FYI THIS MONTH: MAY 2007
HIGHLIGHTS OF DEVELOPMENTS IN WASHINGTON IMPACTING THE PHYSICS COMMUNITY FROM FYI, THE AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF PHYSICS BULLETIN OF SCIENCE POLICY NEWS
Audrey T. Leath, Richard M. Jones
fyithismonth@aip.org
ARPA-E: Legislation to establish an "Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy," as recommended in the National Academies' "Rising Above the Gathering Storm" report, is moving forward on both sides of Capitol Hill.

NASA SPACE SCIENCE: Several leading scientists warned a House panel that NASA's future funding plans for space science will stifle research and limit opportunities for the next generation of space scientists and engineers.

FY08 BUDGET RESOLUTION: The House and Senate have agreed on a budget resolution setting parameters for FY08 funding that would make available $27.6 billion for General Science, Space and Technology, a 10.1% increase over FY07. The budget resolution conference report includes supportive language on scientific research and STEM education. In anticipation of the appropriations bills, the Energy Sciences Coalition (which includes the American Institute of Physics and several of its Member Societies) sent a statement to leaders of the House and Senate Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittees, endorsing a minimum funding level equal to the FY08 request for DOE's Office of Science.

COMPETITIVENESS BILLS: In April the Senate passed a comprehensive S&T authorization bill, and now the House has combined several more narrowly-focused bills into a single piece of legislation that can be brought to conference with the Senate bill. The House bill includes previously-passed authorizing legislation on science and math education, NIST, and NSF. The NSF authorization included an amendment by Rep. Vern Ehlers (R-MI) that highlights the importance and complementary roles of the NSF and DoED Math and Science Partnership programs.

DOD AUTHORIZATION: A House-passed Defense Department authorization bill would authorize funding levels for DOD S&T that are higher than the Administration's FY08 request, but lower than current funding. Comparisons are difficult, however, because a portion of current appropriations are designated for earmarks rather than core programs. A Senate version is currently in progress.

MARBURGER ON S&T: In a recent speech, OSTP Director John Marburger commented on science policy and funding, visa and security issues, competitiveness legislation, earmarking, and other topics. Regarding university research, he said, "federal funding for science will not grow fast enough in the foreseeable future to keep up with the geometrically expanding research capacity." New capacity, he said, "can only be sustained by new revenue sources."

EDUCATION REPORTS: One new report on STEM education programs across the federal government finds that few have been rigorously evaluated and little is known about their impacts, while a document from the National Governors Association calls for more state and federal efforts to improve STEM education.