Physics misses out in US budget
Feb 5, 1999
The four biggest funders of physics research in the US - the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Energy(DOE), the Department of Defense (DOD) and NASA - have fared badly in President Clinton's budget request for the year 2000. The largest shock is a plan to cut research funding at the DOD by 5%, even though the department's total budget is set to rise by $112 bn over the next six years. And a single new research project in information technology, the $366 m IT2 initiative, will soak up most of the increases requested by Clinton. For example, over half of the 7% increase requested for the NSF will go on IT2, while the foundation's physics division is due to receive an increase of 3%, just enough to cover inflation.
At the DOE, the budget for basic energy science is set to rise by 11%, with two-thirds of this going to meet construction costs for the Spallation Neutron Source being built at Oak Ridge. Fusion research remains static at $222 m.
The $13.6 bn requested for NASA represents a fall of 0.6% compared with this year. However, space science and earth observation are set to receive increases of 3.6% and 3.2% respectively. As expected, construction of the International Space Station is earmarked to receive the biggest increase - 7.7%.