An image composite showing someone using a cellphone, someone receiving medical treatment, a researcher in a lab, an illustration of two black holes, MRI scans, and other science-related imagery.

NSF Impacts

Next time you talk on a cell phone, hear a weather report, search the web, or get an MRI, remember the U.S. National Science Foundation helped make that all possible, and more.

Since 1950, NSF has invested in ideas and innovations that have shaped the modern world — pushing the boundaries of what's possible and deepening humanity's understanding of the world.

On this page you can explore NSF-supported research across all fields of science and engineering that power the American economy and touch everyone's lives.

Brought to you by NSF

Explore innovations and discoveries made possible through NSF support.

The internet

Drawing on DARPA's pioneering support for early computer networking projects, NSF funding catalyzed the creation of today's internet.

DNA amplification

Polymerase chain reaction, a lab technique that powers today's biotechnology sector, traces its roots to NSF funding.

3D printing

3D printing is spurring a manufacturing revolution in the U.S. thanks to decades of NSF investments.


Decades of NSF–funded research have improved the capabilities of the national Doppler radar network.

American Sign Language

NSF funding revolutionized education for deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals in the United States.

Detecting gravitational waves

Opened in 1999, LIGO was the first to detect gravitational waves: ripples in space-time.

Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

NSF investments helped chart the course for the technologies that use spatial data to make people's lives more convenient.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

One of the most widely used medical imaging technologies is rooted in decades of NSF-powered research.


The tools that keep badly behaving bots from taking over the internet were invented by NSF-funded researchers.

Kidney matching

Decades of NSF funding for economic and algorithm research has facilitated thousands of lifesaving kidney transplants every year.

Seeing black holes

Thanks to NSF support, international researchers have now captured images of two black holes, including the one at the center of the Milky Way galaxy.


One of the most popular language-learning tools got its start from NSF funding.

LASIK eye surgery

Decades of NSF funding supported the development of bladeless LASIK, which uses a laser instead of a scalpel to reshape a patient's cornea and improve their vision.

NSF investments

Learn about NSF's ongoing investments and impacts in major areas of research and innovation.

NSF by the Numbers

Explore NSF's investments in science and engineering across the nation and in your state by fiscal year.

NSF Funded Projects (Awards)

Explore our database of funded projects to learn what we're doing across the U.S.

NSF Fact Sheets

Learn about NSF's investments in your state and how the agency is catalyzing innovation in emerging technologies.

NSF Public Repository

Explore NSF-funded scholarly publications and datasets.

Keep exploring