In 2009, President Obama vowed to double the budget of the National Science Foundation. Economic reality quickly caught up with that plan, but the president’s budget request for 2013 does provide a 5 percent boost for the NSF, sending its budget to $7.4 billion.
More than 40 percent of the funds, $3.2 billion, would be given as grants to researchers at universities and other institutions.
Education is a winner in the budget, with two programs to train the next generation of scientists and engineers receiving a $55 million boost to $459 million. Graduate students and early career scientists are eligible for the programs.
Another $49 million in new money will launch an effort to “improve learning in science and engineering disciplines” by studying which of the agency’s education programs work best.
Clean energy research — which is also conducted at the Department of Energy — would be boosted by $14 million, to $355 million, and would fund research into solar, wind, and other renewable sources.
Four new research facilities will receive $196 million for construction: a sun-watching telescope, a gravitational physics experiment, a network of ecological observation stations, and an “unprecedented set” of ocean observatories.