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February 2, 2010

Science Wins In 2011 Budget

Federal Spending: Overall R&D remains flat, but non-defense R&D jumps 6% in President's request

Susan R. Morrissey

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UPI/Mike Theiler/Newscom
The President shows continued support for R&D in his 2011 budget request.

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President Barack Obama, on Feb. 1, delivered to Congress a $3.8 trillion budget request, which includes $147.7 billion for federal R&D.

In keeping with the President's proposed spending freeze, the R&D component, including defense R&D, is up only 0.2% over the fiscal 2010 enacted level. For nondefense R&D, however, the President is seeking $66.0 billion, a 5.9%, or $3.7 billion, increase over the 2010 level. The additional funds are being spread across nondefense R&D agencies and used to support the Administration's priorities such as education and cleaner energy.

"We are fortunate to have in President Obama a leader who gets" how important science is to meeting our national needs, said John H. Holdren, assistant to the President for science and technology and director of the Office of Science & Technology Policy. He added that the President's spending freeze is not a "mindless" freeze, but rather a thoughtful process to make better investments.

The 2011 request keeps the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy Office of Science (DOE OS), and the National Institute of Standards & Technology on a 10-year budget doubling track. NSF is slated to get an 8.0% increase to $7.4 billion, DOE OS a 4.6% increase to $5.1 billion, and NIST a 7.3% increase to $918.9 million.

The National Institutes of Health will also see a budget increase of $1.0 billion to $32.1 billion dollars. This keeps the agency's budget ahead of inflation.

The National Aeronautics & Space Administration is also set to get a boost of $1.3 billion, for a total 2011 budget of $19.0 billion. The budget, however, cuts funding for the Constellation Program—which was aimed at developing the next generation space vehicles to get humans to the moon and beyond. Instead the President's request directs the funds towards a robust Earth science research program and a refocused human exploration program. The budget does include plans to extend the life of the International Space Station from 2016 to at least 2020.

Other areas set to see gains include climate change and clean energy research. The request provides $2.6 billion, a 21.0% increase from 2010, for the U.S. Global Climate Research Program, a multiagency initiative to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and move towards a clean energy economy. Additional funds will also go to DOE's Energy Frontier Research Centers, the Energy Innovation Hubs, and the Advanced Research Projects Agency.

A sizable increase is also proposed for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education. The 2011 budget invests $3.7 billion in programs at various federal agencies. Some $1 billion of that will be targeted at K-12 STEM education.

In addition to setting agency budget levels, the 2011 budget request also proposes to make the Research & Experimentation Tax Credit permanent.

Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
Copyright © 2011 American Chemical Society
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