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FYI Number 137: November 12, 2001

Congress Boosts FY 2002 NSF Budget by 8.4%

Congress has completed action on a bill that increases the National Science Foundation's budget by 8.4% in FY 2002. Congressional sources calculate that NSF's budget will rise by $373 million to $4,789 million. The Administration requested a 1.3% increase.

The FY 2002 budget for RESEARCH AND RELATED ACTIVITIES will increase 7.4% or $248 million to $3,598.3 million. Within this amount:

$300.0 million is provided for "polar research and operations support."

The Engineering budget will increase 8.5%, or $36.7 million to $467.5 million.

The Geosciences budget will increase 8.7%, or $48.5 million, to $610.7 million.

The Mathematical and Physical sciences budget will increase 8.4%, or $71.4 million, to $922.2 million. This budget funds the Physics, Astronomical Sciences, and Materials subactivities. The conference report language states: "Of the appropriated amount, $4,000,000 is provided for the Telescope Systems Instrumentation Program (TSIP) and $5,000,000 has been provided for astronomical sciences to augment individual investigator support. The conferees expect NSF to continue its program of upgrading, on a priority basis, its astronomical facilities and equipment, including the Greenbank Observatory and Robert C. Byrd Telescope in West Virginia, and the Very Large Array radio telescope in New Mexico. The conferees have also placed a high priority on mathematics research within the amounts provided for this activity."

Also within this section, the conference report language states that U.S. Polar Research Programs will increase 9.0% or $18.9 million to $229.7 million. U.S. Antarctic Logistical Support Activities will increase 9.3% or $5.8 million to $68.1 million.

The conference report also states that it "provides specific increases of $25,000,000 for information technology research, $25,000,000 for nanotechnology, and $12,500,000 for increased energy and fuel costs in the polar and ocean sciences as well as national facilities in physics and materials."

Regarding a contemplated underground physics laboratory in South Dakota, the conferees state: "The conferees have not included funds from within the NSF appropriation for maintaining the integrity of the Homestake Mine site in Lead, South Dakota and instead have provided funding from within the Community Development Fund under title II of this Act. While the conferees acknowledge the role NSF and the National Science Board will play in determining whether the mine is a suitable facility for proposed research, as well as whether such proposed research should be a priority for the NSF, it is not appropriate for NSF to maintain the mine until such determinations are made." In the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department section of the bill, the conferees provide $10.0 million "for the State of South Dakota to maintain the physical integrity of the Homestake Mine in preparation for the potential development of a major research facility on that site."

The FY 2002 budget for MAJOR RESEARCH EQUIPMENT AND FACILITIES CONSTRUCTION, a new budget category, is $138.8 million. The conferees included fairly extensive language on large facility management and oversight. In addition, they provided the requested amounts for the Large Hadron Collider and the Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation. $35.0 million was provided for "continued development, production, and instrumentation" of the High-Performance Instrumented Airborne Platform for Environmental Research (HIAPER); NSF had not requested funding for FY 2002. NSF requested $55.0 million for the Terascale Computing Program; appropriators provided only $35.0 million. The foundation requested $9.0 million through another budget for the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA); appropriators provided $12.5 million for initial construction. Finally, the bill includes $15.0 million for start-up costs for the IceCube Neutrino Detection project.

The FY 2002 budget for EDUCATION AND HUMAN RESOURCES will increase 11.4% or $89.4 million to $875.0 million.

The Math and Science Partnership program to improve science and math education will receive $160.0 million; NSF requested $200.0 million. The report states: "The Foundation is strongly urged to provide regular, detailed information to the Committees on Appropriations regarding the planning and execution of this new initiative."

EPSCoR will receive $80.0 million, with an additional $30.0 million from the Research and Related Activities budget for "research to be conducted at EPSCoR institutions."

Various amounts are specified for minority scholarship programs and initiatives and for the Office of Innovation Partnerships.

The conference report states that it provides $5.0 million "for a new undergraduate workforce initiative, which is to include a new, merit-based, competitive grants program for colleges and universities for increasing the number of undergraduate degree recipients in science and engineering, consistent with the provisions of S. 1549." (Technology Talent Act of 2001)

In addition, it provides "$105,500,000, an increase of $10,000,000 above the budget request, has been provided to increase graduate level stipends for the research and teaching fellowship programs and the trainee program administered by the Foundation through its Graduate Education subactivity. The conferees support increasing the graduate stipend leve lto $21,500 during fiscal year 2002 if funding permits."

Richard M. Jones
Media and Government Relations Division
American Institute of Physics
(301) 209-3095

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