FYI Archive

NASA’s Science Mission Directorate received a 2% budget increase in fiscal year 2023, a small boost relative to other science agencies, and budgets are under strain across its portfolio.

The SBIR and STTR small-business R&D programs must implement significant new performance benchmarks and research security protections in response to a three-year renewal passed by Congress last fall.

FYI presents its annual list of 10 science policy stories to watch in the year ahead.

Major science and technology provisions in this year’s National Defense Authorization Act cover issues such as intelligence agencies’ adoption of emerging technology, biomanufacturing, the technological rivalry between the U.S. and China, and research capacity-building at minority-serving institutions.

Congress is working to pass fiscal year 2023 spending legislation by the end of this week. Although the finalized package falls well short of the ambitious funding targets set in the CHIPS and Science Act, it does include funding increases across science agencies that generally keep up with inflation and in some cases delivers double-digit percentage increases.

The National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore National Lab has performed a nuclear fusion experiment that released more energy than was applied to it. The accomplishment realizes an idea first posited six decades ago and will have applications in nuclear warhead stewardship, but using the method for practical energy generation remains a distant prospect.

DOE has finished allocating a one-time $1.55 billion boost to facilities and equipment projects across its Office of Science. Major priorities included shoring up funding for international projects and moving light source upgrades forward, while projects still in their earlier phases tended to receive lesser shares of the total.

The CHIPS and Science Act prescribes the mission of the Directorate for Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships that the National Science Foundation created early this year, establishing priority focus areas and authorizing new programs supporting technology commercialization, regional innovation, and workforce development.

An independent review has linked the recent one-year delay in the launch of NASA’s Psyche asteroid mission to staff shortages and inadequate communications across Caltech’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which is managing the project.

A month into fiscal year 2023, federal science agencies are facing a budget situation more complicated than any they have encountered in recent memory. While some programs are busy handling an influx of money from special spending legislation, others face uncertainties surrounding stopgap funding and whether Congress will meet targets set out in the CHIPS and Science Act.