The National Science Foundation (NSF) is a United States government agency that supports fundamental research and education in all the non-medical fields of science and engineering. Its medical counterpart is the National Institutes of Health. With an annual budget of about US$7.0 billion (fiscal year 2012), the NSF funds approximately 20% of all federally supported basic research conducted by the United States’ colleges and universities.In some fields, such as mathematics, computer science, economics and the social sciences, the NSF is the major source of federal backing.
The NSF’s director, deputy director, and the 24 members of the National Science Board (NSB)are appointed by the President of the United States, and confirmed by the United States Senate. The director and deputy director are responsible for administration, planning, budgeting and day-to-day operations of the foundation, while the NSB meets six times a year to establish its overall policies.