On February 20, the University of Oregon and the UO’s Oregon Institute of Marine Biology (OIMB) signed on to a letter asking Congress to prioritize geosciences as it considers reauthorization of the National Science Foundation (NSF). Research at the UO, including at OIMB, is supported by NSF funding for the geosciences. For example, the Biological Oceanography program of the NSF Geosciences Directorate is a major source of research funding at OIMB.
Reauthorization involves setting budget levels for the next five years, and is also an occasion for Congress to consider the statutory basis for the NSF. Under the new approach championed by Republican majorities in Congress, the budget levels set in reauthorization are considered ceilings for expenditures over that five year period, rather than as guidelines as they were previously. Exceeding them requires offsetting that amount in another area of appropriations to make increases budget-neutral.
The letter was circulated by the Association of American Universities and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities for signature.