National Science Foundation


What is your agency’s mission and how does supporting research in the Arctic advance that mission?

The mission of NSF is “to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense; and for other purposes.” The goal of the Arctic Sciences Section in the Office of Polar Programs is to gain a better understanding of the Arctic’s biological, geophysical, chemical, and sociocultural processes, and the interactions of ocean, land, atmosphere, biological, and human systems. Additional programs across NSF support research and education in the Arctic.

Where would one go to find out what research is being funded by your agency in the Arctic?

The searchable database is a good source for all awards made by NSF.

A visualization tool of all awards from the Office of Polar Programs is available.

The Arctic Research Mapping Application is a searchable visualization tool with information about NSF-funded projects with fieldwork in the Arctic. The Arctic Observing Viewer is a visualization tool for observation data collected in the Arctic. The Arctic Data Center is the primary data and software repository for the NSF Arctic section, and includes some information about ongoing projects.

Where would one go to read about scientific research results from your agency?

Results from projects funded by NSF are published in peer reviewed journals across all disciplines. The NSF Award Database lists publications associated with NSF awards. The Arctic Data Center posts publications based on data funded by the Arctic Sciences Section.

In terms of budget, approximately how big is your agency’s investment in Arctic research?

The NSF budget varies annually and investments in science are based on peer review of the proposals received. The Arctic Sciences Section invests approximately $100M per year in Arctic research. With other programs funding Arctic science across NSF, the investment in Arctic research can be more.

What are your agency’s funding priorities over the next two years?

The NSF Director has described three pillars for NSF:

  1. Strengthening Established NSF through investments that expand the frontiers of knowledge and technology.
  2. Inspiring Missing Millions using interventions and capacity building that enhance and broaden participation.
  3. Accelerating Technology and Innovation through innovative, cross-cutting partnerships and programs.

In NSF's FY 2024 Budget Request, these three pillars infuse four major themes:

  1. Advance Emerging Industries for National and Economic Security.
  2. Build a Resilient Planet.
  3. Create Opportunities Everywhere.
  4. Research Infrastructure.

The Arctic Research Opportunities solicitation invites proposals that advance a fundamental, process, and/or systems-level understanding of the Arctic's rapidly changing natural environment, social and cultural systems, and, where appropriate, to improve our capacity to project future change. The Arctic Sciences Section supports research focused on the Arctic region and its connectivity with lower latitudes. The scientific scope is aligned with the NSF Director's three pillars and the four major themes described above and with research priorities outlined in the Interagency Arctic Research Policy Committee (IARPC) five-year plan.

How does your agency coordinate and collaborate with other agencies to advance your mission in the Arctic?

NSF works with other agency partners to coordinate and at times co-fund research initiatives or coordinate logistics in the Arctic. These interactions can originate at different levels from PIs, to federal program managers, to senior management levels at the agencies. IARPC is the forum in which most communication takes place to coordinate and collaborate with other agencies. 

Activities in Alaska

Does your agency have office(s) in Alaska?

NSF is headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia and does not have offices elsewhere in the U.S. 

Does that office support research?


Where can one go to learn more about your agency’s presence in Alaska?

NSF funds research grants that are active in Alaska and provides funding to institutions within Alaska. This information is available on the OPP awards page and the Arctic Research Mapping Application mentioned above. NSF By the Numbers provides statistical and funding information for awards, NSF-funded institutions, funding rates, proposals evaluated, and obligations by fiscal year, including for Alaska.


Jennifer Mercer
Section Head
Arctic Sciences

Greg Anderson
Program Officer
Office of Polar Programs

NSF Links

GEO/OPP Funding Opportunities

Other Relevant Opportunities

Other NSF Links

IARPC Collaborations Links

Additional Useful Links