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FYI Number 31: March 16, 2005

AIP Endorses 7% Increase in DOE Office of Science Budget

The American Institute of Physics and two of its Member Societies have endorsed the Energy Sciences Coalition's FY 2006 Funding Statement for the Department of Energy's Office of Science. The coalition statement calls for a 7%, or $250 million, increase in the Office of Science's budget over the current year.

The Bush Administration's request that was sent to Congress in February recommended a 2.0% reduction in the total Department of Energy budget. The Office of Science's budget would be cut further: a 3.8% reduction was proposed. Under the President's request, the budget for the Office of Science for the fiscal year starting this October 1 would be 2.0% lower than it was for FY 2004. For further information on the budget request see http://www.aip.org/fyi/2005/016.html

The Energy Sciences Coalition includes scientific societies, universities, private industry, and research associations. Joining AIP in the endorsement of the Energy Sciences Coalition statement are two of its Member Societies: the American Physical Society and the Optical Society of America. The FY 2006 Energy Sciences Coalition (ESC) statement follows:

"Support a $250 million increase for the DOE Office of Science

"ESC supports FY 2006 funding for the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science of $3.85 billion, $250 million or 7 percent above the FY 2005 funding level. This level of funding would allow the Office of Science to move forward with the tremendous scientific opportunities outlined in its strategic and 20-year scientific facilities plans. ESC believes that this request is reasonable and necessary to keep United States science and engineering at the forefront of global research and development in the physical sciences. ESC is concerned that if the President's proposed 3.8 percent budget cut is enacted, the Office of Science will be forced to significantly reduce funding for its core research programs and substantially scale back operating times for its many user facilities -- which would mean that the U.S. would be cutting back its investments in critical areas of science while other nations are increasing theirs.

"7-percent funding increase is critical

"A 7 percent increase for the DOE Office of Science represents the minimum amount the Office of Science needs to begin implementing its strategic and 20-year plans. ESC believes that this additional funding should be divided as follows:

"One-third to maintain and strengthen DOE's core research programs, including those at universities;

"One-third to ensure efficient utilization of existing equipment and facilities; and,

"One-third to develop and construct the next-generation facilities necessary to maintain U.S. preeminence in scientific research.

"DOE Plays a Critical Role in Advancing U.S. Science

"DOE is the leading source of federal funds and facilities for research in the physical sciences, providing 42 percent of the federal investment in these disciplines. In subfields such as high-energy and nuclear physics, nuclear medicine, heavy-element chemistry, plasma physics and magnetic fusion and catalysis, DOE is the primary government sponsor. DOE also ranks high among federal agencies in overall support for research in computer science and engineering, and sponsors significant research and user facilities for the life and environmental sciences. DOE and its predecessor agencies have supported more than 65 Nobel laureates.

"DOE and Its User Facilities are a Unique Scientific Resource

"DOE's significant investment in major user facilities located at universities and national laboratories sets it apart from other research agencies. These facilities include large particle accelerators, experimental reactors, high-precision instruments, synchrotrons, massively parallel computers and high-resolution microscopes. More than 19,000 researchers use DOE's scientific facilities every year, nearly half of who are university faculty members and students. Were it not for DOE, these vital scientific facilities would not exist in the U.S.

"DOE-Funded Research is Advancing Scientific Frontiers and Improving Our Quality of Life

"Recent advances funded by the DOE Office of Science include the Nobel Prize-winning discovery of a new form of carbon, non-invasive detection of cancers and other diseases, improved computer models for understanding global climate change and new insights into the fundamental nature of matter and energy. The DOE Office of Science – not the National Institutes of Health – was the first federal agency to fund the Human Genome Project.

"DOE Provides Crucial Support for University Research and Students

"DOE directly supports the research of about 23,500 PhDs, postdocs and graduate students. Faculty and students also benefit substantially from their participation in research performed at the Department of Energy's national laboratories. DOE-funded research and education play a key role in strengthening the nation's scientific knowledge base and preparing the next generation of scientists and engineers."

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

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