President's 1998 R&D Budget

President Bill Clinton has requested a 3% spending increase at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) as part of his $1.7 trillion budget package, which was submitted to Congress today. The request includes an overall increase of 4% in civilian R&D and a 1% increase in defense R&D, bringing total federal R&D spending to $75.5 billion. The NIH request would boost the agency's budget by $337 million, to $13.3 billion, while NSF's budget would go up by $100 million, to nearly $3.4 billion.

The request--for the 1998 fiscal year, which begins on 1 October--would give a 10% increase to the $1.1 billion high-performance computing initiative and raise spending on the $1.4 billion global-change research program by 4%. The president's budget would also boost the controversial Advanced Technology Program, which funds joint research projects with industry, by 22%, to $275 million.

For the Department of Energy, the president requested $394 million over 8 years to fund the U.S. contribution to Europe's next big accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider, although only $35 million is requested for 1998. NASA would receive $13.5 billion under the plan, a $200 million drop from this year. But the space agency's $2 billion space science program would win a 4% boost to bolster NASA's Origins program, which is aimed at understanding the evolution of galaxies, stars, planets, and life.

White House officials estimate that the new budget contains $22 billion for merit-reviewed programs and $13 billion in funding for academic research. Both figures are 2% increases over 1997 and in line with the Administration's pledge to foster high-quality, basic research.