Every four years, NSF releases a new strategic plan that guides the development of the agency goals and actions. In 2022, NSF introduced its newest strategic plan, which has two notable changes compared to previous plans:
- For the first time, a focus on broadening participation by empowering STEM talent is front and center, followed by the goal of creating new knowledge (which is typically listed first in the strategic plans).
- The plan includes a goal calling for translating knowledge into solutions that benefit society.
The 2022-2026 NSF strategic plan outlines the following four strategic goals:
- Empower STEM talent to fully participate in science and engineering
- Create new knowledge about our universe, world and ourselves
- Benefit society by translating knowledge into solutions
- Excel at NSF operations and management
By elevating empowering STEM talent to the first strategic goal, NSF is bringing an agency-wide focus to this issue. To empower STEM talent to fully participate, NSF has set specific objectives of increasing the involvement of communities underrepresented in STEM and growing a diverse STEM workforce to advance the progress of science and technology. By meeting these objectives through support for research and for formal and informal education, NSF will engage and empower the millions of talented individuals still missing from the STEM workforce.
The third goal of translating knowledge to solutions acknowledges the importance of application of science to solving the problems facing our nation and the world. This goal complements the second goal of creating new knowledge, which has been the bedrock of NSF’s mission to advance national health, prosperity, and welfare since the agency was created in 1950.
Together, these strategic goals ensure that NSF supports the diverse people who are part of the scientific enterprise and continues to be at the forefront of scientific discovery and technological advancements improving society for this generation and the next.
In the Biological Sciences (BIO), there are many programs designed specifically to empower STEM talent. All Divisions in BIO support these programs—including , Research Experiences for Undergraduates, Postdoctoral Research Fellowships in Biology, Research and Mentoring for Postbaccalaureates in Biological Sciences, Building Research Capacity of New Faculty in Biology, and others – which are hosted by the Division of Biological Infrastructure’s Human Resources Cluster. In addition, every award funded by BIO (including in MCB) supports not just science, but the people who do the science. Empowering STEM talent is built into the broader impacts review criterion against which all proposals are evaluated.
To read more about NSF’s strategic goals and how the agency is pursuing these goals read the NSF Strategic Plan.