Clinton backs US research
Feb 2, 1998
Funding for basic research in the US will rise by 8% if President Clinton's budget request for next year is approved by congress. And if a proposed Research Fund for American gets the go-ahead, research funding will increase by 32% between now and 2003.
The good news is contained in the budget request for the fiscal year 1999 (FY99), which begins in October. The National Science Foundation will receive 10% more than this year, while science and technology at the Department of Energy is in line for a 3% rise. However, the request contains bad news for NASA - a cut of 3%. Funding for applied research across all government agencies will rise by 5%, while the total amount of research money that reaches universities is due to increase by 6%.
The director of the National Science Foundation (NSF), Neal Lane, called the request "an unprecedented vote of confidence in the Foundation and in the importance of investing in science and engineering." Of the $3773m requested for the NSF, $792m is ear-marked for the division of mathematical and physical sciences - an increase of 10.6%.
The Department of Energy (DOE) hopes to receive $18bn in FY99, an increase of 8.9% overall. Some $2.7bn of this will go on science and technology, with the rest being spent on energy resources ($2.3bn), national security ($6.1bn) and environmental quality ($6.7bn). The president has also requested $157m to start construction of the Spallation Neutron Source at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Construction of the £1.3bn source is expected to take 7 years and will be funded by the basic energy sciences programme at the DOE. Funding for basic energy sciences will be increased from $665m to $836m to fund the source. Elsewhere within the DOE funding for high-energy physics will increase from $678m to $691m (up 2%), while support for nuclear physics is due to rise from $320m to $333m (up 4%). However, funding for magnetic fusion is set to fall slightly to $228m.
At NASA funding for the International Space Station will remain static at $2272m, while support for space science will fall from $2093m to $2057m - a drop of 1.7%.