FYI: The AIP Bulletin of Science Policy News

Documents Outline Impacts of NSF, DOE Science Funding Shortfalls

Richard M. Jones
Number 28 - February 25, 2008   |  Search FYI  |   FYI Archives  |   Subscribe to FYI

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The National Science Foundation and the DOE Office of Science have prepared the following documents outlining the impacts of the FY 2008 Consolidated Appropriation Act on their programs:

National Science Foundation: [Complete document with added capitalized headings]

NSF - FY 08 Omnibus impacts

Despite House and Senate votes in 2007 that were at or above the President’s FY08 budget request, NSF received $364 million less in the omnibus legislation than its request.

As a result, a number of activities will not proceed as presented in the FY08 budget request to Congress, and thousands of faculty researchers, graduate students, undergraduates and post-docs will be impacted. The major reductions are from the Research & Related Activities account (down $327 million from the request) and Education and Human Resources (down $25 million).

Major agency-wide impacts

  1. 1,000 fewer new research grants (15% below request) will be awarded
  2. 230 fewer Graduate Research Fellows (8% below request)
  3. More than 3,000 senior faculty researchers, graduate students, post-docs and undergrads in research impacted
  4. Several major solicitations and new facilities delayed for at least a year, and some existing facilities reduced
  5. Faculty Early Career Development and Research Experience for Undergraduate programs reduced
  6. Astronomy grants programs flat
  7. Expansion of Science of Science and Innovation Policy delayed
  8. Supercomputing and advanced networking reduced $64 million below request

Deferred Solicitations

Several program solicitations scheduled for 2008 will be deferred until 2009. These total roughly $25 million. Major areas include:

A new program solicitation in Computer & Information Science & Engineering for development of a competitive computer science workforce, and a new Cyberinfrastructure program solicitation designed to integrate research and education through cyber-infrastructure.

Office of Polar Program’s Climate Change and Changing Seasonality in the Arctic solicitation. This solicitation represents 10-12 awards, affecting approximately 60 faculty, 12 post-docs and 24 students, and delaying a greater understanding of the impacts of climate change on the environment.

Several Mathematical & Physical Sciences solicitations will also be deferred including: American Competitive Initiative Fellows program, Discovery Corps Fellowship, Undergraduate Research Centers, and a new Astronomy program to help young investigators start instrumentation careers.

Engineering solicitation in the area of cyber-physical systems.

Reduced Programs

Many programs across the agency, including much of the core research, will have to scale back their planned activities in 2008. Approximately 1,000 fewer research grants will be awarded. Specific examples include:

Geosciences participation in the interagency Ocean Research Priorities Plan is reduced by $12 million (to a total of $5 million for this year).

Computer & Information Science & Engineering must reduce research support across all computing fields by more than $21 million, resulting in approximately 50 fewer transformative research grants awarded.

The Major Research Instrumentation program is reduced by more than $20 million.

The number of Graduate Research Fellowships declines by about 230 awards.

DataNet, an activity supported by Office of Cyberinfrastructure I, will be scaled back by
$8 Million.

Other reductions include: Engineering’s Complexity in Engineered and Natural Systems, ENG’s Engineering Virtual Observatories, Social, Behavioral & Economic Science’s Complexity and Interacting Systems in the Human Sciences, Science of Science and Innovation Policy, Office of International Science & Engineering’s co-funding of international activities, and Education and Human Resource’s Discovery Research K-12 and Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate.

Office of Polar Program’s, Antarctic Division will reduce new starts, affecting approximately 80 faculty, 16 post-docs and 32 graduate students, and substantially reducing the Division’s success rate.

Centers

Startups of several planned centers will not occur in FY 2008. These include:

Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers (2-3 Centers deferred)

Physics Frontier Centers (3 Centers deferred)

Other deferred centers are the Center for Research at the Interface of the Mathematical and Biological Sciences and the Phase II Center for Chemical Innovation.

Deferall of Maintenance / Operations / Equipment Upgrades

The impact of the FY 2008 budget on facilities throughout the NSF portfolio is substantial.

Office of Polar Programs will defer several activities, including McMurdo operations and maintenance and South Pole Station upgrades, an impact of about $30 million.

Geoscience’s Integrated Ocean Drilling Program and EarthScope operations are also significantly reduced.

Other facilities impacted include: Academic Research Fleet, Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory, and Cornell Electron Storage Ring operations, National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, National Opptical Astronomy Observatory (to refurbish and modernize facilities), and Oyberinfrastructure ‘s High Performance Computing system acquisition.

Department of Energy Office of Science

Last December, Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) sent Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman a letter asking for "an analysis by DOE of the effect of funding levels contained in the [Consolidated Appropriations] Act on DOE's energy and fundamental science R&D programs. The analysis should address both the overall funding of major DOE programs and the impact on Departmental scientific facilities and National Laboratories. To the extent that Congress has specifically directed funding of activities in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, I would like to understand how that Congressional direction will affect DOE R&D activities."

In response, Secretary Bodman sent Bingaman a five-page letter on February 4 that details the impacts that the FY 2008 outcome will have on the Office of Science. The first paragraph of his letter states: "I am concerned about the funding levels provided to support DOE'S scientific research missions, and I am particularly concerned about the levels provided to the Office of Science. The cuts made to the Administration's FY 2007 and FY 2008 funding requests will have real consequences at many of our National Laboratories; some of those consequences are outlined in the points below. In addition, the diminished opportunity for research funding will be felt at more than 300 public and private research universities supported by the Office of Science across the country."

The remainder of Secretary Bodman's letter can be read at:
http://energy.senate.gov/public/_files/SignedlettertoSenBingamanrequest0.pdf
This letter also includes an attachment: "Estimated Major Layoffs and Hires at National Laboratories and Universities, Result of FY 2008 Appropriations for the Department of Energy's Office of Science."

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