NSF asks for $555 million increase in U.S. scientific research budget

Washington, D.C. – The National Science Foundation (NSF) today announced its proposed 2010 budget of $7.045 billion, representing an 8.5% increase or $555 million over 2009. The organization indicated that the budget reflects the change in focus brought forward by the Obama administration and will provide additional funding for “major investments in the scientific infrastructure, research endeavors and human capital.”

The NSF’s request for more money may raise some eyebrows here and there, but it is in line with what we have heard from Barack Obama over the past months and it reflects what academia and especially Silicon Valley has been asking for. The $7 billion budget puts the NSF on a path to substantially boost U.S. research over the next few years, doubling the 2008 budget by 2016.

“With this budget, the President makes it absolutely clear that science and engineering research and education are vital to the nation’s future,” NSF director Arden Bement said in a presentation to the National Science Board. “NSF has a long history of success in supporting research with far-reaching impacts on the U.S. economy and the well-being of Americans.”
The budget is segmented in 22 major areas aiming at education and training all the way up to promoting research in which the U.S. is already considered to be the leading nation in the world, such as nanotechnology. The budget covers relatively new areas such climate change research, cybersecurity, and science and engineering beyond Moore’s Law. A detailed list can be found in the NSF’s press release.

It is worth noting that the NSF demonstrates some new enthusiasm for a global research opportunity that is especially highlighted in the “Regaining our Energy Science and Engineering Edge (RE-ENERGYSE)” plan.
We here at TG Daily are glad to finally see an increased focus on science and research. Whatever your political views are, it is apparent that funding for science was neglected during the Bush administration in favor of stratospheric budget bumps for military organizations. If we look at the technology knowledge transfer to other countries, the fact that companies such as Intel have been hiring more Phd’s in China than in the U.S. for years, there was clearly something wrong. From a technology point of view, the NSF budget proposal is great news for this country.