National Science Foundation

What is the correct gift for the 51st Anniversary?  According to the presidential budget request for NSF in FY 2002: the status quo. After receiving a record increase for its 50th Anniversary, NSF is marked for a 1.3% increase over last year's allocation to total $4.47 billion. In general terms, the NSF budget includes $3.3 billion for research and related activities, $872 million for education and human resources, and $96 million for major research equipment (MRE). Overall funding for the major research directorates is flat.  The Geosciences Directorate is down 0.6% and Polar Research programs are up 1.5%. Funding for MRE would include no new starts for this fiscal year -- EarthScope is on hold.

NSF's below-inflation increase reflects the president's plan to use his first budget to meet campaign promises, such as tax relief and increased education spending, while limiting discretionary spending to 4% growth. According to NSF Director Rita Colwell's budget briefing, Bush's education reform plan includes NSF as a key player in "re-stitching the web" of education. The Education/Human Resources (EHR) Directorate is marked for an 11% increase that is the first step in a proposed 5-year, $1 billion initiative to link primary and secondary education to higher education.  Under this education umbrella, stipends for graduate research fellowships, teaching fellowships for K-12 education, and Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeships would increase from $18,000 to $20,500.  The hope is that increased graduate stipends will help remove barriers to attracting science students to the teaching profession.

The Geoscience Directorate is basically unchanged from last year's allocation, requesting $558.5 million.  Atmospheric science support will total $186.5 million, a $2 million drop from last year.  Earth science programs are up a little under one percent to total $116.8 million -- $79.2 million for project support, $28.5 million for instrumentation and facilities, and $9.1 million for Continental Dynamics.  Ocean science support will total $255.3 million, a $2.7 million or 1% drop from last year.  Geosciences Directorate head Margaret Leinen noted in her budget presentation that NSF remains committed to the idea of EarthScope and that science funding in this budget cycle is on "pause" while the new administration looks at the bigger picture.

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Hearing on the National Science Foudation FY2002 Budget
Senate VA HUD Subcommittee