The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 "to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense…" With an annual budget of about $6.06 billion, NSF is the funding source for approximately 20 percent of all federally supported basic research conducted by America's colleges and universities. In many fields such as mathematics, computer science and the social sciences, NSF is the major source of federal backing.
The Division of Arctic Sciences in the Office of Polar Programs (OPP) supports scientific research in the Arctic, related research, and operational support.
Science programs include disciplinary, multidisciplinary, and broad, interdisciplinary investigations directed toward both the Arctic as a region of special scientific interest and a region important to global systems. Disciplinary interests encompass the atmospheric, biological, physical, earth, ocean, and social sciences. The Arctic System Science Program provides opportunities for interdisciplinary investigations of the Arctic as a system. OPP also encourages research relevant to both polar regions, especially glaciology, permafrost, sea ice, oceanography, and ecology.