FYI Archive

The National Science Foundation is seeking to seed innovation ecosystems across the U.S. through regional “Engines” that fund partnerships between diverse groupings of organizations. The program is a major new component of the agency’s focus on expanding the “geography of innovation.”

David Applegate, a longtime U.S. Geological Survey official who has been nominated to lead the agency, discussed critical mineral supply chains and carbon sequestration with senators at his nomination hearing last month.

Congress followed the Biden administration's lead in delivering a moderate budget increase to the Department of Energy's Office of Science in the current fiscal year, but some lawmakers believe the office needs much more money than is being asked for to advance facilities projects and core research programs.

Mechanical engineer Evelyn Wang is on track to be confirmed as director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy, having received bipartisan praise from the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

The National Nuclear Security Administration’s budget is increasing steadily in support of work to reconstitute plutonium production capabilities and other key infrastructure supporting the nuclear weapons stockpile, though funding for some science programs is under pressure.

The National Institutes of Health received a $2 billion base-budget increase for fiscal 2022 as well as $1 billion to launch ARPA–H, a new agency designed to accelerate biomedical innovation. In fiscal year 2023, the Biden administration is seeking to ramp up funding for ARPA–H to $5 billion while leaving budgets for many other parts of NIH near their current levels.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s budget is increasing by about $450 million in fiscal year 2022, and the Biden administration is seeking a further $1 billion boost for the coming fiscal year. Top priorities include expanding the agency's climate information services and accelerating work on next-generation weather observation systems.

At a recent White House summit, fusion experts discussed ways to accelerate the development of commercial fusion energy and embed justice considerations into the foundations of the nascent industry.

The new National Academies decadal survey for planetary science prioritizes completion of the Mars Sample Return mission, new flagship missions to Uranus and Saturn’s moon Enceladus, and a slate of candidate concepts for medium-scale missions.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology’s base budget is increasing 3% for fiscal year 2022, despite the Biden administration’s bid to boost it by around 40% to nearly $1.5 billion. The administration is making a similar push this year in large part to bolster NIST’s role in fostering advanced manufacturing and emerging technologies.