APS News

FY 1997 R&D Budget Request Announced

On March 19, John Gibbons, assistant to the president for science and technology, introduced the Clinton Administration's FY 1997 budget request for science and technology programs. Overall research funding would increase by 2 percent, or $1,229 million, to $72,679 million under the administration's budget request. (Note: Since final appropriations have not yet been signed for some R&D agencies, the FY 1996 basis represents the administration's best approximation.)

A breakdown of the budget request as it relates to science and technology is as follows. Basic research funding would increase by 2 percent, or $268 million, to $14,327 million. Applied research funding would increase by 4 percent, or $622 million, to $14,872 million.

Overall civilian R&D would increase by 3 percent, or $1,057 million, to $34,404 million. Overall defense R&D would increase 0.005 percent, or $172 million, to $38,275 million. Gibbons noted that the ratio between civilian and defense R&D has not changed much in this budget request. R&D support to universities would increase by 1 percent, or $155 million, to $12,728 million. Merit or peer reviewed R&D program funding would increase by 6 percent, or $1,246 million, to $22,406 million.

Finally, overall spending on facilities would increase by 45 percent under this budget request. Gibbons explained that this is because of a change in the way that facilities would be financed, with the requested $1,742 million being used to provide more up-front funding for facilities such as the DOE's RHIC and B-Factory. Aircraft carriers are now funded this way, as was the replacement of a major radio antenna at the Green Bank, West Virginia, observatory.

"The FY 1997 budget marks the fourth consecutive year that President Clinton has called for increases in science, technology, and education investments - investments we need to carry us into the 21st century," said Gibbons. "This budget delivers on President Clinton's commitment to maintain critical science and technology investments as a priority while balancing the budget. [The President] is saying again that he will not back down in the face of myopic Congressional proposals to slash R&D." However, Robert Walker (R-PA), chair of the House Science Committee, called the budget "a blow to basic research and a boon to industrial policy masquerading as science."

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Editor: Barrett H. Ripin