The House appropriations committee has released a summary (PDF) of the proposed $850 billion stimulus package. Some relevant highlight from the science section:
National Science Foundation: $3 billion, including $2 billion for expanding employment opportunities in fundamental science and engineering to meet environmental challenges and to improve global economic competitiveness, $400 million to build major research facilities that perform cutting edge science, $300 million for major research equipment shared by institutions of higher education and other scientists, $200 million to repair and modernize science and engineering research facilities at the nation’s institutions of higher education and other science labs, and $100 million is also included to improve instruction in science, math and engineering.
Department of Energy: $1.9 billion for basic research into the physical sciences including high-energy physics, nuclear physics, and fusion energy sciences and improvements to DOE laboratories and scientific facilities. $400 million is for the Advanced Research Project Agency – Energy to support high-risk, high-payoff research into energy sources and energy efficiency.
- NASA: $600 million, including $400 million to put more scientists to work doing climate change research, including Earth science research recommended by the National Academies, satellite sensors that measure solar radiation critical to understanding climate change, and a thermal infrared sensor to the Landsat Continuing Mapper necessary for water management, particularly in the western states; $150 million for research, development, and demonstration to improve aviation safety and Next Generation air traffic control (NextGen); and $50 million to repair NASA centers damaged by hurricanes and floods last year.
Some excerpts from the conference report (easier to read than the bill language, which often refers to sections of other public laws and it’s not clear to the layman what that money is actually for.)
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
Science Recovery funding: $400 million
Investments in the areas of Earth science, planetary science, heliophysics and astrophysics seek to answer fundamental questions concerning the ways the Earth’s climate is changing; the comparison of the Earth with other planets in the solar system and around other stars; and the connections among the Sun, Earth and heliosphere. These investments are critically important to understanding climate change and mitigation.
Within the funds provided, not less than $250 million will be used to accelerate the development of the Tier 1 set of Earth science/climate research missions recommended by the National Academies decadal survey as being critically important for answering key Earth science/climate research questions. Funds are also provided to restore the Total Solar Irradiance Sensor to an NPOESS satellite, which measures solar radiation and is critical to understanding climate change; and to add a thermal infrared sensor to the Landsat Continuing Mapper necessary for water management (e.g., soil moisture and water use) particularly in the western states. It is estimated by NASA that these investments will support in excess of 2,600 jobs.
CROSS AGENCY SUPPORT PROGRAMS
Disaster Assistance Recovery funding: $50 million
To date, insufficient funding has been provided for reconstruction at affected NASA centers precipitated by hurricanes and floods during the last calendar year. NASA has identified over $85 million in reconstruction projects. NASA estimates that over 440 jobs will be created.
Tags: DOE, economy, NASA, NSF, Science, stimulus
NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION
RESEARCH AND RELATED ACTIVITIES
Research and Related Activities Recovery funding: $2.500 billion
Sustained, targeted investment by NSF in basic research in fundamental science and engineering advances discovery and spurs innovation. Such transformational work holds promise for meeting the social, economic, and environmental challenges facing the Nation, and for competing in an increasingly intense global economy. To meet these challenges, the America COMPETES Act proposed to double funding for the NSF in seven years. The funding provided in the recovery will return and exceed appropriated levels to the levels assumed in the COMPETES Act. The $2.5 billion proposed for research and related activities (R&RA) is estimated to support an additional 3,000 highly-rated, new awards and would immediately engage 12,750 senior personnel, post doc-, graduate and undergraduates. In addition, the funds provided are expected to restore the funding rate for NSF awards to pre-2000 levels. Since fiscal year 2000, NSF’s funding rate has declined from over 30 percent to 25 percent. This investment would restore the funding rate to 32 percent.
Within the R&RA appropriation, $300 million is provided for the Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) program. The MRI program, in an effort to increase research and training in institutions of higher education, museums and science centers, and non-profit organizations, assists with the acquisition and development of shared research instrumentation that is, in general, too costly and/or not appropriate for support through other NSF programs. When awards are made, instruments are expected to be operational for regular research use by the end of the award period. The funding provided in the recovery bill will address a key recommendation of a 2006 National Academies report on “Advanced Research Instrumentation and Facilities” (ARIF) to expand the MRI program so that it includes “mid-scale” instrumentation whose capital costs are greater than $2 million.
The National Science Foundation estimates that academic institutions have about $3.6 billion in deferred projects to repair and renovate science and engineering research space (fiscal year 2005 Survey of Science and Engineering Research Facilities). About half of these deferred projects are in the biological and medical sciences, and about half are in other sciences and engineering. These projects are included in institutional capital plans. The recovery package includes $200 million to restart its facilities program covering physical and other sciences and engineering at the Nation’s institutions of higher education, museums and science centers, and non-profit organizations.
EDUCATION AND HUMAN RESOURCES
Education and Human Resources Recovery funding: $100 million
$100 million is provided for Education and Human Resources at the NSF. Within this amount, $60 million is provided for the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship program and $40 million for Math and Science Partnerships. These two programs are significant components of the America COMPETES Act, and underpin the Nation’s achievements in research, development and technology.
The Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship program encourages talented science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) majors and professionals to become K-12 mathematics and science teachers. The program provides funds to institutions of higher education to support scholarships, stipends, and academic programs for undergraduate STEM majors and post-baccalaureate students holding STEM degrees who commit to teaching in high-need K-12 school districts. A new component of the program supports STEM professionals who enroll as NSF Teaching Fellows in master’s degree programs leading to teacher certification by providing academic courses, professional development, and salary supplements while they are fulfilling a four-year teaching commitment in a high need school district. This new component also supports the development of NSF Master Teaching Fellows by providing professional development and salary supplements for exemplary math and science teachers to become Master Teachers in high need school districts. The $60 million included in the recovery package, together with other appropriations, provides the full authorized level in the America COMPETES Act. This program has been cited as a key factor in ensuring US long-term competitiveness. Funds can be awarded very quickly using existing competitive grant applications and will support new scholarships and stipends.
The Math and Science Partnership (MSP) program is a major research and development effort that supports innovative partnerships to improve K-12 student achievement in mathematics and science. MSP projects are expected to raise the achievement levels of all students and significantly reduce achievement gaps in the mathematics and science performance of diverse student populations. In order to improve the mathematics and science achievement of the Nation’s students, MSP projects contribute to what is known in mathematics and science education and serve as models that have a sufficiently strong evidence/research base to improve the mathematics and science education outcomes for all students. NSF’s MSP program coordinates its effort with the Mathematics and Science Partnerships program of the U.S. Department of Education in the expectation that effective innovations in mathematics and science education will be disseminated into wider practice. This program has been cited as a key factor in ensuring US long-term competitiveness. Funds can be awarded very quickly using existing competitive grant applications.
MAJOR RESEARCH EQUIPMENT AND FACILITIES
Construction and Development of Major Research Equipment and Facilities Recovery funding: $400 million
Funds will be used to accelerate the construction and development of major research facilities that provide unique capabilities at the cutting edge of science. Funds will be used for previously approved investments and those nearing their completed design reviews.
DOE – Office of Science (There’s more in the rest of the agency.)
Science Recovery funding: $2.000 billion
The Office of Science at the Department of Energy is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, providing more than 40 percent of total funding for this vital area of national importance. It oversees – and is the principal federal funding agency of – the Nation’s research programs in high-energy physics, nuclear physics, and fusion energy sciences. Independent scientific research provides the foundation for innovation and future technologies. But U.S. federal funding for research and development has declined steadily over the last decade. This funding will support improvements to DOE laboratories and scientific facilities to provide the foundation for research and development efforts. Within this amount, $400 million is included for the Advanced Research Project Agency – Energy to support high-risk, high-payoff research to accelerate the innovation cycle for both traditional and alternative energy sources and energy efficiency. The Department of Energy estimates that this amount of funding will support 50,000 jobs through research and construction of laboratory facilities.