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NSF & Congress

NSF Section of the Omnibus Appropriations Report (FY 2004)

Please note that the numbers contained herein do not reflect the anticipated 0.59% across-the-board reduction.


The conferees agree that the National Science Foundation is to abide by the reprogramming requirements set forth in the beginning of the statement of the managers.


Appropriates $4,276,600,000 for research and related activities instead of $4,306,360,000 as proposed by the House and $4,220,610,000 as proposed by the Senate. The conferees have included bill language which provides up to $345,000,000 for polar research and operations support and $90,000,000 for a comprehensive research initiative on plant genomes for economically significant crops.

The conference agreement provides $4,276,600,000 for ongoing and new research priorities of the Foundation, an increase of over $220,140,000 above the fiscal year 2003 level. Within the very severe overall fiscal constraints imposed on the conferees for fiscal year 2004, the managers have given their highest priority to funding basic research within the research and related activities account. This account supports investigator-initiated grants within each of the core disciplines as well as critical cross-cutting research which brings together multiple disciplines. The conferees urge the Foundation in allocating the scarce resources provided in this bill and in preparing its fiscal 2005 budget request to be sensitive to maintaining the proper balance between the goal of stimulating interdisciplinary research and the need to maintain robust single issue research in the core disciplines.

The conferees direct NSF to include multi-year budget estimates and future budget impacts for multi-disciplinary and mid-level activities in the annual operating plan and in future budget requests.

The specific funding level for each of NSF's research activities is as follows:

Directorate FY 2004
House Report
Senate Report
Biological Sciences $562,220,000 $586,841,000 $577,220,000 $592,000,000
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Computer & Information
Science & Engineering
584,260,000 609,846,000 609,390,000 609,600,000
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Engineering 536,570,000 560,067,000 550,000,000 561,000,000
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Geosciences 687,920,000 718,045,000 692,210,000 719,000,000
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Mathematical & Physical
1,061,270,000 1,107,745,000 1,085,870,000 1,100,000,000
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Social, Behavioral &
Economic Sciences
211,740,000 221,012,000 206,740,000 205,000,000
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Polar Programs 329,930,000 350,000,000 341,730,000 345,000,000
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Integrative Activities 132,450,000 147,804,000 157,450,000 145,000,000
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From the amount provided for Biological Sciences, $90,000,000 has been provided for plant genome research on economically significant crops.

From the amount provided for Computer and Information Science and Engineering, up to $225,000,000 of the appropriated level may be used for information technology research and not less than $20,000,000 may be used for cyberinfrastructure initiatives.

From Mathematical and Physical Sciences, $55,310,000 is for the National Radio Astronomy Observatory program of which $9,400,000 is provided for the Expanded Very Large Array; $10,300,000 is for the Green Bank Observatory; and $4,600,000 is for studies and repair of the Green Bank Observatory. The conferees recommend $6,000,000 for continued advanced planning of the Rare Symmetry Violating Process project.

Of the amount for Social Behavioral and Economic Sciences, $6,000,000 is for the Children's Research Initiative.

The conferees direct NSF to provide details on the funding levels for research and logistics within the U.S. Polar Research Programs in the fiscal year 2004 operating plan.

From the funds provided for Integrative Activities, $110,000,000 is provided for Major Research Instrumentation. To the extent possible, NSF should utilize funds in excess of the budget request to support the merit-based instrumentation and infrastructure needs of developing, HBCU, and other minority-serving colleges and universities.

The conference agreement includes $255,000,000 for nanotechnology programs throughout the directorates, an increase of $34,000,000 over fiscal year 2003.

The Conferees direct NSF to include the multi-year budget estimates for all multi-disciplinary and mid-level activities in the annual operating plan and in future budget requests.


Appropriates $155,900,000 for major research equipment and facilities construction instead of $192,330,000 as proposed by the House and $149,680,000 as proposed by the Senate. Included within the appropriated amount is $51,000,000 for construction of the Atacama Large Millimeter Array aperture-synthesis radio telescope; $43,500,000 for EarthScope; $42,000,000 for continued research and development of the IceCube Neutrino Detector Observatory in Antarctica; $8,100,000 for the George E. Brown, Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation; $1,300,000 for construction costs associated with the Amundson-Scott South Pole Station; and $10,000,000 for support of the Terascale Computing System and the Distributed Terascale Facility.

The conferees have not provided funding for the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) without prejudice. The conferees direct NSF to consider the recommendations in the National Academy of Sciences report and continue to refine the NEON plan from funds provided under research and related activities.

The conferees have not provided funding for the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) and instead expect to see funding for this project proposed in the fiscal year 2005 request as stated in the fiscal year 2004 budget justification.

The conferees reiterate language included in the Senate report directing NSF to develop with the National Science Board funding criteria for major projects; directing NSF to identify all equipment, facility, and infrastructure-related costs over $5,000,000 in the fiscal year 2005 budget request; and directing the Deputy Director of Large Facility Projects to develop guidelines and a cost tracking system to ensure cost oversight.


Appropriates $944,550,000 for education and human resources instead of $910,680,000 as proposed by the House and $975,870,000 as proposed by the Senate. The conferees agree to the following funding levels and directives within this account:

Program FY 2004
House Report
Senate Report
Math & Science
$200,000,000 $140,000,000 $145,000,000 $140,000,000
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EPSCoR 75,000,000 90,000,000 100,000,000 95,000,000
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Elementary, Secondary &
Informal Education
194,450,000 204,450,000 209,450,000 207,000,000
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Undergraduate Education 142,100,000 146,440,000 172,810,000 162,940,000
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Graduate Education 156,880,000 156,880,000 156,880,000 156,880,000
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Human Resources Development 103,410,000 106,710,000 125,530,000 116,530,000
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Research, Evaluation &
66,200,000 66,200,000 66,200,000 66,200,000
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The conferees direct NSF to submit a report by May 1, 2004, on the status of all the States participating in the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) program, and to include within this report the progress of each eligible state towards graduation from the EPSCoR program.

Within the level of funding for Elementary, Secondary and Informal Education, $62,500,000 has been provided for the Informal Science Education program.

Of the amount appropriated for Undergraduate Education, $45,500,000 has been provided for the Advanced Technological Education program; $25,000,000 is for the STEM Talent Expansion Program; and $8,000,000 is for the Robert Noyce Scholarship Program. No funds are provided for the Workforce for the 21st Century program.

The conferees have provided sufficient funding in fiscal year 2004 to reach a graduate stipend level of $30,000.

Within the funding level for Human Resource Development, $34,500,000 is provided for the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation program; $24,000,000 is provided for the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Undergraduates (HBCU) Program; $15,000,000 is provided for the Alliance for Graduate Education and Professoriate; and $15,000,000 is provided for the Centers of Research Excellence in Science and Technology (CREST) program and the HBCU Research University Science and Technology (THRUST) initiative within CREST. While the conferees agree that eligibility for THRUST should not exclude CREST recipients, NSF is directed to first use fiscal year 2004 program funds to fully fund multi-year awards to recipients of THRUST.


Appropriates $220,000,000 for salaries and expenses instead of $215,900,000 as proposed by the House and $225,700,000 as proposed by the Senate.

The conference agreement provides $2,500,000 for the administrative, management, and enterprise architecture evaluation contract underway. The conferees strongly urge the Foundation to give highest priority to enterprise architecture work products and information technology implementation. The conferees request that the National Science Board and the Inspector General review the proposed project plan and provide comment to the Committees on Appropriations by March 1, 2004.

The conferees request that the Director of the Office of Personnel Management conduct a review of NSF policies and practices regarding use of temporary term employees, known as "rotators", and report the findings to the Director of the Foundation and the Committees on Appropriations not later than March 1, 2004. The conferees request that this review focus on the percentage of the NSF professional workforce staffed through temporary appointments and its impact on the career civil service system at NSF, the use of temporary appointments to staff the most senior positions at NSF including the heads of its science Directorates, and the level of compensation paid to individuals filling senior staff appointments through temporary appointments. Further, the conferees direct that future budget requests will consolidate the costs of all temporary employees, including employees covered under inter-governmental personnel agreements, under this heading.

The conferees direct NSF to enforce the existing policy providing NSF employee travel from this account.

The conferees direct NSF to designate a senior-level manager at the Foundation responsible for assisting minority serving institutions working with the Foundation.


Appropriates $3,900,000 for the National Science Board as proposed by the Senate, instead of $3,800,000 as proposed by the House. A representational allowance of $9,000 has been provided for the Board.

The conferees agree that NSF will continue to provide support for the preparation of the Science and Engineering Indicators report, plus all other activities as in previous years. The conferees direct the Foundation to include budget justification materials for the Board as a separate account in future budget requests to the Congress.


Appropriates $10,000,000 for the Office of Inspector General as proposed by both the House and the Senate.


See also:

Conference Report on H.R. 2673, Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2004 (Full Report)