Doubling of NSF Budget over Five Years Proposed. (from the Hill)

Article excerpt

House Science Committee Chairman Sherwood L. Boehlert (R-N.Y) and Research Subcommittee Chairman Nick Smith (R-Mich.) have proposed a National Science Foundation (NSF) reauthorization bill that would set the agency on a track to double its budget over the next five years.

Calling NSF research critically important to the economy, national security, health, and education, Boehlert presented the bill (H.R. 4664) at a May 7 press conference alongside a bipartisan group of cosponsors, including the ranking member of the research subcommittee, Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Tex.). The legislation would provide annual 15 percent increases for NSF over the next three years, boosting its budget from $4.8 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2002 to $7.3 billion in FY 2005. If the budget continued on this trajectory, it would reach $9.6 billion in FY 2007, twice the total for FY 2002.

"Congress has quite properly committed to doubling the budget of the National Institutes of Health," Boehlert said. "But NIH does not and cannot fund the full range of research activities the nation needs to remain prosperous and healthy. NSF has the broadest research mission of any federal science agency and the clearest educational mission. It needs the funding that goes with that expansive--and expensive--mandate."

The funding provided by the bill would be spread fairly evenly across the agency, with mathematics and nanotechnology research singled out for particularly large increases. The legislation would also encourage greater transparency in procedures for selecting major research projects and better cooperation with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in funding astronomy research. …