National Science Foundation

National Science Foundation would get $7.8 billion in Obama budget

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The National Science Foundation emerges as one of the few winners in the president's proposed budget, with the nation's primary funder of nonmedical basic research receiving $7.8 billion - a 13 percent increase over 2010 funding.

In contrast, House Republicans have targeted the NSF for cuts, proposing a 16 percent reduction in the agency's 2011 budget compared with 2010 levels.

Under the president's proposal, renewable energy, wireless communications, next-generation computer processors and robotics research all would receive a boost. Climate monitoring is also a priority, with $88 million proposed for a national network of observation stations to monitor the effects of climate change.

The proposal also would provide $40 million for the training of elementary school, high school and college science and math teachers.

The budget positions basic scientific research and technology development as key drivers of economic growth, a point that NSF-watchers also make.

"The last thing you want to do when the economy is recovering is cut science funding," said Alan Leshner, chief executive of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

- Brian Vastag

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