AIBS director of public policy, Robert Gropp, recently submitted congressional testimony in support of increased fiscal year (FY) 2008 appropriations for the National Science Foundation. Testimony was provided to the House and Senate appropriations subcommittees on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies.

In short, the testimony encouraged Congress to provide at least the President's fiscal year 2008 request of $6.43 billion. However, Congress was encouraged to provide additional funding for NSF's Research and Related Activity (R&RA) accounts to enable a 7 percent increase for the Biological Sciences Directorate. The Administration's request for NSF included a 4.1 percent increase for BIO, below the 7.7 percent average increase proposed for the various R&RA directorates.

As Gropp testified, "According to NSF data, BIO provides 68 percent of federal grant support for fundamental biological research conducted at our nation's universities and other nonprofit research centers." Gropp continued, "Members of the biological sciences community appreciate the proposed increase. However, there is growing concern that BIO funding is not keeping pace with the need and demand for biological sciences research. When adjusted for inflation, the requested FY 2008 budget for BIO places the program only slightly above the 2001 funding level and near the 2003 funding level. Scientists dependent upon BIO grants for research support are feeling the pressure. Over the past four years, the research grant funding rate for BIO has been lower than the NSF-wide funding rate. Yet the number and scope of problems requiring biological information continues to increase."

The testimony also encouraged increased support for the various formal and informal science education and training programs administered through NSF's R&RA accounts and the Education and Human Resources Directorate.

To read the testimony, visit http://www.aibs.org/position-statements/.

 


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