“Let me begin with the numbers. First, the Big Picture. NSF is requesting $6.43 billion dollars. That's an increase of nearly $409 million, or 6.8 percent above the 2007 Request. Funding at this level will keep us on the course set by the President's American Competitiveness Initiative. ACI aims to expand federal research investments over the next ten years to drive innovation and sharpen America's competitive edge. Our task in this ambitious undertaking is to energize the nation's leadership in fundamental research and education that keeps America at the leading edge of innovation. “- National Science Foundation Director Arden Bement
Under the Bush Administration’s FY 2008 budget request, the National Science Foundation would be approximately kept on the doubling path recommended in last year’s American Competitiveness Initiative. Under this request, total funding would increase from the FY 2007 request of $6,020.2 million to $6,429.0 million, an increase of 6.8 percent or $408.8 million. The House-passed FY 2007 funding bill that is now awaiting Senate consideration would provide $5,916.2 million
NSF estimates that if the full FY 2008 request was provided, the number of competitive awards would increase from the FY 2007 estimate of 10,765 to 11,300. The funding rate would increase from 24 percent to 26 percent. Research grants would increase from 6,900 to 7,435, and the funding rate from 20 percent to 21 percent. The average annualized research grant award size and duration would also increase.
Detailed information on the request can be found in the “NSF FY 2008 Budget Request to Congress” located at http://www.nsf.gov/about/budget/fy2008/index.jsp Click on “Table of Contents,” which leads to comprehensive descriptions of present and planned activities for programs and facilities. The EDUCATION AND HUMAN RESOURCES Division budget will be summarized in a future FYI.
The FY 2007 appropriations bill for the NSF is awaiting action in the Senate. The House-passed resolution would provide full funding of the FY 2007 request for Research and Related Activities. It is likely that the Senate will not change this funding level. While the following percentage changes are based on the FY 2007 request, in this instance, the request will probably match the actual FY 2007 funding level.
MATHEMATICAL AND PHYSICAL SCIENCES:
FY 2008 funding would increase 8.9 percent or $102.7 million, from the FY 2007 request of $1,150.3 million to $1,253.0 million. FY 2006 funding was $1,086.6 million. The budget document states: “Increases funding for fundamental research in the MPS disciplines. Themes include cyberinfrastructure, complex systems and emergent behavior, physical sciences at the nanoscale, Physics of the Universe and Elementary Particle Physics, fundamental mathematical and statistical science, and sustainable use of energy and natural resources. Support is increased for facilities design, operation, and instrumentation development. Funds are also targeted for existing programs to strengthen education and broaden participation with an emphasis on discovery-based experiences for undergraduates. Support is also provided for the new NSF-wide investment in Cyber-enabled Discovery and Innovation.” Within this budget are the following divisions:
ASTRONOMICAL SCIENCES: Up 8.3 percent or $17.9 million, from $215.1 million to $233.0 million. FY 2006 funding was $199.8 million.
MATERIALS RESEARCH: Up 9.8 percent or $25.1 million, from $257.5 million to $282.6 million. FY 2006 funding was $242.6 million. PHYSICS: Up 8.3 percent or $20.6 million, from $248.5 million to $269.1 million. FY 2006 funding was $234.2 million.
FY 2008 funding would increase 6.3 percent or $47.2 million, from the FY 2007 request of $744.9 million to $792.0 million. FY 2006 funding was $704.0 million. The budget document states: “Increases support for research across the geosciences, with emphases on understanding global environmental issues and natural disasters; support for the research priorities presented in the Ocean Research Priorities Plan; support for operations of a new Scientific Ocean Drilling Vessel; operational support for EarthScope; and operations support for the initial elements of the Ocean Observatories Initiative.” Within this budget are the following divisions:
ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES: Up 6.2 percent or $14.0 million, from $226.9 million to $240.8 million. FY 2006 funding was $216.1 million.
EARTH SCIENCES: Up 7.2 percent or $11.0 million, from $152.3 million to $163.3 million. FY 2006 funding was $140.4 million. INNOVATIVE & COLLABORATIVE EDUCATION AND RESEARCH: Unchanged at $58.6 million. FY 2006 funding was $58.4 million. OCEAN SCIENCES: Up 7.2 percent or $22.2 million, from $307.1 million to $329.3 million. FY 2006 funding was $289.1 million.
FY 2008 funding would increase 8.7 percent or $54.8 million, from the FY 2007 request of $628.6 million to $683.3 million. FY 2006 funding was $585.5 million. The budget document states: “Increases support significantly for core research projects in ENG’s five priorities: Complex Engineered and Natural Systems, Energy and the Environment, Innovation, Manufacturing Frontiers, and Nanotechnology. Increased support is also provided for small business research programs, CAREER, and Nanoscale Science and Engineering Centers. Funding for Engineering Research Centers (ERCs) decreases as the number of centers supported drops by four to 15 ERCs as part of the transition to a new generation of ERCs. Support is also provided for the new NSF-wide investment in Cyber-enabled Discovery and Innovation.” Within this budget are the following divisions:
CHEMICAL, BIOENGINEERING, ENVIRONMENTAL AND TRANSPORT SYSTEMS: Up 16.5 percent or $20.5 million, from $124.4 million to $145.0 million. FY 2006 funding was $125.1 million. CIVIL, MECHANICAL AND MANUFACTURING INNOVATION: Up 14.4 percent or $21.9 million from $152.2 million to $174.1 million. FY 2006 funding was $148.8 million. ELECTRICAL, COMMUNICATIONS AND CYBER SYSTEMS: Up 16.1 percent or $13.1 million, from $80.9 million to $94.0 million. FY 2006 funding was $77.9 million. INDUSTRIAL INNOVATION AND PARTNERSHIPS: Up 6.9 percent or $8.3 million, from $120.1 million to $128.4 million. FY 2006 funding was $99.1 million. ENGINEERING EDUCATION AND CENTERS: Down 7.2 percent or $9.1 million, from $126.0 million to $116.9 million. FY 2006 funding was $124.0 million. EMERGING FRONTIERS IN RESEARCH AND INNOVATION: Unchanged at $25.0 million. No funding in FY 2006.
OFFICE OF POLAR PROGRAMS
Up 6.1 percent or $26.8 million from $438.1 million to $464.9 million. FY 2006 funding was $390.5 million. The budget document states: “Increases support for development of remote sensing instrumentation and the initial operations of the IceCube Neutrino Observatory. OPP will continue to support education and outreach with a focus on International Polar Year (IPY) activities. Support is increased for efforts to diversify resupply of the U.S. Antarctic Program (USAP), support infrastructure improvements at South Pole Station, and to replace USAP software systems. Support increases for safety and health measures. The final components of the South Pole telescope will be delivered and installed. As part of IPY, support will increase for Climate Change research.” The following components are within this budget:
ARCTIC SCIENCES: Up 7.5 percent or $6.7 million, from $89.6 million to $96.3 million. FY 2006 funding was $74.2 million. ANTARCTIC SCIENCES: Up 13.2 percent or $7.5 million from $57.0 million to $64.5 million. FY 2006 funding was $48.2 million. ANTARCTIC INFRASTRUCTURE AND LOGISTICS: Up 5.3 percent or $12.1 million from $228.6 million to $240.7 million. FY 2006 funding was $203.2 million. POLAR ENVIRONMENT, SAFETY & HEALTH: Up 9.5 percent or $0.6 million, from $5.9 million to $6.5 million. FY 2006 funding was $5.0 million. US COAST GUARD ICEBREAKING: Unchanged at $57.0 million. FY 2006 funding was $59.9 million.
A different section of the budget is for MAJOR RESEARCH EQUIPMENT AND FACILITIES CONSTRUCTION. FY 2008 funding would increase 1.8 percent or $4.3 million, from the requested FY 2007 level of $240.5 million to $244.7 million. However, the House-passed resolution does not provide this requested increase for this year: FY 2006 funding was $233.8 million. The budget document states: “NSF requests funding for one new start in FY 2008: the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory [$32.8 million]. The FY 2008 Budget Request also provides funding for six ongoing projects: the Alaska Region Research Vessel; the Atacama Large Millimeter Array; the IceCube Neutrino Detector Observatory; the National Ecological Observatory Network; the Ocean Observatories Initiative and the South Pole Station Modernization Project.”