and technologies to manage and analyze large, heterogeneous data. SCH, in partnership with ENG and SBE as well as NIH, aims to accelerate the development and use of innovative approaches that would support the much-needed transformation of healthcare from reactive and hospital-centered to preventive, proactive, evidence-based, person-centered and focused on wellbeing. The projects funded by these activities catalyze foundational computing research advances and address issues of major scientific, national, and societal importance.

CISE will also continue to participate in the NSF-wide priority area Understanding the Brain (UtB) by investing in cognitive science and neuroscience (including computational neuroscience) research, with the goal of developing a scientific understanding of the full complexity of the brain in action and in context. UtB is a key component of the Administration’s Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative.

New NSF Priority Investments: The FY 2016 Budget Request for NSF includes two new foundation-wide investment areas: Innovations at the Nexus of Food, Energy and Water Systems (INFEWS) and NSF INCLUDES (Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners that have been Underrepresented for Diversity in Engineering and Science).

INFEWS aims to understand, design, and model the interconnected food, energy, and water system through an interdisciplinary research effort that incorporates all areas of science and engineering and addresses the natural, social, and human-built factors involved. The CISE investments in INFEWS will support research on the safety and security of food, energy, and water resources, as well as the systems that facilitate the production, distribution, and consumption of these resources. CISE researchers have long played a critical role in advancing research in these areas.

The aim of NSF INCLUDES is to develop a scalable, national initiative to increase the preparation, participation, advancement, and potential contributions of those who have been traditionally underserved and/or underrepresented in the STEM enterprise. In support of NSF INCLUDES, CISE will build on its strong history of commitment and leadership in broadening participation in computing.

Investments in CISE research, education, and infrastructure have returned exceptional dividends to our Nation. CISE foundational research seeds new programs and positions our community at the frontiers of knowledge, discovery, and innovation. I invite you to work with NSF to continue to demonstrate how computer and information science and engineering is intellectually exciting, highly creative, and interactive – with the power to change the world for decades to come.