On Monday (February 13), President Obama released his budget request for the 2013 fiscal year, totaling $3.8 trillion. In the science sector, he requested a 1 percent increase in research spending across the board.
However, as economic policy columnist Ezra Klein noted in the Washington Post, “Like the 2012 budget, [the 2013 budget] has no chance of being adopted by Congress.” Nevertheless, here’s how the various science-related agencies would fare if the science budget were approved as written.
- The Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology was a top dog in the request, with a budget increase of 14 percent, to a total of $857 million, to improve manufacturing technology.
- The National Science Foundation would receive $7.4 billion, a 5 percent increase over last year, and $3.2 billion of those funds would go towards funding researcher grants.
- The Department of Energy’s Office of Science budget would increase a smidge to $5 billion, from $4.9 billion in 2012. The investment would focus on clean energy research in particular, with $355 million—a rise of $14 million from 2012—going towards solar, wind, and other renewable power sources.
- The National Institutes of Health budget would remain flat at $30.7 billion.
- The overall budget for the Environmental Protection Agency would drop from $9.4 billion to $8.9 billion, but the Science and Technology office within the EPA would receive a 1.5 percent boost to $807 million.
- The Department of Agriculture budget would drop by 3 percent; however, competitive research investment in the department would rise by 23 percent to $325 million.
- The research sector of the US Geological Survey would get an 8 percent boost over 2012, although the agency’s overall budget would increase just 3 percent to $1.1 billion.
- NASA would lose $89 million, dipping down to $17.7 billion total, with $3 billion dedicated to the International Space Station, $628 million to the James Webb Space Telescope (the follow-up to the Hubble), and $830 million to develop private sector spacecraft.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would get slightly more money—a $39 million bonus to bring the total to $11.2 billion— but its discretionary budget would drop from $5.7 billion to $5 billion.
- The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration would receive 3 percent more funds to just over $5 billion.