APS News

Executive Board Expresses Concern Over Funding Imbalance In Bush Administration's Fy2003 Budget Request

The Executive Board of the American Physical Society applauds the proposed increased for the NIH and for life sciences generally in the FY2003 Budget Request submitted by President Bush on February 4, 2002. However, the Board expresses great concern about the requested budgetary levels for research in the physica sciences.

The Board notes that in current dollars, support for physical science activities at the NSF would actually decline, and in constant dollars, support for such activities at the DOE Office of Science would remain almost fixed. If implemented, these proposals would further exacerbate the imbalance in the federal research portfolio, raising spending on the life sciences to about 55 cents for every research dollar. As former NIH Director Harold Varmus has noted many times, this continuing imbalance will jeopardize the ability of NIH to accomplish its mission. It will also jeopardize our nation’s economic growth and our military defense.

Therefore the Board urges Congress to address the presidential budget deficiencies in their considerations of FY 2003 appropriations bills. The Board further urges congressional oversight committees to hold hearings on the support level for the physical sciences and on the balance of the research portfolio.
When President Bush unveiled his FY 2003 budget request for R&D in February, no one was surprised at the emphasis on antiterrorist, and on homeland and economic security in the wake of the September 11th attacks. However, many both within and outside of the scientific community have expressed concern at the imbalance of research funding priorities in favor of the biological sciences. For example, the National Institutes of Health would receive a $3.9 billion increase, larger than the entire research budget of the National Science Foundation, in keeping with the president's campaign budget to double the NIH budget by 2003.

Noting that while funding for biological and medical research continues to increase, funding for physical science remains essentially flat, the APS Executive Board approved a resolution regarding the FY2003 budget request at its meeting on February 23, 2002. The full text of the Executive Board statement is contained in the box at the right.

APS encourages the redistribution of the materials included in this newspaper provided that attribution to the source is noted and the materials are not truncated or changed.

Editor: Alan Chodos
Associate Editor: Jennifer Ouellette