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NSF Congressional Highlight

House Science Committee Holds Hearing on President's Budget Request for Research and Development

February 13, 2002

U.S. CapitolOn February 13, the House Science Committee held a hearing to examine the President's budget request for research and development.

Testifying at the hearing were: Dr. Jack Marburger, Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy; Dr. Rita Colwell, Director of the National Science Foundation; Dr. Samuel Bodman, Deputy Secretary of the Department of Commerce; and Dr. Bruce Carnes, Chief Financial Officer of the Department of Energy.

In his opening statement Chairman Boehlert noted that the R&D priorities in the President's budget request for research and Development were biomedical research and homeland security. But he questioned whether these priorities provide an appropriate balance, particularly for the long-term basic research supported at NSF, emphasizing that tahae NIH budget is now larger than the rest of the civil science agencies put together, and that the FY 03 increase for NIH is larger than the entire NSF research budget. Other members, concurring with the Chairman's support for the NIH increase, also questioned whether growth in health research was coming at the expense of non-biomedical investments.

Dr. Marburger stated that the Administration's priorities - national security, homeland security, and economic growth - were reflected in the budget request, and are the appropriatae priorities at this time. . Overall, R&D is up by 8 percent in the budget and important cross-cutting areas such and nanoscale science and engineering were increasing at an even faster rate.

Dr. Colwell outlined the NSF priorities, including the President's Math and Science Partnership program, increases in graduate fellowship stipends, information technology research, mathematical and statistical sciences, nanoscale science and engineering, biocomplexity in the environment, and a new priority area of social, behavioral, and economic sciences.

Committee members praised NSF's programs generally and most questions from the committee reflected member's concerns over the imbalance between health research and other research programs and how the budget would affect research important to their state and local economies.

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