The House Appropriations Committee has completed its work on the VA, HUD, and Independent Agencies Appropriations Bill for FY 2004. Accompanying this House-passed bill is a report containing the recommendations of the committee. See FYI #93 for additional information on funding levels and percentage increases over the current year. The following are selections from this report (108- 235) pertaining to the National Science Foundation:
"Established in 1950, the National Science Foundation's primary purpose was to develop a national policy on science, and support and promote basic research and education in the sciences filling the void left after World War II. The Committee is committed to keeping the Foundation's current activities true to the founding purpose of supporting basic science."
The report provides funding levels for various programs, first warning that:
"no changes may be made to any account or program element if it is construed to be policy or a change in policy. Any activity or program cited in this report shall be construed as the position of the Committee and should not be subject to reductions or reprogramming without prior approval of the Committee."
RESEARCH AND RELATED ACTIVITIES:
The report recommends the following FY 2004 directorate funding levels:
Mathematical & Physical Sciences: Provided $1,107,745,000. Request was $1,061,270,000.
Engineering: Provided $560,067,000. Request was $536,570,000.
Geosciences: Provided $718,045,000. Request was $687,929,000.
Polar Programs: Provided $355,000,000. Request was $329,930,000.
Under Research and Related Activities, the committee stated:
"Except as specifically noted herein, in allocating the increases provided by the Committee, the Foundation should give the highest priority to increasing research opportunities for investigator initiated research in the core scientific disciplines. Should the NSF find it necessary to pursue funds for 'emergency' research needs at any time during the fiscal year, the Committee will make every effort to respond to appropriate reprogramming requests as quickly as possible.
"Within the funds made available for the Mathematical and Physical Sciences directorate, the Committee directs the NSF to use not less than $8,000,000 for planning and design activities for the Rare Symmetry Violating Processes program in an effort to accelerate the construction phase of this program.
"From within the Engineering, Mathematical and Physical Sciences, and Computer and Information Science and Engineering Directorates and the National Nanotechnology Initiative, the Committee is concerned that researchers are reaching the physical limits of current complementary metal oxide semiconductor process technology and that this will have significant implications for continued productivity growth in the information economy. The Committee encourages NSF to examine the challenges and timelines outlined in the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors and, where feasible, increase research support in this area accordingly.
"While the National Institutes of Health has principal responsibility for research involving human health and disease, NSF has historically played a critical role in funding long range basic research and technology development which have been critical to NIH's more focused mission. NSF's work on the basic chemical processes which made possible the mapping of the human genome is perhaps the best known example of this extraordinarily important collaboration. The Committee believes that the future of scientific advancement in both the physical sciences and the life sciences will increasingly rely on such collaborations and urges the NSF to work aggressively with NIH to determine how this research can be strengthened. The Committee has recently asked the NIH to convene a conference of all the stakeholder agencies within the Federal government whose missions involve the conduct or support of research at the scientific interface between the life sciences and the physical sciences. NSF is encouraged to play a leading role in this conference, which will hopefully occur during 2003. The Director should be prepared to testify to the Committee at NSF's appropriations hearings on the 2005 budget on the results of this conference as they relate to NSF and on any changes in resource allocations or management systems within NSF which would strengthen this critical area of research."
MAJOR RESEARCH FACILITIES CONSTRUCTION AND EQUIPMENT:
The committee report made funding recommendations for several large facilities of interest to the physics community:
Atacama Large Millimeter Array: Provided the request of $50,840,000.
EarthScope : Provided $43,530,000. Request was $45,000,000.
IceCube Neutrino Detector Observatory: Provided $42,000,000. Request was $60,000,000.
George E. Brown Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation: Provided the request of $8,000,000.
South Pole Station: Provided the request of $960,000.
Terascale Computing Systems: Provided $10,000,000. There was no request for funding.
National Ecological Observatory Network: Provided the request of $12,000,000.
Integrated Ocean Drilling Program: Provided $25,000,000. There was no request for funding.
The committee report stated:
"In 2003, the Committee provided funds in addition to the budget request in order to complete or accelerate construction of two NSF projects: $25,360,000 for completion of the HIAPER project and $24,700,000 to accelerate the IceCube Neutrino Detector Observatory. Consequently, the Committee recommendation has taken the 2003 funding levels into consideration and adjustments were taken accordingly.
"The Committee recommends $10,000,000 for the Terascale Computing Systems and $960,000 for the South Pole Station in 2004, the final year of funding for both of these projects.
"The Committee's recommendation includes $12,000,000 for a demonstration of the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) project as requested in the budget submission. The Committee cautions NSF that this funding is provided purely for two prototype sites to determine the scientific requirements and optimum configuration of the network. Further, before NSF deploys the two prototype stations and formulates future budget requests for this project, NSF must identify and quantify other Federal funding and observatory networks in order to avoid redundancy of Federal research dollars and reduce the overall cost of the NEON project. The Committee directs NSF to provide a preliminary report to the Committee no later than 18 months from the enactment of this legislation and a final report no later than 24 months after enactment. The Committee will not entertain further budget requests for NEON until the final report is submitted to the Committees on Appropriations.
"The Committee recommends $25,000,000 to start the construction phase of the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) in 2004 instead of 2005.
"The Committee recommends funding for the preliminary planning and design phase of the RSVP program under the 'Research and related activities' account."
EDUCATION AND HUMAN RESOURCES:
The committee report offered relatively brief comments on some of the foundation's education programs, and made the following funding recommendations:
Math and Science Partnerships: Provided $140,000.000. Request was $200,000,000.
EPSCoR: Provided $90,000,000. Request was $75,000,000.
Elementary, Secondary and Informal Education: Provided $204,450,000. Request was $194,450,000.
Undergraduate Education: Provided $146,440,000. Request was $142,100,000.
Graduate Education: Provided the request of $156,880,000.
Human Resource Development: Provided $106,710,000. Request was $103,410,000.
Research, Evaluation and Communication: Provided the request of $66,200,000.
The report states: "The Committee recommends $140,000,000 for the Math and Science Partnerships, while a decrease from the budget request, the funding level represents a $12,500,000 increase over the current year funding level."