FY 2013 Budget Request Proposes Increases for R&D
On 13 Feb., the Obama administration released the Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 budget request. The budget proposes a 1.4% ($140.8 billion) increase for federal R&D, with a focus on innovation and manufacturing, clean energy, and STEM education. The proposed increases for many science agencies, including the NSF and USGS, stand in contrast to overall non-defense discretionary spending, which stayed flat for the second year in a row. The action now goes to Congress, where additional pressures to reduce the deficit, combined with November elections and the looming sequestration in January 2013, will continue to squeeze spending levels.
- National Science Foundation (NSF): $7.4 billion, an increase of 4.8%.
- NSF Geosciences Directorate: $906.4 million, an increase of 2.4%.
Within the directorate, the Division of Earth Sciences would receive $189.2 million, a 3.1% increase; Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences would receive $264.4, a 2.1 % increase; Integrative Computing Education and Research would stay flat at $91.2 million, and Ocean Sciences would receive $362 million, a 2.9% increase.
- U.S. Geological Survey (USGS): $1.1 billion, a $34.5 million increase. At a 14 Feb. budget briefing, USGS Director Marcia McNutt explained the difficult choices that were made in the tight budget environment, noting that targeted decreases were necessary to make room for priorities, which include programs that protect lives and human property, long-term monitoring, and R&D. As part of Department of the Interior initiatives, USGS increases would go to hydraulic fracturing research, WaterSMART, and to establish a National Groundwater Monitoring Network
- In the USGS Mission Areas:
- Ecosystems would receive $178 million, a more than 10% increase, with funding proposed for ecosystem restoration in the Chesapeake Bay, the California Bay Delta, Puget Sound, and the Columbia River; invasive species research in the Everglades and on Asian carp; and research on white-nose syndrome in bats, coral reef health, and invasive brown tree snakes.
- Climate and Land Use Change would receive $154 million, a nearly 7% increase. The largest increase ($8.8 million) is seen in the Climate Variability subaccount, which would increase to $67.7 million. DOI Climate Science Centers would be fully funded, and increases are proposed for carbon sequestration. The Land Use Change request is $86 million. Landsat would receive $53.3 million, which includes funding to complete the Landsat Data Continuing Missions/Landsat 8 Ground System. USGS is continuing to work with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to develop future cost-efficient alternatives for Landsat 9.
- Energy, Minerals, and Environmental Health would increase 1% to $97 million, with the increase slated for rare earth elements and other research areas McNutt highlighted as contributing to economic growth. Natural Hazards would increase $11 million to $145 million. The budget request contains increases for improving rapid response to disasters, research on East Coast earthquakes, and coastal initiatives. Cuts are proposed for volcano hazards research and coastal and marine geology. Water Resources would decrease 2.4% to $210 million. Cuts are proposed for the Cooperative Water Program, water resource research account, and hydrologic networks, and analysis.
- Core Science Systems would increase 12.1% to $120 million. Administration and Enterprise Information would see a decrease of $11.2 million for a total of $99.1 million, and the request for the facilities budget is a decrease of $704,000 below FY 2012, to total $99.7 million. Fixed costs of $10.8 million are fully funded in the budget request.