The National Science Foundation: A Foundation for Innovation

The National Science Foundation: A Foundation for Innovation

NARRATORS: Imagine a world
without the internet, CD’s, barcodes, MRIs, cellphones.
You’ve imagined the early 1970’s. But you’ve also imagined
a world without the fundamental research behind those
technologies. Research supported by NSF. New products
and processes don’t burst on the scene full-grown. They begin
with basic research. They begin with the work of the bold, the
imaginative, the curious, whose discoveries and innovations,
eventually, touch and shape every aspect of our lives, drive
our economy and change our world. The National Science
Foundation supports the people and places at the frontiers of
knowledge, at thousands of institutions in every state
in the nation. We spark opportunities to pursue
fundamental questions, unravel mysteries, transform whole
fields and create new ones. CAROL ESPY-WILSON: Basic
research is critical for innovation. It all starts with
basic research. NARRATORS: About 200
NSF-supported scientists have received the Nobel Prize
for their ground-breaking discoveries. We’re the only
Federal agency that supports fundamental research in
all fields of science and engineering and education. And
we help turn promising ideas into jobs. Major market leaders,
like Qualcomm and Symantec, were once tiny startups helped along
by NSF funding. GARY HENDRIX: And,
fortunately, the National Science Foundation came along at
just the right time and offered a grant for small business. IRWIN JACOBS: Qualcomm was very
small when it received its first SBIR grant, I think, in the
order of 15 people or so. That helped us continue ahead, grow,
develop some technology. GARY HENDRIX: Well, it meant
the difference between starting and not starting. It meant
everything in those early days. And now, today, it employs over
18,000 people. IRWIN JACOBS: We now employ
something over 21,000 people. GARY HENDRIX: And it all
started with that little $25,000 grant. IRWIN JACOBS: And so these
things have very large multiplier factors to them. CAROL ESPY-WILSON: NSF funded
my basic research, and now they’re giving me funding to
take that basic research and commercialize it. We’re now
building out our team, so we’re on our way. NARRATORS: Today, the potential
for new knowledge has never been greater. Can we use nanoparticles to
attack bacteria in our bodies? Can we get pollution-free energy
from just water and light? This could change the entire
way we look at the problem. Fundamental research can have
real-world impact. And keep us globally
competitive. Clean energy. A clean environment. Cyber
security. Advanced manufacturing. Science and
engineering education. NSF is exciting young minds, catalyzing
talent for tomorrow. SUBRA SURESH: We must inspire a
new generation and prepare the workforce to meet future
challenges. NARRATORS: We’re entering a new
era of observation; new sets of eyes give us new visions of the
universe; let us read millennia of climate data in the Antarctic
ice; observe the complex dynamics of the ocean in real
time and advance our ability to design and build materials,
molecule by molecule. The result will be breakthrough
technologies that transform our economy. And our lives. Ideas that seem way out today,
are ideas that the public will take for granted tomorrow. Ideas that change everything. Not very long ago, two NSF
funded graduate students created a page-rank method based on web
links. Today we know their work as Google. ANDREW VITERBI: We, the
industry, relies very heavily on NSF to sponsor those types of
research that will put us in the lead, not today necessarily, but
five to ten years out. GARY HENDRIX: What really
causes economic growth is always innovation. So how do we get
more of it? We invest in basic research and that’s as simple as
that. NARRATORS: Only a steady focus
on the furthest frontier will spur discovery; create the
industries of tomorrow and keep America the Innovation nation. Support. Spark. Catalyze. Create. Inspire. This is how NSF serves science
and engineering. So science and engineering can
serve us. SUBRA SURESH: We can understand
our world and use that knowledge to tackle present challenges. NARRATORS: One world. One
future. One NSF.

Comments (3)

  1. Keep up your good work. :o)

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