|Agency R&D Budgets|
Department of Defense (DOD)
In FY 2001, Congress once again opened the purse strings for DOD, and DOD's R&D programs shared in the outpouring of generosity. In a year when the question of whether the U.S. military's readiness had declined to dangerous levels became a presidential campaign issue, President Clinton and Congress agreed to continue the recent trend of awarding large increases to defense spending to partially reverse a decade-long series of post Cold War cuts. In the FY 2001 budget debate, President Clinton requested cuts in DOD's R&D budget for the sixth year in a row, and for the sixth year in a row the Republican-controlled Congress granted an increase. This year's increase, however, topped the other ones in size. Congress granted DOD $41.8 billion for R&D in FY 2001, $2.5 billion or 6.4 percent more than last year (see Tables 4 and 5). The appropriation is $3.3 billion more than the request, spread over all categories of DOD spending.
After many years of flat or declining funding, DOD funding of basic and applied research now appears to be on a sustained upswing. For the first time in more than a decade, both the President and Congress competed to award large increases to DOD's basic and applied research programs. DOD's basic research ("6.1") totals $1.3 billion, a substantial 12.8 percent above FY 2000 (see Table 4). In recent years, the President has proposed small increases to basic research, the House has proposed cuts, the Senate has proposed increases, and the final appropriations have split the difference, but this year there was a bidding war of sorts to see who could award the largest increases. The President requested a 4.9 percent increase in February, the Senate proposed 10.5 percent and the House proposed 11.5 percent in June, and the final DOD budget bill in August came in at 13.1 percent, later reduced to the final 12.8 percent because of an across-the-board cut. The applied research ("6.2") total is $3.7 billion, an increase of $262 million or 7.7 percent.
The "6.1" and "6.2" accounts provide a significant share of federal support for several key science and engineering disciplines. DOD provides nearly a third of all federal support for engineering research, and a majority of federal support for some key engineering subfields. DOD also provides more than 40 percent of total federal support for computer sciences research, and plays a strong funding role in other disciplines such as mathematics, oceanography, medical sciences, chemistry, physics, and environmental sciences. The "6.1" and "6.2" accounts are also important for the nation's colleges and universities, which perform more than half of "6.1" research and roughly 20 percent of "6.2" research. In recent years, cuts in "6.1" and "6.2" have resulted in shrinking DOD support for many of these disciplines, especially engineering research. The FY 2000 and 2001 increases for DOD research should help to reverse the downward trends, but will still leave support for these disciplines well below mid-1990s levels.
The FY 2001 DOD budget contains a separate $348 million appropriation, outside the regular R&D accounts, for medical R&D (see Table 4) plus another $66 million for medical-related information technology development for a total of $414 million. This appropriation for peer-reviewed, competitively awarded research grants continues the expansion of DOD's medical research which began in the early 1990s. The final Defense spending bill divides the $348 million medical R&D total into $175 million for breast cancer research (up from $172 million in FY 2000), $100 million for prostate cancer research (up from $74 million), $12 million for ovarian cancer research, $6 million for other cancer research, and more than $50 million for peer reviewed medical research on other topics. The final DOD budget also contains numerous congressionally designated medical research grants in DOD's regular accounts, including R&D on HIV, alcoholism, neuroscience, and laboratory facilities. Counting these projects, DOD will fund nearly $750 million in congressionally designated medical research in FY 2001.
The "6.1," "6.2," and "6.3" categories are often grouped together as "Science and Technology" (S&T). This category encompasses basic research, applied research, and generic technology development, which contribute to a broad knowledge base with potential applications to a wide variety of military as well as civilian uses. DOD S&T declined steeply in the 1990s (see Figure 2), but in FY 2001 DOD S&T, including the medical research appropriations formerly appropriated within the "6.3" category, totals $9.4 billion, up 8.0 percent. The result gratified a broad range of worried observers, including universities, science and engineering societies, and military associations, who have warned that post-Cold War cuts in S&T have imperiled the new knowledge base DOD needs to meet the warfighting challenges of the 21st century. The FY 2001 appropriation spurred these organizations to call for a $10 billion S&T budget in FY 2002 to continue rebuilding DOD's knowledge base.
Among the Defense Agencies, the budget of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) increases by 6.4 percent to $2.0 billion (see Table 5). DARPA receives $53 million for the second year of Extensible Information Systems (up from $30 million), a key part of the multi-agency Information Technology initiative. Computing Systems and Communications Technology, another key IT initiative component, rises from $321 million to $334 million.
The Ballistic Missile Defense Organization's (BMDO) budget also increases substantially, by 22.4 percent to $4.2 billion. This appropriation includes $1.9 billion for development of a national missile defense system. Although recent, widely publicized failures of missile defense tests and slower-than-expected development of key systems led President Clinton to defer a decision on whether to deploy a national defense system to the next President, BMDO will continue its extensive development and testing efforts.
Total DOD R&D is on an upswing after a decade of post-Cold War cuts. The FY 2001 DOD budget for R&D is 20 percent below the FY 1987 peak funding level in real terms, but the trend in recent years has been upward after hitting bottom in FY 1996 (see Table A). For S&T, the large increase in FY 2001 brings the total to just below the peak FY 1994 funding level in inflation-adjusted terms, nearly recovering the losses from steep cuts through most of the 1990s (see Figure 2).
NIH is once again the beneficiary of strong congressional support for biomedical research. The final appropriation of $20.4 billion keeps the agency on track to double its budget between FY 1998 and FY 2003, and is $1.6 billion above the President's request. In February, President Clinton's proposed FY 2001 budget requested $18.8 billion. Although this would have been a $1 billion increase for the agency, the percentage increase of 5.6 percent would have been well below the nearly 15 percent increases of the past two years.
NIH classifies 96 percent of its budget as R&D; the remainder is for research training and overhead costs. NIH R&D totals $19.6 billion, up $2.5 billion or 14.6 percent from FY 2000.
Every institute receives an increase greater than 13 percent, and three receive increases greater than 20 percent (see Table 8). The largest percentage increase goes to the new National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), which receives $89 million for its third year, a substantial increase of $20 million or 29.3 percent reflecting strong congressional support for its work in reviewing complementary and alternative therapies. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) sees its budget jump 27.8 percent to $566 million. In addition to its regular appropriation in the Labor-HHS bill, NIEHS receives an additional $63 million in the VA-HUD bill for research it performs on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency's Superfund program. The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), NIH's contributor to the Human Genome Project, receives a 21.1 percent boost to $382 million to help it finish its work sequencing the human genome. Most of the other institutes receive increases between 13.4 and 14.7 percent.
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) once again has the largest budget with $3.8 billion, an increase of $446 million or 13.5 percent. The budget of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), NIH's primary supporter of HIV/AIDS research, exceeds $2 billion for first time with an appropriation of $2.0 billion, 13.7 percent more than FY 2000. Congress appropriated HIV/AIDS research funds within individual institute budgets, instead of in a consolidated account as the Administration proposed. The Administration proposed $2.1 billion within a consolidated account, but the final bill provides $2.3 billion for HIV/AIDS research dispersed among the institutes, for an increase of 13 percent over the comparable FY 2000 investment.
Congress appropriated $154 million for Buildings and Facilities, which will allow construction to begin on NIH's proposed National Neuroscience Research Center ($47 million in FY 2001). In addition to these intramural construction funds, the bill provides $75 million in the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) budget to support extramural research facilities construction, slightly above $73 million in FY 2000. The NCRR appropriation also provides $100 million (up dramatically from $40 million) for the Institutional Development Award (IDeA) program. IDeA seeks to broaden the geographic distribution of NIH grants by enhancing the research competitiveness of institutions which have traditionally been less successful in obtaining NIH funding, and is similar to the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) programs run by NSF and other agencies.
There are two new NIH institutes in FY 2001. On November 22, President Clinton signed into law a bill creating the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities. The new Center will fund research targeting diseases and conditions that disproportionately affect minority groups and other populations with health disparities, and will also fund research on why some minority groups suffer disproportionately from certain diseases. Funding for these programs was formerly in the Office of the Director; the new Center has an initial budget of $130 million. The budget of the Office of the Director drops to $214 million to reflect the funding shift. On December 29, President Clinton signed another bill creating a National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering; because he signed the bill after NIH appropriations were completed, FY 2001 funding for the new institute will be transferred from the budgets of other institutes.
Although NIH has come under increasing congressional scrutiny over the past year because of controversies in areas such as gene therapy research, stem cell research, and the use of fetal tissue, the final NIH appropriations bill is relatively free of legislative provisions to restrict the types of research NIH can fund. The only major provision is the restatement of an existing ban on NIH using its funds to create human embryos for research purposes or to fund any research in which human embryos are destroyed.
Left out of the final budget is any provision blocking NIH from funding stem cell research, although lawmakers had threatened to attach one. To forestall such provisions and objections from anti-abortion lawmakers, who object to embryonic stem cell research because it requires the use of cells from aborted fetuses or discarded human embryos, Senators Specter (R-PA) and Harkin (D-IA) introduced legislation this spring to allow government-funded scientists to perform research on privately derived stem cells. The legislation did not get through Congress this year. This past summer, NIH proceeded on its own with plans to eventually allow federally funded stem cell research. Following on an earlier legal opinion finding that stem cell research did not violate the existing ban on federally funded human embryo research, NIH issued guidelines on stem cell research drawing a fine line between the derivation of stem cells, which must be with private funds under specific conditions, and stem cell use in research, which can be publicly funded. NIH also set up a review board to approve stem cell research, which could begin approving experiments in early 2001. But obstacles to federally funded stem cell research still remain: President-elect Bush has stated that he may block such research when he assumes office.
There are large increases for R&D programs in other agencies within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS; see Table 9). R&D in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention increases by 22.7 percent to $585 million. R&D in the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) increases dramatically to $229 million (up 36.4 percent), thanks to a last-minute addition of $50 million for research on medical errors reduction. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) receives $47 million for its R&D, triple the FY 2000 funding level, primarily because of a $25 million congressional earmark for construction of a biotechnology science center. Total HHS R&D rises 15.2 percent to $20.8 billion.
NASA tried to shake off the aftermath of a disastrous 1999 when two Mars spacecraft were lost and the International Space Station struggled to stay on schedule. In 2000, NASA came back with a redesigned Mars program, dramatic images from past Mars missions, and the arrival of the first permanent crew on the now-functional Space Station. Late in the year, good news came in the form of the FY 2001 budget as well. After several years of lean budgets, NASA's FY 2001 budget jumps by $653 million or 4.8 percent to $14.3 billion (see Table 6). Total NASA R&D, which excludes the Space Shuttle program and its mission support costs, climbs 5.3 percent to $10.3 billion, including double-digit percentage increases for key NASA science programs (see Table 6).
The big winner is the Science, Aeronautics, and Technology (SAT) account, which funds nearly all of NASA's R&D not related to the Space Station. SAT receives $6.2 billion, well above the request and a stunning 10.7 percent or $596 million above the FY 2000 funding level. Within SAT, Space Science receives a generous $2.5 billion, 13.2 percent more than FY 2000, including $75 million for the Mars Lander 2003 program. The new Mars Lander was proposed by NASA after the original budget request was submitted in February, and is part of a redesigned Mars program resulting from thorough reviews after the losses of the Mars Orbiter and the Polar Lander last year. The new plan is for six Mars missions this decade, including the launch of an orbiter in 2001 and two landers in 2003. The Space Science budget also funds ongoing Mars missions, including the Mars Global Surveyor which continues to transmit stunning photographs of the Martian surface. In 2000, the mission offered new evidence suggesting that Mars may recently have had abundant surface water. The Space Science budget also includes the requested $20 million for the first year of the "Living with a Star" initiative, which envisions a multi-year program to understand the sun's impact on the Earth and the space environment through a variety of missions to study solar variability.
The Life and Microgravity Sciences and Applications (LMSA) account within SAT receives $314 million, an increase of 14.2 percent. This program funds ground and space-based research to advance the health and safety of astronauts in space, but covers investigations on a variety of life, medical, and microgravity sciences research topics. Aero-Space Technology jumps 10.3 percent to $1.2 billion, including $290 million for the Space Launch Initiative, which funds R&D efforts for reusable launch vehicle technology.
The FY 2001 NASA budget contains $2.1 billion for continued development and construction of the International Space Station, $213 million or 9.2 percent less than FY 2000 because of a planned reduction in costs after several cost overruns in FY 2000. The Space Station now has a permanent three-person crew inhabiting three connected modules, and additional modules will be launched in 2001 including a science module. The non-R&D Space Shuttle program, the other major program within Human Space Flight, increases by 5.1 percent to $3.1 billion; many of the Space Shuttle flights in 2001 will be to the Space Station.
The generous FY 2001 appropriation is welcome news for NASA, whose budget has stagnated in recent years both because of tight fiscal policies for all discretionary programs and because of NASA's goal of doing more with less. After adjusting for inflation, NASA's R&D has been essentially flat at $10 billion in today's dollars since FY 1992 (see Figure 2 and Table A). NASA's R&D grew dramatically from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s, first because of the development of a new Space Shuttle after the 1986 Challenger disaster, and then because of the International Space Station and the expansion of NASA's earth science activities.
Although much of NASA's R&D funds development projects such as the Space Station, NASA is also an important source of federal support for basic and applied research. Engineering research makes up the largest part of the agency's portfolio. NASA funds approximately a third of total federal support for engineering research, and is the second largest agency sponsor after DOD. It is also the leading federal sponsor of the environmental sciences (oceanography, atmospheric sciences, geological sciences). The environmental sciences are about a quarter of NASA's portfolio, but NASA funds nearly 40 percent of total federal support for environmental sciences research. NASA also invests heavily in the physical sciences (astronomy, chemistry, and physics). Approximately two-thirds of NASA's physical sciences funding goes to astronomy, and most of the remaining third goes to physics. NASA is the second largest federal sponsor of physical sciences behind the Department of Energy, and is the leading sponsor of astronomy research.
DOE went from crisis to crisis in 2000 as the allegations from 1999 of lax security and thefts of classified nuclear information at its three weapons laboratories played out. The three labs (Los Alamos and Sandia in New Mexico, and Lawrence Livermore in California) are operated by contractors but are owned by DOE, report to DOE management, and perform much of DOE's R&D. 2000 brought additional challenges, including misplaced nuclear weapons code hard drives; a forest fire that forced the evacuation of Los Alamos; a highly publicized preparation for the trial of Wen Ho Lee, a Los Alamos scientist accused of espionage; and allegations of discrimination against Asian Americans at the labs. DOE also had to manage the creation of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) as a semi-autonomous agency within DOE to take over the department's nuclear weapons activities, including R&D at the three weapons labs, and the agency had to deal with cost overruns and project delays in the National Ignition Facility.
In 1999, Congress created NNSA within DOE. NNSA is responsible for ensuring the security and reliability of the nation's nuclear weapons stockpile and promoting nuclear safety in a manner consistent with environmental protection and national security. NNSA started formal operations on March 1 under General John Gordon, a presidentially-appointed and Senate-confirmed Under Secretary for Nuclear Security who also serves as Administrator for Nuclear Security in NNSA. All NNSA employees and NNSA contractors report only to this new Administrator and no one in the non-NNSA parts of DOE except the Secretary of Energy, who retains ultimate control of NNSA and the rest of DOE. The DOE budget was reorganized so that NNSA now has its own budget accounts within DOE. Most of DOE's defense R&D (in Atomic Energy Defense Activities in Table 7) is now part of the NNSA.
While the Wen Ho Lee case ultimately did not go to trial and the NNSA reorganization appeared to go smoothly, lingering questions remain about whether DOE can continue to manage both groundbreaking science and national security, while keeping morale high at the laboratories. At the end of the year, there was another morale crisis at the laboratories over news that the FY 2001 defense authorization bill will require an additional 5,000 lab employees to undergo polygraph tests; it seems likely that 2001 will bring further turmoil to the weapons labs as further security regulations are phased in.
Amid the confusion and crisis, there was much good news for the DOE budget. Total DOE R&D in FY 2001 rises a staggering $878 million or 12.3 percent to $8.0 billion (see Table 7). There are double-digit percentage increases for all three DOE missison areas of defense, energy, and science.
In the Science account, Congress provides $3.0 billion for R&D, a substantial 13.8 percent or $363 million boost over FY 2000. President Clinton made DOE's science programs a centerpiece of his FY 2001 proposal to achieve a more balanced research portfolio by balancing past increases for NIH with large increases for key supporters of non-biomedical research such as DOE and NSF. President Clinton requested a 12.6 percent increase for Science R&D as part of this balancing effort, and Congress added even more money. The big winner in Science is Basic Energy Sciences, which receives $1.0 billion for R&D in FY 2001, an increase of 29.7 percent. Most of the increase is for the Spallation Neutron Source, which receives $279 million, nearly double the FY 2000 funding level. Of the total funding for this large scientific user facility, to be built at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, $260 million is for construction and the remaining $19 million for development work.
Other Science programs also receive large increases. R&D funding in Advanced Scientific Computing Research, recently renamed from Computing and Technology Research, increases from $128 million to $168 million, a boost of 31.2 percent that will allow DOE to expand substantially its participation in the multi-agency Information Technology R&D initiative. The Biological and Environmental Research (BER) R&D programs receives an increase of $61 million or 14.1 percent to $494 million, mostly because of congressionally designated projects at colleges and universities. Other Science programs increase only modestly.
DOE's defense R&D programs receive large increases, consistent with increases for defense spending in DOD, despite the controversy over the weapons labs. Total DOE defense R&D jumps 12.0 percent to $3.7 billion.
Most of DOE's defense R&D is now funded within NNSA. In FY 2001, NNSA is responsible for $6.6 billion, or roughly a third, of the total DOE budget. The Weapons Activities program, the cornerstone of NNSA's mission to use science-based methods to ensure the safety and reliability of the nation's nuclear stockpile, receives $2.5 billion for its R&D activities, a boost of 13.7 percent. The Accelerated Strategic Computing Initiative (ASCI; $477 million, a boost of $80 million above the FY 2000 funding level) continues its effort to develop the next generation of supercomputers to simulate nuclear explosions without nuclear testing. ASCI is a major part of the IT R&D initiative.
Despite controversies over ballooning project costs and construction delays, construction of the National Ignition Facility (NIF) receives $199 million, less than the $247 million for FY 2000 but far more than the original $74 million request. After the February release of the budget, DOE requested more money because of a series of cost overruns and delays which have now pushed the total project cost to $3.5 billion from an original $2.0 billion estimate and which have delayed the completion date to 2008 from 2004. Congress responded angrily to these developments, and although Congress grudgingly allocated more funding it comes with several conditions. Only half the funds are available immediately, while the release of the other half in March, 2001, depends on NNSA supplying a new project plan, a new budget plan, a certification of construction progress, and a study on possible cheaper alternatives to the project.
There are also increases for DOE's energy-related R&D programs, including $444 million for R&D in Energy Supply (up 21.9 percent) to fund solar and renewables R&D programs and R&D on nuclear energy. There are also substantial increases for R&D in the Energy Conservation program (up 6.3 percent to $458 million) and the Fossil Energy program (up 3.4 percent to $339 million).
DOE's R&D budget has had an up-and-down history over the past several years. Because of the end of the Cold War, DOE defense R&D declined sharply from FY 1992 to FY 1995, but has increased since then as the Stockpile Stewardship (now Weapons Activities) program's budget has grown to reflect DOE's commitment to rely on science instead of nuclear testing. The large FY 2001 increase brings DOE defense R&D nearly back to its Cold War funding levels. DOE nondefense R&D also peaked in FY 1992 but then suffered a steeper and more prolonged decline that lasted until FY 1998. Initially, the cuts were driven by the cancellation of the Superconducting Super Collider in 1993. But after the Republican takeover of Congress in 1994, DOE nondefense R&D declined further because of tight restrictions on domestic discretionary spending aimed at achieving a balanced budget and because of Republican animosity toward DOE itself. In the last few years, DOE nondefense R&D has begun to inch back toward previous funding levels. Taken together, total DOE R&D has been increasing in real terms for the past four years but remains below the funding levels of the early 1990s (see Figure 2).
Congress provided NSF with a large increase in FY 2001 that many advocates in the science and engineering communities hope will be the first installment of a plan to double the NSF budget over the next five years. The NSF budget for FY 2001 of $4.4 billion represents an increase of 13.3 percent or $519 million over FY 2000. NSF's R&D funding, which excludes NSF's education and training activities and overhead costs, totals $3.2 billion, an increase of $377 million or 13.2 percent (see Table 10).
When introducing his budget request in February, President Clinton made NSF the centerpiece of his budget for R&D, which placed a strong emphasis on achieving a better balance among science and engineering disciplines. Although a series of large increases for NIH has resulted in a pronounced emphasis on biomedical and life sciences research in recent years within the federal research portfolio, the FY 2001 budget proposed large increases for R&D programs in non-life sciences discplines. Because NSF is the only R&D funding agency responsible for the entire range of science and engineering disciplines, with a mission of supporting fundamental research and non-life sciences disciplines, the budget request singled out NSF for an unprecedented $675 million or 17.3 percent increase in its total budget with special attention to the agency's leading role in several multi-agency initiatives.
Congress provided less than the request, but the final NSF budget contains substantial increases for most NSF programs. The Research and Related Activities (R&RA) account, which funds most of NSF's R&D, receives $3.3 billion, 13.0 percent or $384 million above the FY 2000 funding level.
Two research directorates receive increases of approximately 20 percent. The big winner is the Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) directorate, which receives $483 million for an increase of 24.5 percent. The appropriation should allow CISE to expand dramatically both its core research programs and its participation in the multi-agency information technology research (ITR) initiative, for which CISE funding jumps from $90 million to $215 million. Another big winner is the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (SBE) directorate, which receives $176 million for a boost of 20.6 percent. Congress directed SBE to start a Children's Research Initiative, with instructions for NSF to expand this effort in the FY 2002 budget request and in future years.
The Clinton Administration proposed a new Nanotechnology initiative in February, and Congress approved $150 million for NSF's leading role in the multi-agency effort, far above the FY 2000 comparable funding level of $97 million. The initiative aims to expand fundamental research in nanoscience and nanoengineering on manipulating objects at the molecular level to create machines or other structures with new properties and capabilities. Most of NSF's nanotechnology effort is funded through the Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS) directorate (up 11.4 percent to $844 million total) and Engineering (ENG; up 8.3 percent to $414 million).
The Major Research Equipment account, which funds construction of large-scale scientific facilities, receives $121 million, nearly a third more than FY 2000. This total includes $45 million in FY 2001 for the Terascale Computing Systems project, part of the ITR initiative. The FY 2000 budget provided $36 million to build an initial terascale (trillions of computing operations a second) computing site, while the FY 2001 appropriation provides funds for a second site. Research instrumentation and other small-scale scientific equipment is funded through the Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) program within the Integrative Activities account. The MRI program receives $75 million, $25 million more than FY 2000.
NSF's Education and Human Resources directorate receives $786 million, well above $691 million in FY 2000, including $75 million for the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR; up from $60 million) and another $10 million for the Office of Innovation Partnerships. Both programs aim to improve the research competitiveness of 18 states (and Puerto Rico) and research institutions traditionally underrepresented as recipients of federal research funding.
The generous FY 2001 appropriation continues the recent trend of large increases for NSF (see Figure 2 and Table A). The NSF budget grew steadily in the 1980s and until FY 1995, but then stagnated and even declined because of severe budget pressures in the mid-1990s as the federal government restrained discretionary spending to achieve a balanced budget. NSF resumed its long-term growth trend after FY 1998, when the government entered the current age of surpluses. The FY 2001 increase brings the NSF budget to an all-time high in real terms.
The large increase for NSF may be the first year of an effort by NSF supporters to double the NSF budget in five years. Over the summer, several Senators led a so-far unsuccessful effort to commit Congress to that goal, patterning their effort after an informal commitment made three years ago by NIH supporters to double the NIH budget in five years, an effort that remains on track. The FY 2001 increase could be seen as the first installment of the doubling effort, but NSF appropriations will have to be decided annually by future Congresses and Presidents.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) funds agricultural research in universities and in its own laboratories, and forestry research through the Forest Service. Thanks to a windfall of congressionally designated projects and a last-minute decision to allow a new mandatory grants program to proceed, in FY 2001 USDA R&D totals $2.0 billion, a large boost of $190 million or 10.8 percent over the FY 2000 funding level (see Table 12).
Congress allowed two mandatory (non-appropriated) grants programs to spend their R&D funds after earlier attempts to cancel them. The Initiative for Future Agriculture and Food Systems (IFAFS) was created in June, 1998, as a mandatory program of $120 million a year for five years on competitively awarded grants for agricultural research, to be administered by USDA's Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service (CSREES). The Appropriations Committees were upset that this program, created by the House and Senate Agriculture Committees, would take some agricultural research spending decisions out of their jurisdictions, so they blocked USDA from spending the first $120 million installment of these funds in FY 1999. But because these funds were made available by law for two years, the FY 1999 money became available in FY 2000 and was distributed. Last year, Congress blocked the FY 2000 funds but again only for one year, so USDA anticipates that these FY 2000 funds will become available this year to fund the FY 2001 round of grants.
While the House would have blocked the program from spending any of its funds, the Senate would have blocked only the FY 2001 funds for a year, allowing USDA to spend its FY 2000 funds in FY 2001 as planned. The final Agriculture spending bill takes the Senate position. (To reflect more accurately when the money will be spent, Table 12 shows $120 million in FY 1999 funds in the FY 2000 column and the FY 2000 funds in the FY 2001 columns.)
Similarly, the Fund for Rural America in the Office of the Secretary was reauthorized in June, 1998, for five years, but FY 1999 spending was blocked and became available in FY 2000. Congress blocked the FY 2001 funds, but allowed half the FY 2000 funds to be spent in FY 2001 and the other half in FY 2002. (Table 12 includes half the FY 2000 funds in the FY 2001 column to reflect more accurately when the money will be spent.)
While competitively awarded grants in the above two programs fare well in FY 2001, other competitively awarded research grants decline. CSREES also administers appropriated research grants programs. The National Research Initiative (NRI), the existing competitive research grants program IFAFS was designed to supplement, receives only $106 million, far below $119 million in FY 2000 and nearly a third below the $150 million request. Instead of competitively awarded grants, Congress directs funds toward Special Research Grants, which receive $85 million, $21 million or 33.6 percent more than FY 2000 and $79 million more than the request. These funds go to 170 itemized projects, nearly all of which are for geographically specific congressionally designated projects. There are also numerous other congressionally designated projects in other parts of the CSREES budget.
Agricultural Research Service (ARS) R&D totals $994 million in FY 2001, a substantial increase of 9.7 percent. ARS funds intramural research through a nationwide network of intramural laboratories and agricultural experiment stations.
Other R&D funding agencies within USDA include the Economic Research Service (ERS), a leading supporter of research in economics, particularly agricultural economics. ERS receives $67 million in FY 2001, an increase of $3 million. The Forest Service supports ecosystems and forestry research, and receives $237 million for its R&D in FY 2001, a boost of 12.4 percent.
Total R&D spending in the Office of the Secretary is $58 million in FY 2001, nearly six times the FY 2000 total of $10 million. In addition to the Fund for Rural America, the FY 2001 total includes $51 million in one-time appropriations for congressionally designated R&D projects that are part of a crop insurance bill signed into law in June.
The FY 2001 increase for USDA R&D continues a trend of increases over the past few years. USDA R&D peaked in FY 1992 and declined for several years before hitting a low in FY 1996 (see Table A). Since then, the funding trend has been generally upward. In FY 2000 and 2001, the release of IFAFS funds has allowed USDA to exceed its early 1990s funding levels.
Advocates of expanded agricultural research have called for USDA to boost its investments in agricultural R&D to meet the challenges of maintaining U.S. leadership in agriculture and ensuring food safety, but USDA has been stymied in its efforts to boost its competitively awarded research grants. NRI has never received more than $120 million a year despite the original vision of its authorizers in the 1990 Farm Act of a $500 million a year program. IFAFS was originally designed to increase spending on competitive grants, but the program has endured numerous congressional attempts to block its funding. The FY 2001 budget contains good news for IFAFS, but support for NRI still languishes.
The Department of Commerce receives $1.1 billion for its R&D in FY 2001, $38 million or 3.5 percent more than FY 2000 (see Table 11).
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) receives $419 million for its R&D activities in FY 2001, a cut of 8.5 percent because NIST's Construction of Research Facilities declines from $107 million to $35 million. NIST requested only $36 million because most of the FY 2000 funding was a one-time appropriation to fund the construction of a new Advanced Measurement Laboratory (AML) at NIST headquarters in Maryland. Congress funded most of the request, but diverted $14 million for congressionally designated projects.
Congress did not provide funds for a proposed Institute for Information Infrastructure Protection (IIIP), in contrast to a $50 million request out of which $44 million would have funded R&D. IIIP would have supported research and technology development to protect critical information and telecommunications infrastructures from attack or other failures. Instead of IIIP, Congress allocated $5 million within NIST's intramural research account for infrastructure protection research.
NIST intramural laboratory research programs grow by 8.8 percent to $257 million for R&D in the Measurement and Standards Laboratories. R&D in the Advanced Technology Program (ATP) also grows, by 6.8 percent to $123 million. While this appropriation falls far short of the request, it is far better than the original House appropriation which would have eliminated the program. The House has repeatedly voted to terminate the program, but the Senate and the Clinton Administration have always managed to preserve it in final Commerce budgets.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has an R&D budget of $638 million in FY 2001, an increase of $47 million or 8.0 percent over FY 2000. Congress boosted funding for NOAA's main R&D account, Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR), from $301 million in FY 2000 to $323 million. Included is a boost in Climate and Air Quality Research from $130 million to $144 million.
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) increases its support of R&D from $20 million to $49 million, In addition to its support for telecommunications sciences research, NTIA nearly triples its support of Technology Opportunity Grants from $16 million to $46 million. These grants fund the development of innovative technology systems to provide the benefits of information technology to Americans in under-served communities.
The FY 2001 increase keeps Commerce R&D at a stable funding level after adjusting for inflation. Mostly because of strong Clinton Administration support for NIST programs, and secondarily because of bipartisan support for NOAA's R&D programs in the early 1990s, Commerce R&D in FY 2001 is nearly double the funding level of a decade ago (in inflation-adjusted terms; see Table A). Commerce is now one of seven agencies to fund more than $1 billion in R&D annually. However, Commerce R&D peaked in FY 1995 and has been up and down since then because partisan disagreements on the proper federal role in commercial technology have made ATP a contentious political issue, because Republican hostility toward some environmental R&D programs have resulted in cuts to NOAA, and because tight discretionary spending caps have limited the pool of money available for NIST and NOAA.
The Department of the Interior has an R&D budget of $597 million in FY 2001, $24 million or 4.2 percent more than FY 2000 (see Table 14).
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is the primary sponsor of R&D in Interior. Its total FY 2001 appropriation is $883 million, a substantial 8.5 percent increase over FY 2000 that nearly matches the President's request for $895 million. Nearly two-thirds of the USGS budget is for R&D activities, for a total of $543 million, a substantial increase of 8.1 percent over FY 2000.
USGS is one of the leading federal sponsors of earth sciences research, along with DOE, NSF, and NASA. Within the earth sciences, USGS is particularly important in geological hazards research, including research on earthquakes and volcanoes. The earth sciences program in USGS receives a 4.9 percent increase over the comparable amount in FY 2000. USGS is also a leading sponsor of water resources research, which receives a 1.9 percent increase, and biological research, which increases substantially by 14.1 percent to $156 million. Most of this research is conducted within Interior labs to address the science needs of Interior's other agencies, such as the Fish and Wildlife Service and the Bureau of Land Management.
The FY 2001 increase enables Interior R&D to stay just ahead of inflation. Interior R&D has declined sharply since FY 1994 (see Table A), primarily because of the elimination of the Bureau of Mines in FY 1996 and the merger of the National Biological Service into USGS. Since then, Interior R&D funding has been flat.
Congress approved $686 million in FY 2001 for the R&D activities of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), $39 million or 6.0 percent more than last year, in contrast to a requested cut (see Table 15). Congress approved a total EPA budget of $7.8 billion, a boost of $379 million or 5.1 percent over FY 2000.
EPA's final R&D total exceeds the request of $673 million, but Congress reduced the request for the transportation research program in the Climate Change Technology Initiative (CCTI) by $26 million down to $39 million, which still leaves funding well above $30 million in FY 2000. CCTI is a multi-agency initiative to address global warming through partnerships with locally based organizations, research on energy efficient technologies, and tax incentives for energy efficiency. Most of the increase in R&D funding over FY 2000 goes to more than 30 congressionally designated research projects, leaving most other EPA R&D programs with level funding.
In the overall EPA budget, Congress mostly stuck to EPA's priorities for FY 2001, except for a boost in funding for State and Tribal Assistance Grants. Although EPA requested a cut in this program from $3.4 billion to $2.9 billion, the final EPA spending bill provides $3.6 billion, a 5.1 percent boost over FY 2000. Most of this money goes to state and local governments, and is perennially more popular with Congress than EPA. For Environmental Programs and Management, which funds most of EPA's operating expenses, Congress appropriated $2.1 billion, a substantial 9.9 percent increase, partly because of more than 100 congressionally designated projects. Congress trimmed $78 million from the request for CCTI programs. Combined with CCTI R&D programs, total CCTI funding for FY 2001 is $123 million, up from $103 million in FY 2000 but little more than half the $227 million request.
The Superfund program stays even at $1.2 billion in FY 2001. Superfund continues to fund $37 million (down $1 million from FY 2000) in research on hazardous substances. The Superfund program traditionally transfers another part of its appropriation to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS, part of NIH) for activities including R&D, but Congress chose to appropriate these funds directly to NIEHS in FY 2001. (These funds are included in the NIH table (Table 8) rather than the EPA table (Table 15).)
The EPA research portfolio is balanced between the environmental sciences, the life sciences, and engineering research. Although EPA is the major environmental regulatory agency in the federal government, its R&D is primarily oriented toward its regulatory mission. Many other agencies (NOAA, NASA, Interior) fund environmental research related to their missions of research, resource stewardship, and economic management of the natural environment, so EPA is a relatively small part of federal environmental R&D. Nearly half of EPA's R&D is performed in the agency's own laboratories, while about a third is performed in the nation's colleges and universities, a share that has been growing in recent years. The remainder is performed by industrial firms and nonprofit institutions.
EPA's R&D funding has been stagnant for the last few years following steady growth until FY 1994 (see Table A). After the 1994 elections when the Republican Party gained control of Congress, EPA's R&D budget declined sharply and bottomed out in FY 1996. EPA's R&D budget increased again after that but in FY 2001 is still barely above the FY 1994 funding level in inflation-adjusted terms.
The Department of Transportation (DOT) has an R&D budget of $701 million in FY 2001, a substantial boost of 15.5 percent or $94 million over FY 2000 (see Table 13). The large increase for DOT R&D mirrors the large increase to the total DOT budget, which rises by 15.4 percent or $7.7 billion to $58.0 billion thanks to guaranteed funding increases provided in recent highway and aviation authorization bills.
Transportation spending began rising dramatically in 1998 with the enactment of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21). TEA-21, a six-year reauthorization bill for most highway and transit programs, dedicates all highway and transit trust fund receipts for transportation and creates two new categories of discretionary spending (highways and transit programs) for that purpose. Spending in these two categories is determined by receipts from transportation taxes and not by legislative limits.
Because transportation revenues have been rising and all these revenues are required to be spent on transportation, there are large budget increases for the two primary beneficiaries of TEA-21 spending, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA; $33.4 billion, up 16.2 percent) and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA; $6.3 billion, up 8.2 percent). In FY 2001, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) receives an even larger percentage increase (up 19.9 percent to $12.0 billion) because the Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century (AIR21) signed into law earlier this year provides TEA-21-like guarantees of increased funding for FAA programs. Other DOT agencies, funded primarily from general funds, also do well in FY 2001 because most of them deal with transportation safety, a high priority for congressional appropriators.
FHWA's R&D programs receive $272 million, a gain of $15 million or 5.8 percent over FY 2000, mostly because of the guaranteed funding in TEA-21. The Administration's request was for $314 million. In the request, DOT had proposed to reallocate a portion of unexpected additional revenues from the highway trust fund toward uses not specified in TEA-21, including a significant diversion of funds to R&D. Congress rejected this proposal, and distributed all the additional revenue to the states according to the TEA-21 distribution formula, just as Congress rejected a similar proposal in 1999.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), because of the increased guaranteed funding in AIR21, receives $292 million for R&D, a substantial boost of 29.3 percent. FAA's R&D, however, totaled over $300 million annually in the early 1990s until FY 1995, and then declined sharply due to budget cuts. The increase recovers some of the lost ground, and goes to research in areas such as aircraft safety technology, aging aircraft, system security
The majority of DOT's R&D is performed by intramural laboratories and industrial performers. Universities and colleges perform about a tenth of DOT's R&D, and a similar proportion is performed by state and local governments.
Although DOT wins a large increase in FY 2001, its support of R&D is still well below the levels of the mid-1990s in inflation-adjusted terms. DOT's R&D peaked in FY 1995 and then suffered a steep decline, particularly in the FAA, as a result of efforts to bring the federal budget into surplus (see Table A). The large increase, especially in FAA, helps to bring total DOT R&D back toward early 1990s funding levels.