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NSF Congressional Highlight

Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Reports Out NSF Authorization Bill

September 12, 2002

U.S. Capitol On Thursday, September 5, 2002, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee reported out S. 2817, "The National Science Foundation Doubling Act." The bill provides for a doubling of the NSF authorization levels over the next five fiscal years, from $4.8 billion in FY 2002 to $9.8 billion in FY 2007. Specifically, the bill authorizes the following funding levels:

  • 15 percent annual increases overall.
  • 16 percent annual increases in the Research and Related Activities account.
  • 15 percent annual increases in the Education and Human Resources account.
  • 10 percent annual increases in the Major Research Equipment and Facilities, Salary and Expenses, and Inspector General accounts.

In addition to the funding levels, the bill provides policy guidance on a number of NSF activities, including:

  • Authorizing Math and Science Partnerships between institutions of higher education and local school districts by competitive grants for three years, and by a formula grant program for two years.
  • Authorizing a systemic secondary school initiative with priority given to serving high-poverty communities to promote scientific and technological literacy.
  • Providing for multi-year "Tech Talent" competitive grants to institutions of higher education to increase the number of students studying toward, and receiving, undergraduate degrees in science, math, engineering, and technology disciplines.
  • Calling for an NSF conducted review and assessment of the major research instrumentation program, followed by submittal to Congress of the reviews findings and recommendations.
  • Requiring NSF to provide specific numerical rankings of Major Research Equipment and Facilities candidates, including the relative priority for funding, for inclusion with future budget requests.
  • Requiring an annual report on NSF's facilities management plans, including proposed construction, repair and upgrades, including full life-cycle cost information.
  • Providing for the National Science Board to directly appoint NSB staff, rather than delegating this authority to the Director of NSF as has been the practice since the Foundation was established.

The bill will be referred to the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee which expects to schedule a markup in late September.

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