The National Science Foundation would receive a 7.9% increase in FY
2007 under the funding bill recently approved by the House Appropriations
Committee. H.R. 5672 was written by the Science, State, Justice and
Commerce Appropriations Subcommittee that is chaired by Frank Wolf (R-VA);
Alan Mollohan (D-WV) is the Ranking Minority Member.
H.R. 5672 fully funds the Bush Administration's request for the foundation
The House Appropriations Committee has now completed bills that fully
fund all three of the major agency budget components of the American
Competitiveness Initiatives: the DOE Office of Science's 14.1% increase
), National Institute of Standards and Technology's research laboratory
budget that would increase by 18.3% (see http://www.aip.org/fyi/2006/081.html)
and the NSF funding recommendation. The Energy and Water Development
Appropriations bill has already passed the House. H.R. 5672 will be
considered this week by the full House. (The Senate Energy and Water
Development Appropriations Subcommittee will mark up its bill tomorrow.)
The following are excerpts from House Report 109-520 regarding the
overall NSF and the Research and Related Activities and Major Research
Equipment budgets. See forthcoming FYI #85 for the Education and Human
Resources report language. The entire report maybe read at http://thomas.loc.gov/
NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION (Up 7.9% or $439.0 million from
"The Committee recommendation includes a total of $6,020,012,000
for the National Science Foundation (NSF), which is $438,846,000 above
the current year funding level and the same as the request."
RESEARCH AND RELATED ACTIVITIES (Up 7.7% or $334.5 million from
"The Committee recommends a total of $4,665,950,000 for Research
and Related Activities. The recommendation is $334,467,000 above the
fiscal year 2006 level and the same as the request.
"The Committee strongly supports the increased funding for
basic scientific research proposed in the President's American Competitiveness
Initiative for fiscal year 2007. The increase provided for fiscal year
2007 is intended as the first year of a ten-year doubling of the Federal
investment in innovation-enabling research supporting high-leverage
fields of physical science and engineering.
"The recommendation does not include specific funding allocations
for each directorate or for individual programs and activities. If there
are any deviations from the allocations proposed in the President's
budget request . . . the Committee shall be notified accordingly.
"The recommendation includes language providing up to $485,000,000
for Polar research and operations support, as requested. The recommendation
continues the appropriation of funding to NSF for the procurement of
polar icebreaking services related to NSF's mission. The Committee expects
the NSF to continue to reimburse the Coast Guard for icebreaking services
related to NSF's mission in fiscal year 2007. The appropriation of this
funding to NSF does not transfer to NSF the responsibility for maintenance
and long-term modernization costs of the Coast Guard icebreaking fleet,
as such action would irresponsibly jeopardize the nation's primary source
of funding for critical basic scientific research. While using Coast
Guard capabilities may be necessary to meet fiscal year 2007 requirements,
the Committee expects NSF to continue efforts in pursuit of alternative,
more economical, icebreaking solutions for 2007 and beyond. The Committee
directs NSF to pursue the most cost-effective means of obtaining icebreaking
services in the Antarctic for the 2006-2007 season, including, but not
limited to, reimbursing the Coast Guard on a mutually agreed upon basis
for the operations and maintenance of the U.S. polar icebreaking fleet.
The Committee also strongly encourages NSF to continue to study and
develop alternative and innovative means of meeting the logistics requirements
of maintaining permanent research stations in Antarctica.
"The recommendation includes language that allows funds provided
in this account to be available for innovation inducement prizes. The
concept of inducement awards to encourage broad involvement in solving
a specifically stated scientific problem has been a catalyst for scientific
advancement since at least the early 18th century. The Committee expects
NSF to continue work begun in fiscal year 2006 with the National Academies
to craft a prize or categories of prizes that would be of an appropriate
scale and to develop the rules and conditions for awarding such prizes,
and report back to the Committee on plans to initiate a prize program
in fiscal year 2007. The Committee strongly encourages NSF to use this
mechanism, particularly in programs that specifically emphasize innovation,
to focus on high risk/high payoff research projects. The recommendation
also includes language clarifying that the NSF has the authority to
accept donations for specific prize competitions. The Committee strongly
encourages NSF to leverage private sector involvement in a prize program.
"The Committee commends NSF for its Silicon Nanonelectronics
and Beyond program and its partnership with the Nanoelectronics Research
Initiative, which involves the sponsorship of research in the areas
of information technology and electronics. The Committee encourages
NSF to continue its support for such research in fiscal year 2007."
MAJOR RESEARCH EQUIPMENT AND FACILITIES CONSTRUCTION (Current
year budget of $190.9 million):
"The Committee recommends a total of $237,250,000 for the major
research equipment and facilities construction account for fiscal year
2007, an increase of $46,369,000 above the fiscal year 2006 funding
level and $3,000,000 below the request. This account provides funding
for the construction of major research facilities that provide unique
capabilities at the cutting edge of science and engineering.
"The Committee recommendation includes requested funding for
five continuing projects, as follows: $47,890,000 [full request] for
Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA); $27,400,000 [full request] for
EarthScope; $28,650,000 [full request] for the IceCube Neutrino Observatory;
$42,880,000 [full request] for the Scientific Ocean Drilling Vessel;
and $9,130,000 [full request] for South Pole Station Modernization.
In addition, the recommendation includes initial funding for three new
project starts, as follows: $56,000,000 [full request] for the Alaska
Region Research Vessel; $13,500,000 [full request] for the Ocean Observatories
Initiative; and $11,800,000 [$12.0 million requested] for the National
Ecological Observatory Network. The recommendation does not include
$3,000,000 requested to reimburse the Judgment Fund of the U.S. Treasury
[Antarctic Program aircraft]."
"The Committee is aware that the NSF has recently completed
a detailed re-examination of the ALMA project. The United States' cost
for completing the new baseline is estimated to be 45 percent higher
than originally projected. Although a part of the increase is due to
rising labor and material costs, some of these new liabilities are the
result of management problems, in particular, the lack of partner integration
and centralized decision making that can potentially cause cost growth.
While the recommendation includes the full request for the ALMA project
for 2007, the NSF is directed to submit a report to the Committee by
October 1, 2006, on how it intends to correct the overall management
and project issues. In the event that there are additional ALMA funding
requirements in fiscal year 2007, the Committee expects NSF to submit
a reprogramming of funds from lower priorities or new starts in accordance
with the procedures set forth in section 605 of this Act."