APS News

Washington Dispatch

ISSUE: Science Research Budgets

After delaying consideration of the Fiscal Year 2009 (FY09) Appropriations Bill until half the year had passed, and after extending the FY09 Continuing Resolution for five additional days until March 11th, Congress finally put last year’s budgetary business to rest. For science, the numbers are impressive. As readers will recall, the Stimulus Bill (or the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009), added $1.6 billion to DOE’s Office of Science, $0.4 billion to the new ARPA-E program and $16.8 billion to the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE); $3 billion to NSF ($2.5 billion of which is allocated to Research and Related Activities); and $600 million to the NIST Core Program. Adding on to the success of the Stimulus, the FY09 “Omnibus” Appropriations Bill is consistent with a planned doubling of the physical science research funding as authorized by the America Competes Act. The Omnibus Bill contains the following allocations:

National Science Foundation (NSF): “$6.5 billion, $363 million above 2008, for the most promising scientific research at America’s colleges and universities, and supporting scientists with cutting edge labs and equipment.”
Department of Energy: “$4.8 billion, $755 million above 2008, for basic scientific research critical to addressing long-term energy needs. This provides for 2,600 more research personnel, producing highly educated American scientists and engineers whose innovations will drive economic growth.”
National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST): “$819 million, $63.1 million above 2008, to promote American innovation and economic competitiveness by improving scientific measurements, standards, and technology.”

In mid-February, President Obama released his budget blueprint for the 2010 fiscal year. A full budget proposal is expected to be released in early April, but the early signs are very positive for the physical sciences.

Be sure to check the APS Washington Office for the latest news on the FY09 Omnibus and FY10 Budget.

ISSUE: POPA Activities

At the February 6th meeting, POPA approved a study, proposed by the Energy & Environment Subcommittee, to examine the means to increase the amount of renewable energy that could be delivered by the grid to high-demand centers. The study will build on previous POPA report findings published in 2007 (Challenges of Electricity Storage Technologies) and the 2008 APS Energy Efficiency Study (Think Efficiency). Funding from POPA is slated for late 2009. The Study Chair, George Crabtree, anticipates also raising outside funds. A list of possible Study Committee participants is being finalized and a timetable for completion of a report is being discussed.
The National Security Subcommittee also received approval for a study on verification technology for reducing nuclear arsenals. A Study Committee has been assembled and the first Workshop has been scheduled for April 21st-22nd in Washington, DC Guest speakers and the agenda for both days are being finalized. Jay Davis has agreed to participate as Study Chair.
The study on non-biological CO2 capture, which was approved at the October 3rd, 2008 meeting, is in full swing. Additional outside funding was raised by the Chair and Co-Chair of the Study Committee, Dr. William Brinkman and Dr. Robert Socolow. The first meeting of the Study Committee will be held at Princeton March 23rd-24th.
If you have suggestions for a POPA study, please visit Suggestions for APS Policy Studies and send in your ideas.

ISSUE: Washington Office Media Update

News stories in the New York Times (February 6th and 10th) stressed the scientific community’s disappointment with the initial direction of funding in the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act, which contributed to securing a win for science in the final legislation: $5.2 billion overall for DOE-SC, NSF and NIST. 

Similarly, Congressman Rush Holt (D-NJ) and Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA) jointly authored an op-ed on February 11th in The Hill newspaper detailing how funds for science would create jobs in the short run and lay the foundation for economic growth in the long run.

Log on to the APS Public Affairs web site for more information.

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Editor: Alan Chodos