US House Committee Proposes Increases to Research Funding
US House Committee Proposes Increases to Research Funding

US House Committee Proposes Increases to Research Funding

Although many of the hikes are less than what the Biden administration had requested, the draft legislation calls for a boost in spending for agencies like NASA, the National Institutes of Health, and the Department of Energy.

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Annie Melchor

Stephanie "Annie"  Melchor got her PhD from the University of Virginia in 2020, studying how the immune response to the parasite Toxoplasma gondii leads to muscle wasting and tissue scarring...

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Jul 14, 2021

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Subcommittees of the United States House Appropriations Committee met earlier this week (July 12) to advance drafts of federal spending legislation for fiscal year 2022, which begins on October 1 of this year.

According to Sciencethe proposed legislation would result in funding increases of 15 percent for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), 13 percent for the National Science Foundation (NSF), 8 percent for NASA, and 4 percent for the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science.  

Of the proposed $6.5 billion increase for the NIH, nearly half is designated to establish the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health. This new entity is designed to accelerate research to “develop breakthroughs to prevent, detect, and treat diseases like Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and cancer,” President Joe Biden told Congress in April. 

“It’s the opportunity to take on large, high risk projects quickly in an entrepreneurial way,” NIH Director Francis Collins said in comments quoted by Forbes. “Personally, this is a big priority, based on our experience with Covid-19. The time is right for a more aggressive approach.”

The bill grants $3.5 billion less for ARPA-H than Biden requested in his first proposed budget this April.

According to Nature, Biden had also proposed another ARPA agency: ARPA-Climate, designed to develop technologies to fight climate change. The House’s current bill will not fund ARPA-Climate—which was proposed to cost $500 million and span eight different existing agencies—but will provide $173 million more than initially requested to the existing ARPA-Energy, according to a press release from the appropriations committee. ARPA-Energy is designed to develop technologies to “address the nation’s critical economic, environmental, and energy security challenges,” says the press release.

The $9.63 billion increase for the NSF includes funding for research on climate science, quantum information science, cybersecurity, and artificial intelligence, according to a press release from the House Appropriations Committee.

All legislation would need to be negotiated with the Senate and approved by both chambers and the president before being enacted.