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D Budget Up Again

The information for these stories and the accompanying chart was gathered by freelance writers Bob Westgate and Susan Walton. WASHINGTON-Funding for science research, part of an overall federal budget that is expected to grow little in 1987, has increased significantly in several areas. Congress once again failed to approve appropriations bills for individual departments. Instead, on the day before it adjourned last month, it approved a $576 billion continuing resolution covering most government

By | November 17, 1986

The information for these stories and the accompanying chart was gathered by freelance writers Bob Westgate and Susan Walton.

WASHINGTON-Funding for science research, part of an overall federal budget that is expected to grow little in 1987, has increased significantly in several areas.

Congress once again failed to approve appropriations bills for individual departments. Instead, on the day before it adjourned last month, it approved a $576 billion continuing resolution covering most governmental operations. The 1,200 page document specifies how much money. each department can spend in the current fiscal year and contains specific requirements for thousands of programs. Even so, it gives most agencies considerable leeway in allocating money to particular activities, a task that will occupy administrators for the next several weeks.

 One clear winner this year is the National Institutes of Health (see THE SCIENTIST, October, p. 1). The  money to be spent on research grants of all types across its 12 institutes will rise by 18 percent, from $3.655 billion in fiscal 1986 to $4.314 billion in the fiscal year ending next fall. The Reagan administration, as has become common, re quested a budget unrealistically low with the expectation that Congress would add funds.

The National Science Foundation will receive 8.6 percent more for research in the current fiscal year-$1.406 billion compared with $1.294 billion in 1986. But its gains are tempered by the cuts Congress made in the $1.479 billion budget that Reagan submitted last winter.

Congress specified funding levels for more than one-third of the re search budget within the Foundation, giving NSF Director Erich Bloch responsibility for allocating the rest of the money. It appropriated $4 million for a new program to create Minority Research Centers of Excellence, urged funding advanced computer programs "to the maximum extent possible," locked in the requested amount for astronomical sciences to ensure that it does not receive "a disproportionate share" of the NSF budget, and doubled funding for global geosciences. The committee that authorizes Foundation funds had already told NSF officials to add to the amount requested $2 million for social and economic sciences and $1 million for behavioral and neural sciences.

Within the Department of En-ergy, the general science and re search budget received a boost over 1986 but a cut from what had been requested. The high-energy physics program was told to make do with $22 million less than it expected. Within nuclear physics, the planned Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility at Newport News, Va., was given $8 mil lion less than its request of$25 million for construction.

The conference committee expects to receive a report this month from the Department on its plans for the superconducting super-collider. A transfer of $84 million from the uranium enrichment program will make possible new construction, much of it within basic energy sciences.

Within the Commerce Department, Congress voted $2.9 million to continue the Office of Productivity, Technology and Innovation despite pressure from the administration to terminate the program. The Patent and Trademark Office, to some extent a benchmark of technological innovation, expects to counteract a $10 million cut in its proposed budget with increased income from a greater number of applications.

Congress also salvaged the Sea Grant program, maintaining its funding at $39 million.
 

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