The Sciences

Science in the Stimulus

Cosmic VarianceBy John ConwayFeb 12, 2009 3:32 PM

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From ScienceDebate2008.com comes word that funding for science, particularly for NSF and the DOE Office of Science, was largely restored in the House-Senate conference. The relevant passage of the preliminary report is here:

Transform our Economy with Science and Technology: To secure America’s role as a world leader in a competitive global economy, we are renewing America’s investments in basic research and development, in training students for an innovation economy, and in deploying new technologies into the marketplace. This will help businesses in every community succeed in a global economy. Investing in Scientific Research (More than $15 Billion) o Provides $3 billion for the National Science Foundation, for basic research in fundamental science and engineering – which spurs discovery and innovation. o Provides $1.6 billion for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, which funds research in such areas as climate science, biofuels, high-energy physics, nuclear physics and fusion energy sciences – areas crucial to our energy future. o Provides $400 million for the Advanced Research Project Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) to support high-risk, high-payoff research into energy sources and energy efficiency in collaboration with industry. o Provides $580 million for the National Institute of Standards and Technology, including the Technology Innovation Program and the Manufacturing Extension Partnership. o Provides $8.5 billion for NIH, including expanding good jobs in biomedical research to study diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, cancer, and heart disease. o Provides $1 billion for NASA, including $400 million to put more scientists to work doing climate change research. o Provides $1.5 billion for NIH to renovate university research facilities and help them compete for biomedical research grants.

DOE Office of Science and NSF funds had been zeroed out in one version of the Senate measure proposed last week, and were set to $330 million and $1.2 billion respectively in the bill the Senate passed. This is a huge boost for our scientific infrastructure in this country, and will immediately create large numbers of jobs for a broad range of workers. This is a once-in-a-lifetime event: let's spend the money wisely! Our next challenge: the 2009 and 2010 budgets for science. We are still operating under a CR, and without an increase in funding, the national labs and universities will have to shed personnel. Stimulus money will not be used to directly fund scientists and engineers at the labs, or postdocs or graduate students at the universities. That money comes from the yearly budget. Obama has pledged to double funding for the physical sciences in 10 years. Let your congressfolk know you care about this!

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