NSF’s commitment to global partnerships

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We live in a time of profound change in terms of how
scientific and engineering research is performed, and how findings are
communicated. New discoveries can emerge in unexpected places, and research
powerhouses can rise or relocate with remarkable speed thanks to the
globalization of the scientific workforce and the flexibility technology has
given researchers. NSF has been a crucial agent of that change, for
decades investing in research that continues to break new ground and impact the
marketplace.

To continue its trajectory of positive impact on a global
scale, NSF is reshaping its approach to international partnership. The agency
is closing its offices in China, Japan and Belgium, and moving to a new
strategy for impactful, leveraged global engagement. This takes form in a new program
called MULTIPLIER (MULTIPlying Impact Leveraging International Expertise in
Research), in which the aim is to explore potential cooperative ventures with
researchers and research organizations around the globe. 

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The agency will execute MULTIPLIER missions that deploy
small teams of NSF staff (often coupled with external scientists or engineers)
to visit various international sites that offer U.S. scientists and engineers
promising opportunities for content-specific collaborations that advance
scientific frontiers. These teams will be custom-suited for each deployment,
with subject matter and international expertise tailored to the mission.

NSF has a rich history of facilitating international
research collaboration and building and maintaining scientific contacts
worldwide. Its community of support has a clear understanding of the scientific
dividends derived from frequent and creative international
cooperation. For example, NSF-funded researchers working with foreign
partners helped discover the molecular mechanisms that govern our circadian
rhythms – the “biological clocks” of organisms – that affect everything from
our behavior to our metabolism. These collaborative results produced findings
with profound implications for medicine. Another example is the international
consortium advancing gravitational wave astronomy. Both of these efforts
resulted in recent Nobel prizes.

NSF will strive to identify new scientific frontiers,
employing the MULTIPLIER program to engage researchers around the world more
effectively. I am confident that this new approach, with its more focused
overseas scientific engagements, will yield valuable partnerships that drive
discovery and seed new technologies to benefit our global community.