As this year has dragged on, science fans have probably thought, dang, this federal government hates funding research and scientists. We also thought that. But despite the White House’s initial proposal, science agencies will be getting a somewhat surprising funding boost across the board for research.
There’s a whole lot here. Matt Hourihan, director of the American Association for the Advancement of the Sciences R&D Budget and Policy Program, listed the following increases in an analysis for AAAS:
- Every Department of Energy Office of Science research program will receive at least a 10 percent increase, and the US will double its funding to the large ITER fusion program in Europe, to $122 million.
- The National Institutes of Health’s individual institutes will receive five percent increases: $414 million will go to Alzheimers research, and another $500 million will go to various opioid research programs.
- The National Science Foundation will receive a 5 percent increase to its Research and Related Activities, as Congress worries that “China and other competitors are outpacing the United States in terms of research spending,” writes Hourihan.
- NASA will receive another $1.1 billion over FY 2017, including $382 million for planetary science and $595 million for a Europa mission, which will include both a clipper and a lander. Several proposed Earth Science missions such as OCO-3, CLARREO-Pathfinder, and DSCOVR will not be scrapped.
- National Institute of Standards and Technology will receive 5 percent more, including a nearly 300% construction increase.
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration research will not receive cuts
- United States Geological Survey’s eight climate science centers will still be funded, rather than half of them cut as proposed by the White House.
- The Environmental Protection Agency will not receive cuts.
In every single case, the funding is a boost above what the White House proposed, which was cuts across the board. Science reports that the extra money came from bipartisan agreements to surpass caps on discretionary spending, leaving another $300 billion to allocate.
The president threatened to veto the bill on Twitter because it didn’t fund a border wall or make a firm statement on Dreamers, reports the Washington Post, but he signed it anyway thanks to extra military funding.
There are a lot of other things unrelated to science in the bill, and POLITICO makes it seem like, well, it’s actually kind of good.
Anyway, yay science! More money is nice.