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NSF Congressional Highlight

Consolidated Appropriations Act of FY 2016

January 4, 2016

The Consolidated Appropriations Act was signed into law on December 18, 2015 (P.L. 1114-113). The act will provide NSF $7.463 billion, which is $119 million, or 1.6 percent, above the FY 15 appropriated level. This figure is $119 million above the earlier Senate Appropriations Committee version, and $69 million above the House-passed version.

The Research and Related Activities account will receive $6.033 billion, which is $100 million, or 1.7 percent above the FY 15 appropriated level. This level is $100 million above the level provided by the Senate, and $50 million above the House-passed version. The language contained in the House version regarding directorate level spending has been removed. Language is included that limits the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences to its FY 15 levels.

Education and Human Resources would be provided $880 million, which is $14 million, or 1.6 percent, above the current levels. The increase mirrors the same increase from both the Senate- and House-passed versions.

The Major Research Equipment and Facilities Constructions account receives $200.31 million, which is just under the FY 15 appropriated amounts, but is equal to the requested level.

The Agency Operations and Award Management account receives $330 million, which is $5 million, or 1.5 percent above the current level. The increase is the same as both the Senate- and House-passed versions.

The National Science Board will receive $4.37 million, which is equal to the current levels and the requested level.

The Office of Inspector General will receive $15.16 million, which is a $730,000 increase, or 5.1 percent over current levels. The figure represents $710,000 increase over the Senate version, and is equal to the House-passed levels.

The explanatory statement from the Omnibus for NSF is included below the table.

FY 16 Omnibus

(in millions of dollars)

  FY 15 est FY 16
request
Omnibus Delta / FY
15 $
Delta / FY
15 %
R&RA 5,933.65 6,186.30 6,033.65 100.00 1.7%
divider line
EHR 866.00 962.57 880.00 14.00 1.6%
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MREFC 200.76 200.31 200.31 -0.45 -0.2%
divider line
AOAM 325.00 354.84 330.00 5.00 1.5%
divider line
NSB 4.37 4.37 4.37 0.00 0.0%
divider line
OIG 14.43 15.16 15.16 0.73 5.1%
divider line
TOTAL 7,344.21 7,723.55 7,463.49 119.28 1.6%
divider line

 

NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION

This Act includes $7,463,485,000 for the National Science Foundation (NSF). The agreement modifies House language regarding transparency and accountability by encouraging NSF to continue efforts to implement transparency processes, which includes requiring that public award abstracts articulate how the project serves the national interest, and provide periodic updates to the Committees on these activities. The agreement modifies House language regarding replicability of scientific research to direct that NSF provide periodic updates on its framework for ongoing and future improvements in this area.

RESEARCH AND RELATED ACTIVITIES

This Act includes $6,033,645,000 for Research and Related Activities. Within this amount, no less than $160,000,000 is for the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research. The agreement includes $146,930,000 as recommended by the House for the neuroscience and cognitive science research done through NSF's Understanding the Brain (UtB) activity, which includes the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) initiative, and clarifies that $3,000,000 of the funds provided for UtB shall support NSF's participation in the interagency National Brain Observatory as recommended by the House. House report language regarding the Decadal Survey of Ocean Sciences is adopted and the agreement clarifies that NSF shall work with the community to identify alternative operating options for global class vessels with unique marine seismology capabilities. The agreement includes no less than $160,000,000 for cybersecurity research. In lieu of House language regarding funding percentages for certain activities, the agreement provides that funds for Social, Behavioral and Economie Sciences shall be up to the fiscal year 2015 level.

MAJOR RESEARCH EQUIPMENT AND FACILITIES CONSTRUCTION

This Act includes $200,310,000 for Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction.

National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON).-NSF shall submit to the Committees on Appropriations within 180 days of enactment of this Act: an independent assessment (such as an audit) of the revised cost estimate to complete NEON, accompanied by a statement of actions taken to resolve any issues identified in the cost assessment; a revised lifecycle cost estimate, including operations and maintenance; revised and updated procedures for NSF to ensure proper use of appropriated funds; and a plan to ensure greater NSF oversight of costs, schedule, and performance over the lifecycle of NEON and other large facility projects.

EDUCATION AND HUMAN RESOURCES

This Act includes $880,000,000 for Education and Human Resources (EHR), including $35,000,000 for the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Program; $46,000,000 for the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation; $14,000,000 for the Tribal Colleges and Universities Program; $62,500,000 for the Advanced Informai STEM Learning program, including no less than $5,000,000 for out of classroom educational experiences as directed by the House; and $50,000,000 for CyberCorps: Scholarships for Service, including no less than $7,500,000 for qualified community colleges as directed by the Senate.

AGENCY OPERATIONS AND AWARD MANAGEMENT

This Act includes $330,000,000 for Agency Operations and Award Management.

OFFICE OF THE NATIONAL SCIENCE BOARD

This Act includes $4,370,000 for the National Science Board.

OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL

This Act includes $15,160,000 for the Office of Inspector General.

ADMINISTRATIVE PROVISION

This Act includes a provision that establishes terms and conditions for the transfer of funds.

 

See also: Statement from NSF Director France A. Córdova.