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Marc Rothenburg


Marc Rothenberg is agency Historian of the National Science Foundation. Before coming to the NSF in 2006, he spent 30 years on the staff of the Smithsonian Institution, serving as Editor of the Joseph Henry Papers Project from 1985 through 2006. He is the past president of the Society for History in the Federal Government. More information on NSF history is available on the NSF website.

by   -   July 3, 2013

National Science Foundation (NSF) efforts to develop a mechanism to fund research proposals that had a high risk of failure, but which also had the potential for high return, began in 1980. In that year a task force was created by the NSF Advisory Council to look at the issue of “highly creative or innovative” proposals for which there was “a high risk of failure.”

The task force’s report identified two significant hurdles the NSF needed to overcome to support high risk/high return proposals: