President Obama released his long-awaited $3.55 trillion budget for fiscal year (FY) 2010 on 7 May 2009. Federal research and development (R&D) funding would increase by $555 million to $147.6 billion with most of the proposed funding increases directed to non-defense R&D and basic research. The budget plan includes more than a hundred budget cuts totaling $17 billion, half of which are directed at defense spending. Among the proposed non-defense reductions are $97 million for agricultural research facility construction, which the Administration considers to be congressional earmarks.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) would receive $7.0 billion in FY 2010. This would be an 8.5 percent increase over FY 2009 appropriated funding. The Biological Sciences Directorate (BIO) would grow to $733 million, an 8 percent increase.

The NSF budget would increase funding for graduate research fellowships from 1200 to 1600, with a goal of awarding 3000 fellowships per year by 2013. NSF also plans to emphasize high-risk transformative research, early career awards, climate change and climate change education (K-12, graduate, and public understanding), computer simulation, and clean energy research.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) would receive a modest increase in funding. The agency would receive $1.1 billion, up from $1.04 billion in FY 2009. The budget emphasizes several of Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar’s new initiatives, including energy, climate impacts, and youth training and education. Notably, the budget fully funds the agency’s fixed costs, such as salary and rent. In recent years, these costs were not always included in the budget request, forcing the USGS to reprogram funds from research and monitoring efforts.

The Biological Resources Discipline within the USGS would receive $198 million, a $13.9 million increase over FY 2009. New funds are proposed for several programs, including $4.2 million for research on climate impacts on Arctic ecosystems and wildlife, $5.0 million for biological research and monitoring to support the Fish and Wildlife Service, $1 million to support renewable energy efforts, and $2.4 million to fill staff vacancies at the Cooperative Research Units.

The budget would also increase funding for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which would have its budget bumped up by $109.8 million to $4.5 billion in FY 2010. Research and development would account for 13 percent of the agency’s budget. Of this, $177 million would be directed to climate research, including an increase of $4 million for monitoring and studying the ecological effects of ocean acidification. Research on deep sea corals, fish stock assessments, and the development of genetic stock identification tools would receive $55 million. Additionally, funding would be provided for implementation of the 2006 National Ocean Research Priorities Plan and Implementation Strategy. A $16 million investment would be made to address comparative analysis of marine ecosystem organization, forecasting the response of coastal ecosystems to extreme events, developing sensors for marine ecosystems, and assessing abrupt changes ocean circulation.

The budget for the United States Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service would be trimmed by $40 million, dropping the program to $1.15 billion. The Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension (CSREES) Program would receive $1.11 billion for research and extension programs, down from $1.17 billion last year. The Agriculture Food Research Initiative, the competitive grants awarding body within CSREES would receive $202 million. The United States Forest Service would receive $301.6 million for forest and rangeland research, up from $296.4 million in FY 2009.

If enacted as proposed, the President’s budget request for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would provide $842.4 million for agency science and technology programs, a 6.3 percent increase from the current $790.05 million. Of that, $245 million would be directed to human health and ecosystems, $24 million for sustainability, and $110 million for clean water research. The budget also includes a massive $475 million influx for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. This funding would be applied to research and cleanup efforts.

The Department of Energy’s Office of Science would receive $4.94 billion, up from $4.77 billion last year. Biological and environmental research would receive $604 million, a $2.6 million increase. The budget prioritizes investments in environmental systems science (up $2.9 million), computational biosciences (up $3.8 million), the Joint Genome Institute (up $4.0 million), and climate and environmental facilities and infrastructure (up $5.0 million). Climate model visualization would be initiated. Genomics, radiobiology, and metabolic synthesis research would be cut by $10.0 million.


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