"The National Science Foundation (NSF) was created by the National Science Foundation Act of 1950, as amended (P.L.81-507). The NSF has the broad mission of supporting science and engineering in general and funding basic research across many disciplines. The agency provides support for investigator-initiated, merit-reviewed, competitively selected awards, state-of-the-art tools, and instrumentation and facilities. The majority of the research supported by the NSF is conducted at U.S. colleges and universities. Approximately 82.7% ($3,320.5 million) of NSF's FY2007 $4,049.4 million research and development (R&D) budget was awarded to U.S. colleges and universities. On February 17, 2009, President Barack Obama signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), 2009, P.L. 111-5 (H.R. 1). The legislation provided slightly more than $3.0 billion for the NSF--$2.5 billion for Research and Related Activities (R&RA), $400.0 million for Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction (MREFC), $100.0 million for Education and Human Resources (EHR), and $2.0 million for the Office of Inspector General. Language in the conference agreement directed that within the R&RA, $300.0 million be available solely for the Major Research Instrumentation program. Additional conference language directed that of the total provided to EHR, $60.0 million be directed to the Robert Noyce Program, $25.0 million be directed to the Math and Science Partnership program, and $15.0 million used solely for the Professional Science Master's Program."
CRS Report for Congress, 95-307