On Monday, 5 February 2007 the President released the administration’s budget request for the 2008 fiscal year. Aside from the widely reported plan to actually include a budget estimate for the cost of the war in Iraq and to balance the budget by 2012, the budget plan also articulates the administration’s priorities for all federal agencies and programs. Although some areas of the physical sciences, engineering and computer sciences included in the President’s American Competitiveness Initiative (ACI) could see significant increased funding, other areas of science at the NSF would see substantially smaller increases. Indeed, for some programs, the proposed increases would likely fail to address inflation.

For NSF, the administration has requested significant budget increases for directorates viewed as central to the ACI. Although proposed increases vary by directorate, many of the physical science, engineering and cyber- related directorates would receive budget bumps ranging from nearly 7 to 10 percent. The BIO directorate would receive almost 4.1 percent in new funding, placing the FY 08 request at roughly $633 million or $ 25.15 million more than the administration’s FY 07 request. Meanwhile, the social science, behavior and economics directorate would receive roughly 3.9 percent in new funding. The Geosciences directorate would receive a 6.3 percent bump, bringing it to $792 million, and the Office of Polar Programs would receive $26.8 million in new funding, a 6.1 percent increase that would result in a program funding level of nearly $465 million. Cyberinfrastructure, however, could receive a 9.6 percent bump, bringing the program to nearly $200 million in FY 08. Overall, for Research and Related Activities (RR&A) programs, the administration has requested $5.131 billion, an average increase across all directorates of roughly 7.7 percent over the FY 2007 request. Significantly, this increase in the RR&A request also includes the transfer of the EPSCoR program (Experimental Research to Stimulate Competitive Research) from the Education and Human Resources account to the RR&A account.

Investments within the BIO Directorate breakdown accordingly:

  • Molecular and Cellular Biossiences: 4.6 percent increase, a $5.15 million bump bringing the division to just under $114 million.
  • Integrative Organismal System: 4.7 percent increase, a $4.75 million bump bringing the division to nearly $105.5 million.
  • Environmental Biology: 4.6 percent increase, or just over $5 million in new funding, placing the division at $114.66 million.
  • Biological Infrastructure: 11.9 percent or $10.2 million in new funding, placing the division at $96.1 million.

The Emerging Frontiers and Plant Genome programs would not receive new funding in the request. Thus, requested funding for these programs would be at the FY 2007 requested levels of $99.16 and $101.22 million, respectively.


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