On January 18, President Obama signed into law a $1.1 trillion dollar budget deal that will fund the federal government until September. Federal programs that support university-based research and education received some relief from the FY13 sequester, which implemented mandatory spending cuts across federal agencies. However, funding levels vary considerably among agencies and programs with some important programs experiencing flat or reduced budgets.
While some agencies—such as the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Science—received more FY14 funding then their pre-sequester FY13 levels, some other agencies—such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF)—were funded below their FY13 pre-sequester levels.
The bill provided $29.9 billion for NIH, which is $827.4 million, or 2.8 percent, above the FY13 post-sequester level. However, in comparison to the FY13 level after transfers, NIH funding was increased by $1 billion, or 3.5 percent, but again remained below the FY13 pre-sequester level of $30.64 billion.
NSF received $7.172 billion in FY14, an increase of $288 million above the FY13 post-sequester level but below the FY13 pre-sequester level. Within that total, the measure allocated $5.8 billion for research and related activities and $846 million for education.
The omnibus bill did not include language restricting NSF funding of political science research that was first inserted in the FY13 continuing resolution last March at the behest of Senator Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma). That language prohibited NSF from funding political science research unless the NSF Director certified that the project promoted “national security or the economic interests of the United States.” The measure also preserved funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities instead of implementing cuts proposed by the House.
The bill appropriated $5 billion to the DOE Office of Science—a $450-million increase above the FY13 post-sequester level. Likewise, the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy received $280 million—$29 million above the FY13 post-sequester level. US Department of Education’s Institute of Education Science is funded at 2.6% below FY 13 at $516.9 million.
Source: AAU, APLU, and Lewis-Burke Associates