"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 82.3% ($3,900.6 million) of NSF's estimated FY2009 $4,742.0 million research and development (R&D) budget was awarded to U.S. colleges and universities. The Administration's FY2013 budget request for NSF is $7,373.1 million, 4.8% above the FY2012 estimated level of $7,033.1 million. The FY2013 request includes $5,983.3 million for Research and Related Activities (R&RA), $875.6 million for Education and Human Resources, $196.2 million for Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction (MREFC), $299.4 million for Agency Operations and Award Management, $4.4 million for the National Science Board (NSB), and $14.2 million for the Office of Inspector General."
CRS Report for Congress, 95-307