NSF losing Earth sciences research funds



The Earth Sciences Division (EAR) of the National Science Foundation (NSF) faces a diminishing financial base from which to award grants for research, while the proposal pressure increases. Robin Brett, director of the division stated, ‘Now that the Ocean Drilling Division has become a separate entity [within the Foundation] the Division of Earth Sciences has no major facility, and with the exception of COCORP, at $2.8 million per year, we are a small science division, consisting of four programs—geology, geophysics, geochemistry, and petrology.’

Brett noted, however, that the field of earth sciences research, which the NSF attempts to support, has grown rapidly in the past decade. Growth (in terms of people employed in the field) is predicted to increase markedly, as the following quotation from Science and Engineering Education for the 1980s and Beyond (NSF publication, 1980) attests: