NSF FY 1997 Budget Request Totals $3.3 Billion
The President's budget request for the National Science Foundation for Fiscal Year 1997 is $3.3 billion, representing a 4.6% increase over the total FY96 estimate. (NSF does not yet have a final budget for FY96.)
NSF Director Neal Lane said the increase is critical if NSF is to maintain its role as a catalyst for national progress. "NSF supports exploration, innovation and imagination; and history shows that the return on these investments will help propel America into a future of growth, prosperity, and health," he said.
Requested funding for research activities is up 8.7% over the previous year's estimated funding level. The major disciplinary fields--represented roughly by NSF's six research directorates--would receive comparable increases. Funding for education and human resources is up 3.3%.
Of the total NSF budget request, roughly 56% supports science and engineering research; 20% supports education reform in science, engineering and math; 20% supports research facilities; and 4% supports administration and management. NSF's FY97 request emphasizes three principles:
The budget request eliminates NSF support for modernizing facilities under the Academic Research Infrastructure program. This change is consistent with recommendations of the September 1995 National Performance Review report that this function largely the upgrading and renovating of university laboratories--be supported by state, local and institutional sources.
"This allows NSF to focus on its unique facilities role, which is to fund large, national research platforms that support broad segments of the research community--for example, Supercomputer Centers, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO), and oceanographic research vessels," said Lane. NSF typically devotes from one fifth to one-fourth of its annual budget to such complex facilities. In the FY97 request, they account for $661 million (roughly equal to the 1996 level). The request also includes $25 million for safety improvements to facilities at the South Pole.
Dr. Lane emphasized that over the past 45 years, NSF has proven its ability to deliver the benefits. "There are so many examples where investment in basic research led to recognizable pay-offs later on; and the rate of discovery is accelerating. This is an exciting time, even a revolutionary time, in science and engineering--and NSF is at the center of it."
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2017, its budget is $7.5 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 48,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards.
Useful NSF Web Sites: