The House appropriations bill for the Department of Energy would maintain funding for the Office of Science at current levels, while the Senate bill would increase it by 3 percent to $5.55 billion. Advanced computing stands out as a clear winner in both bills and the longstanding rift between the chambers on funding for the ITER fusion facility persists.
At a hearing on the National Institutes of Health budget request, senators firmly rejected President Trump’s proposal to slash biomedical research funding and pressed NIH Director Francis Collins on the proposed 10 percent cap on facilities and administration cost reimbursements.
The National Science Foundation is mulling how aggressively to pursue its 10 big ideas for future investment, which were crafted to justify budget increases but face an uncertain future in the current budget climate.
At a meeting this month, top officials at the National Institute of Standards and Technology provided insight into how they are grappling with the possibility of deep budget cuts while also seeking to better situate the measurement science and standards agency for the future.
Earlier this month, two Senate subcommittee hearings addressed R&D and innovation at the Defense Department. Witnesses praised DOD’s existing innovation policies and department laboratories’ special administrative authorities. But they pressed for better access to military construction funds and described the administrative barriers that prevent lab leaders from fully using their authorities.
The Defense Science Board has released its Defense Research Enterprise Assessment, presenting conclusions of a year-long task force study of Defense Department laboratories and technology centers. The assessment recommends the labs be granted greater managerial independence and a stronger role in acquisitions and the formulation of technology requirements.
At a House Science Committee hearing, Republican and Democratic committee members squared off on the question of whether regulatory activity at EPA currently meets high standards of scientific quality or requires reform. Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) also used the hearing to air a new allegation of scientific misconduct at NOAA.
In his final public speech in D.C., Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz rolled out the first annual report on the state of the Department of Energy national laboratories alongside an enhanced scientific integrity policy that now applies to all DOE employees, including those at the labs.
Both the House and Senate have passed the fiscal year 2017 “National Defense Authorization Act." The NDAA is a bill, passed annually, that authorizes and sets policy for defense programs at the Defense and Energy Departments, including defense R&D.
NSF is currently undertaking a formal process by which it will determine whether or not to divest from the Arecibo and Green Bank Observatories, with final decisions for each facility expected within the next year and a half.