FY 2012 National Science Foundation Budget Request

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Publication date: 
18 February 2011

National  Science Foundation Director Subra Suresh’s opening remarks at Monday’s FY 2012  budget presentation provided the context for the 13.0 percent increase (as  compared to FY 2010) the Administration has requested.  Said Suresh:

“In  these challenging fiscal times, when difficult financial choices have to be  made to return our nation to solid financial footing, this budget request  reflects the confidence that the President is placing in NSF as an agency.

“While  domestic discretionary spending is being frozen overall, the President targets  scarce federal resources to the areas critical to winning the future. NSF is  one such investment.

“This  budget acknowledges that NSF not only innovates through its support of  fundamental research in all of the disciplinary areas, but also, through that  innovation, generates jobs, grows the economy, adds immeasurably to the global  store of knowledge and educates our workforce.”

NSF,  the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, and the research programs of the  National Institute of Standards and Technology have been put on a budget  doubling track.  President Barack Obama  is continuing an initiative launched by President George W. Bush in 2006  to double  funding for these agencies to ensure U.S. leadership in science and  technology.  Recommendations to double  this funding were made in the Rising Above the Gathering Storm reports, and  were the foundation for the original America COMPETES Act, and its recent  reauthorization. 

An  FY 2011 NSF appropriation bill has not been enacted.   The Administration is comparing its FY 2012  budget request to an adjusted FY 2010 appropriation, utilized in the below summary  of selected program budget changes.   Further information on the Administration’s budget request is available  here

Total  National Science Foundation:

Up  13.0 percent or $894.5 million from the FY 2010 adjusted level of $6,872.5  million to $7,767.0 million.

There  are six major components within the foundation’s budget request.  The first is:

Research  and Related Activities:

Up  12.4 percent or $689.6 million from $5,563.9 million to $6,253.5 million.

Within  the Research and Related Activities Account are the following selected  Directorates:

Engineering:  Up 22.1 percent or $164.4 million from $743.9 million to $908.3 million.

Geosciences:  Up 10.1 percent or $89.5 million from $889.6 million to $979.2 million.

Mathematical  and Physical Sciences: Up 6.0 percent or $80.9 million from $1,351.8 million to  $1,432.7 million.

Within  this Directorate are six Subactivities, including:

  • Astronomical  Sciences: Up 1.4 percent or $3.4 million from $245.7 million to $249.1 million.
  • Materials  Research: Up 6.0 percent or $18.1 million from $302.7 million to $320.8  million.
  • Physics:  Up 3.7 percent or $10.9 million from $290.0 million to $300.9 million.

A  second Account is:

Education  and Human Resources:

Up 4.4 percent or $38.4 million from $872.8 million to  $911.2 million.  A future FYI will  provide further information on the Administration’s STEM request.

The  third Account is:

Major  Research Equipment and Facilities Construction (MREFC):

Up 91.6 percent or $107.4 million from $117.3  million to $224.7 million. 

NSF  requested the following construction funding for five projects:

  • Advanced  LIGO:  $21.0 million
  • Advanced  Technology Solar Telescope: $10.0 million
  • Atacama  Large Millimeter Array: $3.0 million.   The budget document states this is “the last year of an eleven-year  project totaling an estimated $499.26 million.”
  • National  Ecological Observatory Network: $87.9 million
  • Ocean  Observatories Initiative: $102.8 million

The  budget document explains: “No MREFC funds are requested for the Alaska Region  Research Vessel (ARRV). The remaining project balance was provided through the  American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).”  Also, “No MREFC funds are requested for the  IceCube Neutrino Observatory in the FY 2012 Budget Request.  The FY 2010 Budget Request to Congress  requested $950,000, which represented the final amount necessary to complete  funding for the ten-year project, totaling an estimated $279.47 million.”

Other  budget Accounts include Agency Operations and Award Management, National  Science Board, and Office of Inspector General.