National Science Foundation Director Arden Bement described the FY 2006 budget request as follows: "For FY 2006, the National Science Foundation is requesting $5.605 billion. That's $132 million, or 2.4 percent, more than in FY 2005. This modest increase allows us to assume new responsibilities, meet our ongoing commitments, and employ more staff – with little room for growth in research and education programs. This means we'll all have to keep working to leverage resources and work more productively."
NSF was one of the few S&T agencies that would see a budget increase in FY 2006 under the request that the Bush Administration submitted this week. Following in the wake of Congress' decision to cut NSF's budget this year, the Administration's request would restore some, but not all of the agency's budget to its former level. The numbers spell this out: in FY 2004 the NSF budget was $5,652.0 million. The current budget is $5,472.8 million. The request for next year is $5,605.00 million. These numbers are not adjusted for inflation.
The $132 million increase includes the transfer of $48 million from the Coast Guard to the foundation for operation and maintenance costs associated with three polar icebreakers used in Antarctic and Arctic research. Allowing for this transfer results in a requested increase of $84.0 million for NSF.
Under the request, the NSF Research and Related Activities budget would increase by 2.7% or $113 million, from $4,220.6 million to $4,333.5 million. The Administration requested a cut of 12.4% or $104.4 million in the budget for Education and Human Resources, from $841.4 million to $737.0 million. The request for Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction rose significantly: by 44.0% or $73.4 million, from $173.7 million to $250.0 million.
Requests for budgets tracked by FYI follow, with selections from the NSF budget document. Readers interested in the specifics of the Administration's request should consult http://www.nsf.gov/about/budget/fy2006/toc.htm . The NSF request for Education and Human Resources will be reviewed in a forthcoming FYI that will include the Department of Education's math and science education programs.
MATHEMATICAL AND PHYSICAL SCIENCES DIRECTORATE: The Administration recommended an overall increase of 1.5% or $16.4 million from $1,069.9 million to $1,086.2 million. Within this directorate:
The PHYSICS Division's budget would increase 2.3% or $5.2 million from $224.9 million to $230.1 million. The budget document states: "Increased support for core research and education programs with emphasis on physics of the universe and theoretical physics, including additional support for new applicants to the program. Increased funding for operations of the Large Hadron Collider balanced by a decrease for the Cornell Electron Storage Ring and a decrease reflecting completion of concept and design funding for the Rare Symmetry Violating Processes (RSVP) project."
The ASTRONOMICAL SCIENCES Division's budget would increase 1.8% or $3.5 million from $195.1 million to $198.6 million. The budget document states: "Increased support for research and instrumentation development related to the physics of the universe and cyberinfrastructure, as well as Gemini operations and instrumentation development. Decreases for other areas of research and instrumentation program."
The MATERIALS RESEARCH Division's budget would increase 2.2% or $5.2 million from $240.5 million to $245.7 million. The budget document states: "Increased support for research and education and center activities related to nanoscale science and engineering balanced by decreasing support for older facilities and small-scale instrumentation."
GEOSCIENCES DIRECTORATE: The Administration recommended an overall increase of 2.2% or $14.9 million from $694.2 million to $709.1 million. Within this directorate:
The ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES Division's budget would increase 2.7% or $6.4 million from $233.4 million to $239.8 million. The budget document states: "Increased support will target the following areas: the operation of the High-performance Instrumented Platform for Environmental Research (HIAPER), which begins full operation in FY 2006; the operation of the Advanced Modular Incoherent Scatter Radar (AMISR); and improved cyberinfrastructure and numerical models which will allow new discoveries, greater access to atmospheric data, and improved understanding of the atmospheric environment."
The EARTH SCIENCES Division's budget would increase 3.4% or $5.1 million from $149.0 million to $154.1 million. The budget document states: "Increased support focuses on operational and scientific support of the EarthScope facility, which is being constructed through the MREFC Account, and improving the cyberinfrastructure available to earth scientists."
The OCEAN SCIENCES Division's budget would increase 1.1% or $3.5 million from $311.8 million to $315.2 million. The budget document states: "Areas receiving increased funding support include developmental activities related to the Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI), operation of the academic research fleet, and development of advanced ocean research cyberinfrastructure."
ENGINEERING DIRECTORATE: The Administration recommended an overall increase of 3.5% or $19.4 million from $561.3 million to $580.7 million.
The BIOENGINEERING AND ENVIRONMENTAL SYSTEMS Division's budget would increase 5.1% or $2.5 million from $48.2 million to $50.7 million.
The CHEMICAL AND TRANSPORT SYSTEMS Division's budget would increase 4.9% or $3.2 million from $65.8 million to $69.0 million.
The CIVIL AND MECHANICAL SYSTEMS Division's budget would increase 2.7% or $2.2 million from $82.0 million to $84.2 million.
The DESIGN AND MANUFACTURING INNOVATION SYSTEMS Division's budget would increase 5.6% or $3.6 million from $63.9 million to $67.4 million.
The ELECTRICAL AND COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEM Division's budget would increase 3.8% or $2.7 million from $71.6 million to $74.4 million.
The ENGINEERING EDUCATION AND CENTERS's budget would increase 2.1% or $2.7 million from $127.1 million to $129.7 million.
The OFFICE OF INDUSTRIAL INNOVATION's budget would increase 2.5% or $2.6 million from $102.8 million to $105.3 million.
OFFICE OF POLAR PROGRAMS: The Administration recommended an increase of 12.4% or $42.6 million, from $344.4 million to $386.9 million. Within this account, the U.S. POLAR RESEARCH PROGRAMS' budget would increase 15.4% or $42.6 million, from $276.8 million to $319.4 million. The U.S. ANTARCTIC LOGISTICAL SUPPORT's budget would be unchanged at $67.5 million. It is important to note that $48 million is being provided so that "NSF will assume the responsibility, from the U.S. Coast Guard, for funding the costs of icebreakers that support scientific research in polar regions."
MAJOR RESEARCH EQUIPMENT AND FACILITIES CONSTRUCTION: The Administration requested an increase of 44.0% or $76.4 million, from $173.7 million to $250.0 million. The budget document states:
"NSF believes that the highest priority within the MREFC Account must be the current projects. To that end, highest priority in FY 2006 is to continue to request funding for the Atacama Large Millimeter Array ($49.24 million); EarthScope ($50.62 million); the IceCube Neutrino Observatory ($50.45 million); the Scientific Ocean Drilling Vessel ($57.92 million); and Rare Symmetry Violating Processes ($41.78 million).
"NSF is requesting no new starts in FY 2006.
"Two new starts are requested in FY 2007, and one new start is requested in FY 2008. In priority order, these are: Ocean Observatories in FY 2007; the Alaska Region Research Vessel in FY 2007; and Advanced LIGO in FY 2008."