NSF to Receive Big Spending Boost

National Science Foundation (NSF) director Rita Colwell has an extra bounce in her step, the result of winning White House approval for a double-digit budget increase. Science has learned that President Clinton's 2001 request, to be unveiled on 7 February, will include a boost of roughly 15% for the $4 billion agency, in line with what the National Institutes of Health has received each of the past 2 years. Congressional approval would mean the biggest spending boost for NSF in a decade, and more than double the 6.6% raise the agency got this year.

NSF's budget is expected to highlight four areas. Three are ongoing efforts, in training, information technology, and biocomplexity, while the fourth--nanotechnology--is part of a new Administration initiative. The White House also has given the green light to two sets of non-astronomical "observatories." One, called EarthScope, would create a mobile seismic network and probe California's San Andreas fault (Science, 26 November 1999, p. 1655); the second, known as NEON, would be a string of high-tech field stations for ecologists (Science, 10 December 1999, p. 2068).