The current draft text states:
Collectively, NSF projects should help to advance a broad set of important national goals, including:
- Increased economic competitiveness of the United States.
- Development of a globally competitive STEM workforce.
- Increased participation of women, persons with disabilities, and underrepresented minorities in STEM.
- Increased partnerships between academia and industry.
- Improved pre-K–12 STEM education and teacher development.
- Improved undergraduate STEM education.
- Increased public scientific literacy and public engagement with science and technology.
- Increased national security.
- Enhanced infrastructure for research and education, including facilities, instrumentation, networks and partnerships.
It does seem, though, that this list isn't particularly theory-friendly. Cryptographers can point to national security; my algorithmic work can certainly point to academia-industry partnerships and economic competitiveness. But more complexity-related proposals, or algorithmic proposals with less clear immediate practical applications -- where do they fit in? Should it be a national goal to support more theoretical research with long-term and unclear payoffs? (I think so, particularly as that sort of research is generally relatively very cheap and has potential for huge benefits.) How would you place such research in the above Broader Impact context, or should a new bullet be added? What else would you add?