The House and Senate have passed H.R. 3288, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2010 and sent it to President Barack Obama for his signature. Under this bill, funding increases for the National Science Foundation by $436.1 million or 6.7 percent over the FY 2009 appropriation.
A Joint Explanatory Statement provides the appropriators’ recommendations regarding the foundation. Selections from this Statement in House Report 111-366 follow. The entire report can be read here (see last entry.)
Over-all National Science Foundation:
FY 2009 appropriation: $6,490.4 million (does not include stimulus funding)
FY 2010 request: $7,045.0 million, an increase of $554.6 million or 8.5 percent
FY 2010 appropriation: $6,926.5 million, an increase of $436.1 million or 6.7 percent
The report stated:
“The conference agreement includes $6,926,510,000 for the National Science Foundation (NSF), consistent with the ongoing effort to double the agency's budget over a ten-year period.
“The conferees are concerned with continuity in the level of support for research and development at the National Science Foundation and reiterate concerns expressed by the House that the request for fiscal year 2011 should represent at least a seven percent increase for NSF over the conference agreement level for fiscal year 2010 in order to sustain the planned doubling of the Foundation's budget.
“The conferees support House direction to the Foundation to convene a panel of experts to survey pre-K to 12 schools that are highly successful in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and submit a report of the findings and recommendations of this panel to the Committees within 180 days of the enactment of this Act.”
Research and Related Activities:
FY 2009 appropriation: $5,183.1 million (does not include stimulus funding)
FY 2010 request: $5,733.2 million, an increase of $550.0 million or 10.6 percent
FY 2010 appropriation: $5,617.9 million, an increase of $434.8 million or 8.4 percent
The report stated:
“The conference agreement transfers $54,000,000 from NSF to the United States Coast Guard (USCG) for icebreaking services to cover all anticipated operation and maintenance costs for fiscal year 2010. The conferees expect that in future years all operation and maintenance budget authority for these USCG icebreakers will be requested by the Department of Homeland Security.
“Within the funds provided, the conferees direct NSF to maintain funding at the levels requested for the following activities:
Cyber-enabled discovery and innovation
Science and engineering beyond Moore's law
Adaptive systems technology
Dynamics of water processes in the environment
National Radio Astronomy Observatory
“In addition, the conferees support House direction on high-risk, high-reward basic research; funding for research on ocean acidification; support for 2,000 graduate research fellowships across all of NSF; climate change education; and funding of EPSCoR. Beyond these requirements, the conferees expect NSF to accommodate the reduction from the request based on its judgment of where funding will be used most effectively.
“The conferees support the direction in the Senate report with respect to VORTEX2.
“The conferees direct NSF to transfer $100,000 to the National Academy of Sciences as directed by the House.
“Hydrology, terrestrial ecosystems and soils- The conferees see the need for an appropriate mechanism to bring together the hydrology research community and better integrate the different types of data and observing systems and enhance support of hydrology modeling, and to institutionalize this mechanism. The conferees also see the need for an appropriate mechanism to bring together the terrestrial ecology and soils research communities. NSF is directed to report its recommendations on the need for and establishment of mechanisms in these two areas with the budget request for fiscal year 2011.
“Gemini telescope- The conferees recognize that the Gemini international telescope agreement is scheduled for renewal in 2012. The United States currently has a 50 percent share in this project, which originated in 1992, and today includes the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Brazil, Argentina, and Chile as partners. Given the scientific importance of the Southern Hemisphere Gemini Observatory, NSF is encouraged to continue and, if possible on favorable terms, expand U.S. support in the upcoming renewal negotiations to acquire additional telescope time for NSF investigators.
“GLOBE- The conferees are aware that NSF continues to support the GLOBE program and encourage the agency to continue this support and to work with NASA and NOAA and to support the OSTP review of the program.
“EPSCoR- The conferees request that NSF examine new approaches and innovative efforts within EPSCoR to assist States within the program, including but not limited to, additional co-funding opportunities and EAGER awards, efforts to better ensure participation in new initiatives, and other activities as appropriate.”
Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction:
FY 2009 appropriation: $152.0 million (does not includes stimulus funding)
FY 2010 request: $117.3 million
FY 2010 appropriation: $117.3 million, as requested
The report stated:
“The conference agreement provides $117,290,000 for Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction, and prohibits funds from being used for reimbursement of the Judgment Fund. The agreement supports the following items at the indicated amounts:
Advanced LIGO $46,300,000
Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) 42,760,000
Advanced Technology Solar Telescope (ATST) 13,000,000
Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI) 14,280,000
Ice Cube 950,000"
Education and Human Resources:
FY 2009 appropriation: $845.3 million (does not include stimulus funding)
FY 2010 request: $857.8 million, an increase of $12.5 million or 1.5 percent
FY 2010 appropriation: $872.7 million, an increase of $27.4 million or 3.2 percent
The report stated:
“The conference agreement provides $872,760,000 for Education and Human Resources. The increase over the budget request is to support additional work in experiential learning as directed by the House with a substantial portion of the initiative focused on K-6 STEM education. The recommendation includes adjustments to the budget request for specific programs, as follows:
Discovery research K-12 +$10,000,000
Research and evaluation on education in science and engineering +2,500,000
Course, curriculum and laboratory improvement +2,500,000
“The conferees direct NSF to provide a report detailing plans to establish a Hispanic Serving Institutions--Undergraduate Program no later than 90 days following enactment of this Act. The conferees expect a significant funding request for such a program to be included in NSF's fiscal year 2011 budget request.
“The conferees are concerned that K-12 students need a better foundation in geographic literacy, and direct NSF to work with external partners with experience in geographic education to improve geography teaching, training and research in our Nation's schools.
“The conferees support the Foundation's request of $55,000,000 for the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship program.”