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FYI Number 158: December 3, 2003

Appropriators Complete NIST, NIBIB, Education Budgets

As explained in FYI #157, the seven remaining unfinished appropriations bills have been combined into a massive omnibus funding bill, H.R. 2673. The following are selections from H. Rept. 108-401 pertaining to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, the NIH Roadmap Initiative, and the Math-Science Partnership Program within the Department of Education.

NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY:

The FY 2004 budget cycle saw a continuation of the struggle over the Advanced Technology Program of the National Institute of Standards and Technology. While both the Bush Administration and the House of Representatives supported dramatic cuts leading to the termination of ATP, the final bill provides funding to keep the program in place. First, the numbers:

The conferees made a significant reduction in overall NIST funding. After adjusting the conference report number for the required 0.59% across-the-board-reduction, the institute's budget for FY 2004 is $624.4 million. This is a cut of 11.8% or $83.1 million from last year's budget of $707.5 million. The Bush Administration requested $496.8 million.

All FY 2004 numbers have been adjusted for the required 0.59% reduction.

NIST:SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL RESEARCH AND SERVICES

This budget contains funding for the NIST laboratories and the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Program. After subtracting out the $5.7 million for the award program, the remaining budget for the laboratories for FY 2004 is $336.7 million. This is a cut of 4.3% or $15.2 million from last year's laboratory budget of $351.9 million. The Administration requested $381.8 million.

NIST:INDUSTRIAL TECHNOLOGY SERVICES

Advanced Technology Program: The conferees provided $178.1 million for this program. This is essentially flat funding for this program, as last year's budget was $178.0 million. The Administration requested $27 million to cover only "administrative and other expenses needed to terminate" this program. The conference report states: "The conference agreement does not include a $50,000,000 new program as proposed by the Senate for ATP focused competitions on homeland security technologies. The conferees agree that a focused competition on homeland security technologies should be held out of the $60,700,000 provided for new awards."

Manufacturing Extension Partnership: The conferees provided $39.4 million for this program. This is a cut of 62.8% or $66.5 million from last year's budget of $105.9 million. The Administration requested $12.6 million.

NIST:CONSTRUCTION OF RESEARCH FACILITIES

Conferees provided $64.6 million for "the construction and major renovations of the NIST campuses at Boulder, Colorado, and Gaithersburg, Maryland." The Administration requested $69.6 million. The report states: "The conference agreement provides sufficient funding to complete the new Advanced Measurement Laboratory in Gaithersburg, Maryland and the conferees expect occupancy by 2005. The conference agreement adopts, by reference, language proposed by the Senate regarding a facilities improvement plan."

Other parts of the omnibus bill contains funding levels and in one case, program direction, for other research accounts.

NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH: NIBIB and ROADMAP INITIATIVE

NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF BIOMEDICAL IMAGING AND BIOENGINEERING: The bill provides $287.2 million (adjusted) for NIBIB for FY 2004. This is an increase of 3.2% or $8.9 million from last year's budget of $278.3 million. The Administration requested $282.1 million. There was no policy report language pertaining to NIBIB.

NIH ROADMAP INITIATIVE: As reviewed in /fyi/2003/130.html, the director of NIH released a "roadmap initiative" in October that includes multidisciplinary research. The conference report states: "The conference agreement includes language proposed by the Senate authorizing the Director of NIH to enter into agreements to carry out research in support of the NIH roadmap initiative. The House bill did not include such a provision. This provision has been included to assess the merits of this funding approach and to demonstrate whether this funding mechanism would accelerate the research agenda. The conferees direct the Director of the NIH to enter into these agreements solely on the basis of scientific merit, opportunity for medical breakthroughs and urgency of need. It is the conferees intent that these funds be obligated solely at the discretion of the Director of NIH. The conferees understand that all awards would be subject to a competitive process. The language in this Title appropriating funds for the Office of the Director of NIH includes a limitation of $7,500,000 which may be used under the authority created in this general provision."

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION: MATH AND SCIENCE PARTNERSHIPS:

The conference agreement provides $149.1 million for this program in FY 2004. This is an increase of 48.5% or $48.7 million from last year's budget of $100.4 million. The Administration requested $12.5 million. There was no policy language in the conference report. The National Science Foundation also has a Math and Science Partnership Program; the FY 2004 budget for the foundation's program is $139.2 million.

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

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