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The National Science Foundation (NSF) is the nonmedical counterpart to the National Institutes of Health, an American federal agency for the support of pure research in all nonmedical fields of science. The NSF supports about one-fifth of the federally funded pure research at U.S. colleges and universities, and it is the predominant source of federal funding for economics, the social sciences, mathematics, and computer science. Pure research is research that is conducted to advance and expand knowledge and to answer questions raised by previous research, but not with the goal of solving specific problems. Invaluable to scientific fields, it tends not to attract private funding because of the lack of commercial potential and the possibility of producing results that, while they may benefit the field, ...

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