The Senate Appropriations Committee has just released committee report
language recommending a 7.4% increase in funding for the National Science
Foundation for FY 2007. Senate appropriators reduced the $6,020.2 million
request for the foundation by $28.3 million. The Senate Departments
of Committee and Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations
Subcommittee is chaired by Richard Shelby (R-AL); the Ranking Minority
Member is Barbara Mikulski (D-MD).
The House-passed version of this bill, H.R. 5672, fully funds the Administration's
request. The NSF is in a strong position as it heads into this fall's
House-Senate conference committee which will determine the foundation's
final FY 2007 budget.
Accompanying this bill is Senate Committee Report 109-280. Selections
from this report follow; the full text will soon be available at http://thomas.loc.gov/
under "Other Legislative Activity - Committee Reports."
The Administration requested, and the House provided, an increase of
7.9% or $439.0 million, from $5,581.2 million to $6,020.2 million.
The Senate provided an increase of 7.4% or $410.5 million to $5,991.7
million. The foundation's request for Salaries and Expenses was reduced
by $24.7 million.
There is important language in the committee's report explaining the
approach taken by the Senate appropriators:
"NSF is at the leading edge of the research and discoveries
that will create the jobs and technologies of the future.
"The Committee has had to make difficult funding choices
within the amount provided to the Foundation for the coming fiscal
year. NSF plays a critical role in supporting fundamental research,
education and infrastructure at colleges, universities, and other
institutions throughout the country. Through these efforts, NSF provides
funds for discovery in many fields, but also holds the unique stewardship
within the Federal research and development enterprise of developing
the next generation of scientists and engineers. In order to preserve
NSF's intrinsic nature of providing basic research grants across many
scientific disciplines, the Committee has chosen to concentrate the
available funds to areas that will preserve the Nation's ability to
lead the world in the areas of basic research. Additional funding
above the amounts provided in fiscal year 2006 for both the research
and education accounts reflect this emphasis, as well as the desire
of the Committee to provide as much opportunity for the Nation's current
and future researchers.
"The Committee is fully supportive of the American Competitiveness
Initiative [ACI]. The funding levels anticipated for NSF will certainly
provide the vital funding that will broaden the Nation's understanding
in fundamental science disciplines. However, the Committee feels that
the ACI neglects the education work NSF does in support of research
across the country. Broadening participation to underrepresented groups,
such as women and minorities, in the sciences will only further the
goals of the ACI as proposed in the budget request. For this reason,
the Committee has chosen to redistribute a portion of the funds requested
as part of this new initiative."
RESEARCH AND RELATED ACTIVITIES:
The Administration sought, and the House provided, an increase of 7.7%
or $334.5 million, from $4,331.5 million to $4,666.00 million.
The Senate bill recommended an increase of 7.3% or $314.9 million,
to $4,646.4 million. This amount is $19,530,000 below the request.
The report stated:
"The Committee has provided the budget request of $386,930,000
for polar research activities. Within this amount $57,000,000 is provided
for icebreaking activities.
"The Committee recommends $101,220,000 for the Plant
Genome Research Program. The Committee remains a strong supporter
of this important program due to its potential impact on improving
economically significant crops. The Committee also recognizes its
vast potential in combating hunger in poor countries.
"The Committee recommends the requested amount of $50,740,000
for the operations of the National Radio Astronomy Observatories.
The operations, maintenance, and development of new instrumentation
at the Very Large Array, the Very Long Baseline Array, and the Green
Bank Telescope allow these world-class facilities to provide valuable
research into the origins of the universe.
"NSF has been the lead agency for the National Nanotechnology
Initiative, and will continue to contribute to this emerging technology.
The Committee recommends the full funding level requested for nanotechnology.
This level of funding will allow the Foundation to continue to be
the leader for this initiative. NSF is encouraged to make sure that
public misconceptions of this field are minimized.
"The Office of International Science and Engineering
[OISE] has worked to ensure that U.S. researchers are involved with
leading research across the globe. As research becomes more collaborative
- with partnerships reaching across nations, the work of this office
- identifying research opportunities around the globe - will grow.
The Committee supports the fiscal year 2007 funding request for OISE
in order to keep U.S. research at the forefront of global science."
EDUCATION AND HUMAN RESOURCES:
The Administration requested an increase of 2.5% or $19.6 million,
from $796.7million to $816.2 million.
The House bill would increase this budget by 4.5% or $35.8 million,
to $832.4 million.
The Senate bill recommended an increase of 4.9% or $39.1 million, to
$835.8 million. This amount is $19,530,000 above the request.
"The Committee strongly encourages NSF to continue support
for undergraduate science and engineering education. At a time when
enrollment in STEM fields of study continues to decline, it is important
that NSF use its position to support students working towards degrees
in these areas.
"NSF must play a significant role in attracting more
of the best and brightest students in the Nation into the science,
mathematics, engineering, and technology fields as part of the American
Competitiveness Initiative [ACI]. The Committee also urges NSF to
work towards increasing the number of women, minorities, and other
underrepresented groups to the greatest extent possible.
"To address the importance of broadening science and
technology participation is of concern to the Committee and the recommendation
provides funding amounts for the following programs: $32,000,000 for
Historically Black Colleges and Universities- Undergraduate Program
[HBCUUP]; $43,000,000 for the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority
Participation program; and $30,000,000 for the Science, Technology,
Engineering, and Mathematics Talent Expansion program.
"The Committee has included $110,000,000 for the Experimental
Program to Stimulate Competitive Research [EPSCoR], of which at least
$65,000,000 shall be used for the Research Infrastructure Improvement
[RII] component supporting research areas aligned with statewide EPSCoR
science and technology priorities. By providing additional funds for
the EPSCoR program, the Committee feels that the goals of the ACI
to keep the Nation competitive will be accomplished as the research
and development capacity of the country is expanded."
MAJOR RESEARCH EQUIPMENT AND FACILITIES CONSTRUCTION:
House and Senate appropriators provided all of the $237.3 million request
except for $3.0 million for the Judgement Fund of the U.S. Treasury
(Antarctic Program aircraft.) Current funding is $190.9 million. The
Senate report language is as follows:
"The Committee recommendation includes requested funding
for five continuing projects, as follows: $47,890,000 for the Atacama
Large Millimeter Array [ALMA]; $27,400,000 for EarthScope; $28,650,000
for the IceCube Neutrino Observatory; $42,880,000 for the Scientific
Ocean Drilling Vessel; and $9,130,000 for South Pole Station Modernization.
The Committee feels that the highest priorities within this account
are the projects that are currently under construction. (See http://www.aip.org/fyi/2006/084.html
for comparable House report language.)
"The Committee understands that ALMA has recently been
reviewed by NSF and may require additional funding beyond the amounts
requested within the fiscal year 2007 budget submission. If additional
funds are required for ALMA, the Committee will consider a reprogramming
of funds from within the resources provided in this account to accommodate
such funding needs.
"In addition, the recommendation also includes funding
for the following new projects: $56,000,000 for the Alaska Region
Research Vessel, which shall be home-ported in the same location as
the vessel it is replacing, the Alpha Helix; $13,500,000 for the Ocean
Observatories Initiative; and $12,000,000 for the National Ecological
Richard M. Jones
Media and Government Relations Division
American Institute of Physics