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.
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.
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.
The new CHIPS and Science Act outlines an ambitious vision for research infrastructure, encompassing large-scale science facility construction projects as well as initiatives in areas such as quantum computing, high-intensity lasers, and research reactors.
Following a year of negotiation, a partisan spending bill called the Inflation Reduction Act is expected to be signed into law within days, delivering the largest-ever federal response to climate change as well as $2 billion to bolster science facility projects at DOE national labs.
Following a month of intense activity in Congress, lawmakers have passed bipartisan semiconductor funding and innovation policy measures that have been in the works since the Trump administration. Meanwhile, Democrats also revived the fortunes of a partisan spending bill that includes funding for climate change mitigation as well as a significant boost for some science budgets.
At a House Science Committee hearing last week, Electron-Ion Collider Project Director Jim Yeck reported that without a higher budget he anticipates personnel crucial to the project will need to be laid off. Meanwhile, Fermilab Director Lia Merminga said that the flagship neutrino project LBNF/DUNE is progressing smoothly following a period of cost growth and schedule delays.