Scientific discoveries are emerging at an accelerated pace, presenting new frontiers for exploration, stimulating innovation and economic growth, and driving the development of new tools and systems to support research.
Likewise, the convergence of disciplines and the cross-fertilization that
characterized contemporary science and engineering have made collaboration a centerpiece of the 21st century science and engineering enterprise.
As new scientific opportunities and processes have emerged, the Nation's research facility requirements have also evolved and changed.
In 2005, NSF estimated that academic institutions then had at least $ 3. 6 billion in deferred projects to repair and renovate science and engineering research facilities (FY05 Survey of Science and Engineering Research Facilities.) As a result of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, NSF will invest $200 million in the Nation's research facilities and research training infrastructure.
This investment will advance the science and engineering research enterprise at many institutions.The purpose of this program is to enhance the Nation's existing research facilities where sponsored and/or unsponsored research activities and research training take place to enable next-generation research infrastructure that integrates shared resources across user communities.
Consistent with NSF's mission to strengthen the U. S. science and engineering enterprise, the ARI-R² program will:Update existing research facilities at institutions of higher education (including graduate and undergraduate institutions, among which are included community colleges) and other non-profit research organizations (e.g., independent research museums, independent research laboratories, and research consortia) in order to support research that can address the challenges of the 21st century.
Enable academic departments, disciplinary and cross-disciplinary units, or multi-organization consortia to renovate research facilities through the addition or augmentation of cyberinfrastructure, other than general-purpose computing systems or data storage systems, to create environments that enhance research and integrate research with education.
Improve access to and increase use of next-generation research facilities for researchers, educators and students.Assist research organizations, including those that have historically received limited Federal research and development funds, to improve their science and engineering research environments.