42 USC § 1862o-5
Meeting critical national science needs
July 4, 2020

(a) In general
In addition to any other criteria, the Director shall include consideration of the degree to which awards and research activities that otherwise qualify for support by the Foundation may assist in meeting critical national needs in innovation, competitiveness, safety and security, the physical and natural sciences, technology, engineering, social sciences, and mathematics.

(b) Priority treatment
The Director shall give priority in the selection of awards and the allocation of Foundation resources to proposed research activities, and grants funded under the Foundation's Research and Related Activities Account, that can be expected to make contributions in physical or natural science, technology, engineering, social sciences, or mathematics, or that enhance competitiveness, innovation, or safety and security in the United States.

(c) Limitation
Nothing in this section shall be construed to restrict or bias the grant selection process against funding other areas of research deemed by the Foundation to be consistent with its mandate nor to change the core mission of the Foundation.


Section was enacted as part of the America COMPETES Act, also known as the America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science Act, and not as part of the National Science Foundation Act of 1950 which comprises this chapter.


For definitions of terms used in this section, see section 7001 of Pub. L. 110–69, set out as a note under section 1862o of this title.

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