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FYI Number 41: March 31, 2003

Final FY 2003 National Science Foundation Appropriation

As previously stated, the lengthy struggle to enact the final FY 2003 appropriations bill has been followed, in some cases, by weeks of calculations by federal agency budget officers trying to determine their program numbers for this year. In order to make the numbers add up, adjustments were made by the appropriators in different parts of the 3,000+ page conference report. This FYI presents the "final" budget numbers for major programs within the National Science Foundation. These numbers are still subject to minor adjustments. Selections from the final conference report language in House Report 108-010 are provided.

First the numbers:

The TOTAL NSF Budget increases $501.4 million, or 10.4%, from $4,808.5 million in FY 2002 to $5,310.0 million in the current fiscal year.

The RESEARCH AND RELATED ACTIVITIES budget increases $457.8 million, or 12.7%, from $3,598.6 million in FY 2002 to $4,056.5 million in the current fiscal year.

The following budgets are within the Research and Related Activities budget:

The MATHEMATICAL AND PHYSICAL SCIENCES budget increases $114.0 million, or 12.4%, from $920.5 million in FY 2002 to $1,034.4 million in the current fiscal year.

The GEOSCIENCES budget increases $75.3 million, or 12.3%, from $609.5 million in FY 2002 to $684.7 million in the current fiscal year.

The ENGINEERING budget increases $58.3 million, or 12.3%, from $472.3 million in FY 2002 to $530.6 million in the current fiscal year.

The U.S. POLAR RESEARCH PROGRAMS budget increases $21.4 million, or 7.2%, from $297.8 million in FY 2002 to $319.2 million in the current fiscal year.

In other sections of the budget:

The MAJOR RESEARCH EQUIPMENT AND FACILITIES budget increases $9.7 million, or 7.0%, from $138.8 million in FY 2002 to $148.5 million in the current fiscal year.

The EDUCATION AND HUMAN RESOURCES budget increases $8.9 million, or 1.0%, from $894.3 million in FY 2002 to $903.2 million in the current fiscal year.

Conference report language regarding the overall budget for the National Science Foundation states: "In allocating this increased funding to the directorates, NSF is expected to give a high priority to increasing research opportunities for investigator initiated research in the core scientific disciplines. In addition, NSF is urged to use the growth in its resources to make a marked and substantial increase in the average award, as well as increase the number of awards being made with a particular effort to include those individuals and institutions not well represented in the Nation's research enterprise."

The following selections from the conference report pertain to physics-related programs. All of the amounts specified are subject to a reduction of 0.65%.

MATHEMATICAL AND PHYSICAL SCIENCES: The conference report states: "$1,041,165,000 for Mathematical and Physical Sciences. Of this amount, $179,617,000 is for Mathematics programs and not less than $222,169,000 is for Physical Science programs. The conferees further agree that adequate resources be provided in support of the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, the Cyclotron and Synchrotron Radiation Facilities, and other such important research facilities. The Foundation is directed to provide, by August 31, 2003, a report which documents what has been accomplished as a result of the growth in mathematics research funding.

"For Astronomical Sciences within the MPS Directorate, $4,000,000 is provided for the Telescope Systems Instrumentation Program (TSIP), $6,000,000 is for the National Radio Astronomy Observatory program, $4,200,000 is for the National Optical Astronomy Observatories, and $2,000,000 is for the National Optical Astronomy and Ionosphere Center. In addition, the conferees agree that NSF should provide adequate support for preparatory work for the Giant Segmented Mirror Telescope (GSMT)."

GEOSCIENCES: The conference report provides $689.2 million, and states: " The Foundation is expected to provide adequate funding to augment support for the national user facilities within this directorate as well as to move forward on the integrated ocean drilling program."

U.S. POLAR RESEARCH PROGRAMS: The conference report provides $252.3 million, and states: "The conferees agree that OPP [Office of Polar Programs] should report at the earliest practicable time on the necessary work and costs associated with the repair, upgrading, and replacement of NSF's research and support facilities in Antarctica. Upon completion of this report, funds available through this and other appropriations may be used for planning, design, pre-construction, and construction activities as identified in the report. In addition, the conferees agree that with the funds provided, OPP may execute necessary contractual arrangements in preparation for the Foundation's plan for mechanical traverse between McMurdo Station and Amundson-Scott South Pole Station."

A forthcoming FYI will review the conference report language regarding Education and Human Resources. The conference report also had considerable language regarding management issues and the role of the National Science Foundation.

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

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