Skip to main content

AAAS Celebrates Federal Spending Increases for Scientific Research

Fiscal 2018 spending increases included a 5.5% boost for NASA science programs. | NASA

The American Association for the Advancement of Science applauded President Donald Trump for signing into law a $1.3 trillion fiscal 2018 spending measure on Friday that delivers significant increases for science and technology programs and scientific research endeavors.

“We thank Congress and President Trump for investing in scientific research and development by signing the FY 2018 omnibus funding bill into law. Many Members of Congress recognize that funding science and technology is critical to our nation, economic growth and public well-being,” said Rush Holt, CEO of AAAS, in a statement. “According to AAAS estimates, total federal R&D spending will reach its highest point ever in inflation-adjusted dollars. This is something to celebrate.”

The catch-all spending measure carries significant spending increases for most of the federal government’s major scientific agencies, including biomedical health, energy, space, defense, geological and agricultural research programs.

An analysis by AAAS’ R&D Budget and Policy Program stated that under the measure “basic and applied research funding would receive its largest year-over-year increase since the FY 2009 Recovery Act.”

Big winners included the National Institutes of Health, which secured a $3 billion or 8.7% increase and the Department of Energy’s science programs, which received a $6.26 billion or 16.1% increase over fiscal 2017 spending levels. Science agencies also averted many of the double-digit percentage reductions Trump had requested in his fiscal 2018 budget blueprint.

The measure also removes barriers for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to conduct research on the causes of gun violence, a move that Holt thanked Congress for accomplishing.

Pointing to the budget agreement Congress reached in early February that lifted mandatory spending caps for the next two years, Holt added, “These funding increases were made possible because Congress worked together to pass a bipartisan deal that raised the spending caps for defense and non-defense discretionary spending.”

See also coverage of the impacts of the 2018 omnibus by Science news.