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SPECIAL UPDATE: The President's FY2007 National Science Foundation Budget Request

(Posted 2-13-06)

This update was originally sent out as an e-mail message to AGI's member societies.

Arden Bement, the director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) presented an upbeat summary of the fiscal year 2007 (FY 2007) budget. His presentation contained various shades of green backgrounds which he indicated emphasized growth at NSF. NSF's budget will indeed grow by almost 8% as part of President Bush's "America's Competitiveness Initiative" that was announced in the State of the Union address. The initiative follows many of the recommendations of the National Academies report, "Rising Above the Gathering Storm," and is also consistent with legislation introduced in Congress in December 2005 and January 2006. Bement concluded by noting that NSF is among the top three federal agencies in grant management and that at NSF "we know what to do with increased funding". Below are the basic numbers for how NSF investments in future innovations will be spent in the coming year if the President's budget is supported in Congress.

The President's FY 2007 budget request for the National Science Foundation (NSF) provides a positive boost of 7.9% over FY 2006 levels for a total of $6.02 billion. Research and Related Activities would receive a 7.7% increase to $4.666 billion, Education and Human Resources would receive a 2.5% increase to $816 million and the Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction would rise by 26% to $240 million. Among the major National Science and Technology Council crosscuts, the Climate Change Science Program would rise by 4.3% to $205 million. Other crosscuts that would receive increases include the National Nanotechnology Initiative, the Networking and Information Technology and the Homeland Security.

The Geoscience Directorate would grow by 6% over FY 2006 levels to $744.85 million. Atmospheric Sciences would increase by 5% to $227 million, Earth Sciences by 8.7% to $152.3 million, Ocean Sciences by 6.5% to $307 million and the Innovative and Collaborative Education and Research (ICER) would grow by 0.3% to $58.6 million. The major facilities investments related to the geosciences include the completion and initial operations of HIAPER, $27.4 million to complete construction of EarthScope, $42.88 million to complete construction of the Scientific Ocean Drilling Vessel, $13.5 million to begin construction of the Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI) and $56 million to begin construction of the Alaska Region Research Vessel (ARRV).

NSF also provided projections of the number of people involved in Geoscience Directorate activities and the success rates of funding. People including senior researchers, other professionals, post-doctorates, graduate students and undergraduate students involved in activities in FY 2005 is estimated to be 10,446, for FY 2006 about 10,450 and in FY 2007 about 11,100. The statistics on competitive awards estimate that there were 1,321 awards in FY 2005 with an acceptance rate of 28%, for FY 2006 about 1300 with a rate of 27% and in FY 2007 a projected number of 1350 with a rate of 28%. The number of research grants is projected to grow from 1002 in FY 2005 to 1050 in FY 2007 with the annualized average award rising from $147,857 in FY 2005 to $149,000 in FY 2007.

During the questions and answers period, Arden Bement was asked about how much of NSF research will focus on energy issues. He replied that there were activities in several directorates that were focusing on hydrogen fuel technology and advanced chemical processes for renewable energy resources. Bement responded to a query about the impact on grants of the additional funding by estimating that there would be about 500 additional grants and 50 to 100 additional graduate fellowships affecting about 16,000 people. Responding to questions related to education programs, he offered support for undergraduate programs and indicated that the Math and Science Partnership program will see a 17% cut because there will be no new starts in FY 2007. A final question about the Antarctica icebreakers closed the discussion with Bement indicating that the icebreakers have not been refurbished and NSF will have to rely on the Coast Guard and others for logistical support at the south pole.

For more information about the President's budget request for NSF, please go to:


Special update prepared by Linda Rowan, Director of Government Affairs

Sources: National Science Foundation

Please send any comments or requests for information to the AGI Government Affairs Program.

Posted February 13, 2006

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