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FY 2023 Omnibus Highlights and R&D Estimates

A look at how R&D fares in the FY 2023 omnibus appropriation bill

The final omnibus text was released early Tuesday morning, only 4 days before the end of the latest continuing resolution. As Congress rushes to vote on the budget before time runs out, you can keep track of last-minute changes through our 2023 appropriations dashboard.

R&D Totals

Our estimates of the R&D funding in the omnibus show a total of $195.2 billion, a 10.3% increase over FY 2022, and a middle ground between the previously proposed Senate and House versions. The breakdown of that total changed significantly, with defense R&D receiving a much more substantial portion, with a 12.3% increase compared to a 9% or 11.1% increase previously proposed.

Most agencies saw an increase in development projects, an administration preference that has been seen throughout the budget process, culminating in an 18.5% increase in the omnibus. Some agencies with big increases are DOD with a 20% increase – which is the primary driver for the increased defense share – and DOE with a 36% increase. The Bureau of the Census is also coming out with a 160% increase in development funding, though their office is not large enough to sway the totals much.

Basic, and especially applied research also continued to see the same trend that was established in the 2023 Presidential budget request. Applied research is remaining at FY2022 levels – this despite NSF receiving a 21% increase in applied research funding to fulfill the goals of the CHIPS and Science Act. Basic research is looking at a 7.2% increase, in line with inflation, largely in part due to the increases at NSF and DOE.

In sum, R&D funding is about 11.5% of the $1.7 trillion discretionary spending bill.

A table breaking down the estimate funding for basic, applied, and development research acorss the federal budget proposals


Table 2 shows the estimated R&D funding for each agency, the breakdowns of which are calculated by extrapolating the ratio of basic, applied, and developmental research identified in the presidential budget request and applying it to the funding levels outlined in the omnibus.

A table showing the estimate R&D funding across the various research focused agencies


One of the agencies in the table above that saw a decrease in R&D funding is NASA, though it is not seeing decreases in total funding. This is because of fluctuations in Exploration R&D due to the progress of certain missions from developmental stages to regular implementation, and a change in acquisition strategy for the Human Landing System.


Agency Highlights:

As with any budget, some agencies fared better than others in the omnibus. This section will highlight agencies that had notable changes, including the agencies that were authorized for new programs and funding under the CHIPS and Science Act signed this summer.

National Science Foundation – NSF received $9.5 billion through regular appropriations, already a 7.9% increase, plus another $335 million in supplemental funding bringing the total up to a 12% total increase. In terms of R&D funds, NSF is looking at a 10.6% increase over FY2022, including the supplemental funds.

Much of the increase is in STEM Education, with a 36.3% increase to allow the expansion of the Early Career Researcher fellowship program promised in the CHIPS and Science Act. In Research and Related Activities, $680 million is appropriated for the new TIPS directorate, plus another $210 from the supplemental that will likely fund TIPS. This, however, does not compare to the authorization which gave a ceiling of up to $11.8 billion.

Department of Energy – The outcomes for DOE were varied, the Energy Programs mostly saw only mild increases, with the notable exceptions of the Office of Electricity receiving a 26.4% increase and the Office of Nuclear Energy receiving a 11.0% cut. Overall energy programs are looking at a 3.85 increase over FY2022.

The Science side of DOE fares better, with an 8.4% increase overall. The divisions faring best are Nuclear Physics, Biological and Environmental Research, and Basic Energy Sciences, all areas touched by CHIPS and Science authorization. The Fusion Energy Sciences, despite being included in CHIPS and Science authorizations as well, received a below average increase of 7.0%.

ARPA-E is looking at a 4.4% increase, compared to a request that would have nearly doubled it.

National Institute of Standards and Technology – NIST may be the last of the CHIPS and Science agencies on this list, but it did not fare badly. In fact, NIST is looking at a 32.3% increase in funding over FY2022, primarily focused on an expansion of Manufacturing USA (a 124.2% increase) to meet goals articulated in the CHIPS and Science authorization, and construction of new research facilities. The Hollings Manufacturing Partnership, also a CHIPS and Science authorized item, is looking at a 10.8% expansion.

Department of Defense – The DOD saw significant increases, with Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation seeing a 19.9% increase over FY2022, more than twice the increase requested by the administration. As mentioned above, applied research (named 6.3 Advanced Tech Development within DOD accounts) received one of the largest increases: 26.8%. The largest went to System Development and Demonstrations (6.4) with a 49.9% increase over FY2022.

Among the branches, Space Force saw the largest increase (79.2%) – a product of its expansion as a branch. Notably, Space Force was appropriated basic research funds once more, following the footsteps of the Senate bill which was the first to appropriate it to the branch.

National Institutes of Health – NIH fared better in the omnibus than in any of the other proposed budgets this year with a 5.4% increase. Among the institutes, the Institute on Minority and Health Disparities is getting the largest increase (14.2%), though it is nowhere near the 43.7% increase proposed by the President.

The omnibus also continued to place ARPA-H, who received a 50% increase, outside of NIH cementing it as a separate entity withing HHS. The language also outlines that as a separate entity, ARPA-H cannot reside on the NIH campus, so a selection for its physical location will likely follow.

Department of Transportation – While the DoT’s research arm is small in comparison to the other agencies listed, it fared extremely well in the omnibus. The Research and Innovation Tech Administration housed under the Secretary of Transportation is looking at a 114.9% increase for FY2022, and the FAA’s Research, Engineering and Development program is looking at a decent 28.8% increase as well. The Department overall is seeing a 40% increase in development research funding, and significant facilities funding increases.