"The National Science Foundation is requesting $5.036 billion
for FY 2003, $240 million or 5% more than the previous fiscal year.
For the United States to stay on the leading edge of discovery and innovation,
we cannot do less," declared NSF Director Rita Colwell at her
briefing on the FY 2003 request.
There are three major research components to the NSF budget.
Funding for Research and Related Activities would increase
5.1% to $3.78 billion. The Education and Human Resources
budget would increase 3.8% to $908 million. The Major
Research Equipment budget would decline 9% to $126 million.
Of note in the FY 2003 budget is the requested 11.3%
increase for nanoscale science and engineering. Graduate
stipends in three NSF programs would increase from $21,500 to
$25,000 for the academic year 2003-2004. Two new facility
projects would be started: the National Ecological Observatory
Network ($12 million) and Earthscope ($35 million.) $15
million would be allocated for a climate change research
initiative. Grant size would increase to an annual $120,000,
up $30,000 since 1998.
A closer look at the aggregate figures shows that of the $240
million requested increase, almost one-third, or $76 million,
results from the transfer of three programs from other
agencies: NOAA's National Sea Grant program would be
transferred to NSF for $57 million, USGS's toxic substances
hydrology research program would be transferred for $10
million, and $9 million would be moved from an EPA
environmental education program. An Office of Management and
Budget document stated that "these transfers will take
advantage of NSF's competitive culture and demonstrated
quality of results." At her briefing, Colwell said that she
had "no personal opinion" on the transfers, and would not
predict program changes that might occur as a result of the
transfers. After subtracting the transferred money, the
requested increase in the NSF budget is 3.3%, or $164 million.
Comparing this 3.3% increase (or the 5.0% unadjusted increase)
to other S&T agency requests provides perspective. The budget
for the Department of Energy's Office of Science would remain
flat. The National Institutes of Health budget would increase
Requests for physics-related programs follow. NSF's Education
and Human Resources budget request will be covered in a later
FYI. Figures compare the current budget to the requested FY
PHYSICS SUBACTIVITY: Down 1.3%, or $2.57 million, to $193.31
Lower priority research would be reduced $3.76 million, to be
offset partially by increased funding for Physics Frontiers
Centers. Facilities funding would increase by $190,000;
support would be terminated for IUCF, while funding would
increase for the Michigan State National Superconducting
Cyclotron Lab's radioactive ion beam facility and for LIGO.
This subactivity's budget would provide $60 million for high-
MATERIALS RESEARCH SUBACTIVITY: Down 0.1%, or $0.19 million,
to $219.32 million.
Funding would increase by $5.61 million to $70.93 million for
Nanoscale Science and Engineering and would increase for
Information Technology Research. Support would decline
approximately 4% for the National High Magnetic Field
Laboratory. Funding for lower priority research will be
ASTRONOMICAL SCIENCES SUBACTIVITY: Down 2.8%, or $4.61
million, to $161.25 million.
The budget document states that $64.32 million will be
allocated for research and instrumentation support to advance
cosmology and the origin and evolution of the universe and
planet and star formation. Support for the Gemini
Observatories would increase $340,000, NIAC support would
decline $400,000, NOAO funding would decline $1.0 million, and
the NRAO budget would decline $800,000. $4.0 million is
provided for the Telescope System Instrumentation Program.
GEOSCIENCES ACTIVITY: Up 13.4%, or $81.60 million, to $691.07
Within this activity are three subactivities. Atmospheric
Sciences Subactivity funding would increase 8.4%, or $16.9
million, to $218.92 million. Earth Sciences Subactivity
funding would increase 21.2%, or $26.74 million to $153.14
million. Ocean Sciences Subactivity funding would increase
13.5%, or $37.96 million, to $319.01 million. Note that the
NOAA, USGS, and EPA programs that would be transferred to NSF
would be placed in the Geosciences Activity. These transfers
total $74.09 million. Subtracting this amount reduces the
Geosciences Activity requested increase to 1.2%.
ENGINEERING ACTIVITY: Up 3.3%, or $15.66 million, to $487.98
Within this activity are six subactivities. Bioengineering and Environmental
Systems Subactivity funding would increase 5.0%, or $2.08 million, to
$43.87 million. The budget for the Chemical and Transport Systems Subactivity
would increase 3.8%, or $2.17 million, to $58.94 million. The Civil
and Mechanical Systems Subactivity budget would increase 3.0%, or $1.69
million, to $57.75 million. The Design, Manufacture, and Industrial
Innovation Subactivity budget would increase 3.7%, or $5.03 million,
to $141.23 million. The budget for the Electrical and Communications
Systems Subactivity would increase 2.9%, or $1.87 million, to $66.70
million. The Engineering Education and Centers Subactivity budget would
increase 2.4%, or $2.82 million, to $119.49 million.
The above research is funded through the NSF's Research and Related
Activities budget. Another component of the NSF budget is that for MAJOR
RESEARCH EQUIPMENT AND FACILITIES CONSTRUCTION, which "supports
the acquisition, construction, and commissioning of major research facilities
and equipment." Planning and design, and follow on operations and
maintenance expenses are provided through the Research and Related Activities
budget. Funding for the MREFC budget is down 9.0%, or $12.52 million,
to $126.28 million. Funding would continue for Atacama Large Millimeter
Array, Large Hadron Collider, Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation,
South Pole Station Modernization Project, and Terascale Computing Systems.
Two new projects would be started: Earthscope and the National Ecological
Observatory Network Phase I. NSF did not request funding for the IceCube
R&D project and the High-performance Instrumented Airborne Platform
for Environmental Research. The budget document notes that NSF is also
not requesting funding for the Rare Symmetry Violating Processes (RSVP),
the Ocean Observatories Initiative, and Scientific Ocean Drilling.
Another component of the NSF budget is that for U.S. POLAR
PROGRAMS. The request is up 2.0%, or $6.0 million over the
current year to $303.81 million. Funding for the U.S. Polar
Research Programs Activity would increase 2.6%, or $6.0
million to $235.75 million. Within this activity are five
programs. Arctic Research Program funding would increase
2.9%, or $1.06 million, to $37.84 million. Arctic Research
Support and Logistics funding would remain constant at $26.00
million. The budget for the Arctic Research Commission would
increase 5.9%, or $0.06 million to $1.08 million. The budget
for the Antarctic Research Grants Program would increase 1.7%,
or $0.68 million. The Operations and Science Support budget
would increase 3.3%, or $4.20 million, to $130.36 million.
Funding for U.S. Antarctic Logistical Support Activities would
remain level at $68.07 million.