The House Appropriations Committee has completed its work on the VA,
HUD, and Independent Agencies Appropriations Bill for FY 2004. Accompanying
this House-passed bill is a report containing the recommendations
of the committee. See FYI
#93 for additional information on funding levels and percentage
increases over the current year. The following are selections from
report (108- 235) pertaining to the National Science Foundation:
"Established in 1950, the National Science Foundation's
primary purpose was to develop a national policy on science, and support
and promote basic research and education in the sciences filling the
void left after World War II. The Committee is committed to keeping
the Foundation's current activities true to the founding purpose of
supporting basic science."
The report provides funding levels for various programs, first
"no changes may be made to any account or program element
if it is construed to be policy or a change in policy. Any activity
or program cited in this report shall be construed as the position
of the Committee and should not be subject to reductions or reprogramming
without prior approval of the Committee."
RESEARCH AND RELATED ACTIVITIES:
The report recommends the following FY 2004 directorate funding levels:
Mathematical & Physical Sciences: Provided $1,107,745,000. Request
Engineering: Provided $560,067,000. Request was $536,570,000.
Geosciences: Provided $718,045,000. Request was $687,929,000.
Polar Programs: Provided $355,000,000. Request was $329,930,000.
Under Research and Related Activities, the committee stated:
"Except as specifically noted herein, in allocating
the increases provided by the Committee, the Foundation should give
the highest priority to increasing research opportunities for investigator
initiated research in the core scientific disciplines. Should the
NSF find it necessary to pursue funds for 'emergency' research needs
at any time during the fiscal year, the Committee will make every
effort to respond to appropriate reprogramming requests as quickly
"Within the funds made available for the Mathematical
and Physical Sciences directorate, the Committee directs the NSF
use not less than $8,000,000 for planning and design activities
for the Rare Symmetry Violating Processes program in an effort
accelerate the construction phase of this program.
"From within the Engineering, Mathematical and Physical
Sciences, and Computer and Information Science and Engineering Directorates
and the National Nanotechnology Initiative, the Committee is concerned
that researchers are reaching the physical limits of current complementary
metal oxide semiconductor process technology and that this will have
significant implications for continued productivity growth in the
information economy. The Committee encourages NSF to examine the challenges
and timelines outlined in the International Technology Roadmap for
Semiconductors and, where feasible, increase research support in this
"While the National Institutes of Health has principal
responsibility for research involving human health and disease, NSF
has historically played a critical role in funding long range basic
research and technology development which have been critical to NIH's
more focused mission. NSF's work on the basic chemical processes which
made possible the mapping of the human genome is perhaps the best
known example of this extraordinarily important collaboration. The
Committee believes that the future of scientific advancement in both
the physical sciences and the life sciences will increasingly rely
on such collaborations and urges the NSF to work aggressively with
NIH to determine how this research can be strengthened. The Committee
has recently asked the NIH to convene a conference of all the stakeholder
agencies within the Federal government whose missions involve the
conduct or support of research at the scientific interface between
the life sciences and the physical sciences. NSF is encouraged to
play a leading role in this conference, which will hopefully occur
during 2003. The Director should be prepared to testify to the Committee
at NSF's appropriations hearings on the 2005 budget on the results
of this conference as they relate to NSF and on any changes in resource
allocations or management systems within NSF which would strengthen
this critical area of research."
MAJOR RESEARCH FACILITIES CONSTRUCTION AND EQUIPMENT:
The committee report made funding recommendations for several large
facilities of interest to the physics community:
Atacama Large Millimeter Array: Provided the request of $50,840,000.
EarthScope : Provided $43,530,000. Request was $45,000,000.
IceCube Neutrino Detector Observatory: Provided $42,000,000. Request
George E. Brown Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation:
Provided the request of $8,000,000.
South Pole Station: Provided the request of $960,000.
Terascale Computing Systems: Provided $10,000,000. There was no request
National Ecological Observatory Network: Provided the request of $12,000,000.
Integrated Ocean Drilling Program: Provided $25,000,000. There was
no request for funding.
The committee report stated:
"In 2003, the Committee provided funds in addition to
the budget request in order to complete or accelerate construction
of two NSF projects: $25,360,000 for completion of the HIAPER project
and $24,700,000 to accelerate the IceCube Neutrino Detector Observatory.
Consequently, the Committee recommendation has taken the 2003 funding
levels into consideration and adjustments were taken accordingly.
"The Committee recommends $10,000,000 for the Terascale
Computing Systems and $960,000 for the South Pole Station in 2004,
the final year of funding for both of these projects.
"The Committee's recommendation includes $12,000,000
for a demonstration of the National Ecological Observatory Network
(NEON) project as requested in the budget submission. The Committee
cautions NSF that this funding is provided purely for two prototype
sites to determine the scientific requirements and optimum configuration
of the network. Further, before NSF deploys the two prototype stations
and formulates future budget requests for this project, NSF must identify
and quantify other Federal funding and observatory networks in order
to avoid redundancy of Federal research dollars and reduce the overall
cost of the NEON project. The Committee directs NSF to provide a preliminary
report to the Committee no later than 18 months from the enactment
of this legislation and a final report no later than 24 months after
enactment. The Committee will not entertain further budget requests
for NEON until the final report is submitted to the Committees on
"The Committee recommends $25,000,000 to start the construction
phase of the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) in 2004 instead
"The Committee recommends funding for the preliminary
planning and design phase of the RSVP program under the 'Research
and related activities' account."
EDUCATION AND HUMAN RESOURCES:
The committee report offered relatively brief comments on some of the
foundation's education programs, and made the following funding recommendations:
Math and Science Partnerships: Provided $140,000.000. Request was $200,000,000.
EPSCoR: Provided $90,000,000. Request was $75,000,000.
Elementary, Secondary and Informal Education: Provided $204,450,000.
Request was $194,450,000.
Undergraduate Education: Provided $146,440,000. Request was $142,100,000.
Graduate Education: Provided the request of $156,880,000.
Human Resource Development: Provided $106,710,000. Request was $103,410,000.
Research, Evaluation and Communication: Provided the request of $66,200,000.
The report states: "The Committee recommends $140,000,000 for
the Math and Science Partnerships, while a decrease from the budget
request, the funding level represents a $12,500,000 increase over the
current year funding level."
Richard M. Jones
Media and Government Relations Division
American Institute of Physics