Economic Stimulus Act’s Science Spending

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Publication date: 
23 November 2009

Last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Representatives Bill Foster (D-IL), Bart Gordon (D-TN), Rush Holt (D-NJ), Ed Markey (D-MA) and officials from the university community announced  a new web site providing information on how approximately $21 billion provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was awarded for research and development, scientific equipment, and science-related construction.   State-by-state data on this spending is now available at

There was significant emphasis on science and technology spending to support the transformation of the nation’s economy in the  $790 billion economic stimulus bill enacted in February.  The act appropriated $3 billion for the National Science Foundation, $1.6 billion for the DOE Office of Science, $400 million for the Advanced Research Project Agency-Energy, $580 million for NIST, $1 billion for NASA, and $10 billion for the National Institutes of Health.  Details on this funding in PL 111-5 are available here.  Additional funding was provided for energy technologies.

The web site was established by the Association of American Universities, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, and The Science Coalition.  The feature that will be of most interest to many users of the site are state-specific pages providing information on the total amount of stimulus funding, the number of grants awarded, and links to pages maintained by the National Institutes of Health, the DOE Office of Science, and the National Science Foundation detailing specific grants.  A map of the United States is the starting point for this data, and can be found here.  This site also has information on specific awards and other state-specific research news.

Speaker Pelosi’s participation in the Capitol Hill briefing announcing this site is indicative of her continuing strong support of S&T funding.  The text of her full remarks follow:

“First, I want to thank Congressman Rush Holt. A physics researcher before running for office, Congressman Holt helped ensure that the Recovery Act included a robust investment in scientific research. As co-chair of the R&D Caucus, he organized last year’s Princeton Roundtable.  As a former educator, he is leading the drive for excellence in math and science for our students, helping establish TEACH grants to open college doors to young people committed to teaching science and math after graduation.

“As chairman of the House Science and Technology Committee, Bart Gordon is a leading voice on innovation in Congress.  He authored the American COMPETES Act to improve math and science education, increase our investment in scientific research, and help our country achieve energy independence.

“Robert Shelton, the President of University of Arizona, has led Arizona to its ranking among the top public research universities nationwide. Its researchers in areas such as optics, water, and astronomy set the standard around the world.  The university is raising up the next generation of great American scientists and paving the way for innovation and cutting-edge research.

“Science Works for Us is leading the way in tracking our achievements in science and lighting the way to a greater commitment to research.  The web site - which highlights the way Recovery Act funds have made their way into academic laboratories - reflects what’s possible when smart investments in the public sector are placed in the hands of our scientists, innovators, and academies of higher learning. This initiative is built on a simple fact of our history: innovation rests at the heart of American success and leadership.

“From the scientific community to university campuses to the halls of Congress, all Americans are heirs to a tradition of innovation – a legacy that brought us radio and television, phone lines and the internet; a history that took us to the moon and laid the foundation for a clean energy future.  As President Kennedy said ‘The vows of this nation can only be fulfilled if we are first, and therefore, we intend to be first.  Our leadership in science and in industry, our hopes for peace and security, our obligations to ourselves as well as others, all require us to make this effort.’

“This legacy brought us together one year ago in Princeton: to renew our national commitment to basic scientific research; to continue our national conversation about the centrality of research, technology, and innovation to our economic recovery and long-term growth.  Under Congressman Holt’s leadership, that meeting ignited a spark of creativity for our recover efforts.
“The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was designed to both stimulate the economy and transform it. The bill included the largest funding boost for research in history, $3 billion for the National Science Foundation to expand employment opportunities, improve facilities, and bolster math and science instruction, $2 billion for the Department of Energy for basic research and laboratory improvements, $360 million for the National Institutes of Standards and Technology to help improve research science buildings at our universities, $220 million for research fellowships, equipment and competitive grants. These funds supported research at more than 140 universities and facilities nationwide, and created good-paying jobs in the process.

“The commitments of the Recovery Act are central to our ‘Innovation Agenda’ –  policies that understand that our competitiveness relies on a sustained financial and intellectual investment in innovation.  This strategy led us to accelerate funding for basic research, create the next generation of advanced research entities like ARPA-E, pass the American COMPETES Act to provide the legislative framework for these commitments.  As the Science Works for Us website will show, that investment is paying off across the country.

“Science Works for Us is setting the stage for the next great chapter of American innovation.  Through this web site and our ongoing support for researchers across the country, we will ensure that the Recovery Act was not the end of our investment in innovation, but the beginning of a sustained commitment to science.  Working with all of our partners, we know we can build on our legacy of scientific achievement and open new doors to the technologies of tomorrow.”