Budget boosts National Science Foundation

February 13, 2012

Turbines stand at the San Gorgonio Pass Wind Farm in Whitewater, Calif., on Jan. 25, 2012. (Konrad Fiedler/Bloomberg)

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.

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