A letter is now in circulation in the House of Representatives asking the chairman and ranking member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and Science to support the Administration’s $6.43 billion request for the National Science Foundation. Constituent interest in this letter will be an important factor in the number of representatives who sign this letter.
On March 19, Rep. Vernon Ehlers (R-MI), Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ), and Rep. Bob Inglis (R-SC) sent a letter to their House colleagues asking them to sign a letter to subcommittee Chairman Alan Mollohan (D-WV) and Ranking Member Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ). The deadline for signatures for this letter is March 29.
Members of Congress receive many “Dear Colleague” letters. These letters are far more likely to be responded to when constituents contact their representative or senator. See http://www.aip.org/gov/commcong.html for guidance on communicating with Congress. Note that government resources should not be used to contact Members of Congress.
As stated in FYI #19, “NSF estimates that if the full FY 2008 request was provided, the number of competitive awards would increase from the FY 2007 estimate of 10,765 to 11,300. The funding rate would increase from 24 percent to 26 percent. Research grants would increase from 6,900 to 7,435, and the funding rate from 20 percent to 21 percent. The average annualized research grant award size and duration would also increase.” See http://www.aip.org/fyi/2007/019.html for additional information on the request.
The American Physical Society is maintaining the following website with information on representatives who have signed this NSF letter, and senators who have signed letters in support of the NSF and the DOE Office of Science: http://www.aps.org/policy/issues/research-funding/fy08signers.cfm
The Ehlers, Holt, Inglis letter, which also requests additional funding for the NSF’s Education and Human Resources Directorate, follows:
“Dear Chairman Mollohan and Ranking Member Frelinghuysen,
“Thank you for the consistent bipartisan support your Committee has demonstrated for the National Science Foundation (NSF), most recently in the FY 2007 Continuing Resolution. We ask that you continue this support by upholding the Administration's budget request of $6.43 billion for the NSF. We also ask that if additional funds become available that you devote at least $200 million above the request for the Education and Human Resources Directorate to support NSF work in education.
“Recent history has shown that students are keenly aware of the opportunities created by investment in research and technology. When the National Institutes of Health funding was doubled, many students recognized the opportunities and moved accordingly - their innovations have made the U.S. the global leader in the life sciences and biotechnology. That seed money fostered high-income, highly desirable jobs and entrepreneurial companies that lead the 21st century economy. We now need to make similar investments in the physical sciences and engineering.
“Many NSF educational programs have researched learning techniques with proven results. For example, one cohort of high school students who participated in NSF's Math and Science Partnership (MSP) program showed a 17 percent improvement in mathematics proficiency within two school years.
“A renewed commitment to core basic research and educational programs at NSF is essential to meet the enormous promise of scientific innovation, to better train future scientists, engineers, and technicians, and to promote the success of multidisciplinary initiatives, including biotechnology and nanotechnology.
“Past investments in NSF have contributed greatly to major technological advances in areas and industries that are critical for U.S. economic growth and defense. We respectfully request that you continue the flow of such advances in the FY08 budget by funding NSF at $6.43 billion and increasing education funding by $200 million.”
Richard M. Jones
Media and Government Relations Division
American Institute of Physics