Flat Line for Science

WASHINGTON, D.C.--President Bush has proposed a flat budget for science next year. Jack Marburger, director of Office of Science and Technology Policy, calls it "a pretty good year" for research given the priorities of fighting terrorism, defending the homeland, and reducing the federal deficit. But most science policy analysts are wringing their hands at the tiny increase for the National Institutes of Health, a small rebound for the National Science Foundation after a cut in 2005, and reductions in the science budgets at NASA and the Department of Energy.

Nils Hasselmo, president of the Association of American Universities, called the budget picture "disappointing at a time that it is so important to sustain the innovative capacity of our nation, especially under increasing competition from Europe and Asia."

The federal science and technology budget--which includes applied research, but not most of the Pentagon's spending on weapons systems--would drop by 1% to $60.9 billion. Basic research makes up about half of that figure, and that slice of the pie would shrink by a similar percentage to $26.6 billion. "The president really cares about science," Marburger says. "It could have been a lot worse."

Agency FY05 ($millions) FY06 req. % change
NIH 28,491 28,687 0.7%
NSF 5,472 5,605 2.4%
NASA (science) 5,530 5,480 -0.9%
DOD (basic research) 1,490 1319 -11.5%
DOE Office of Science 3,600 3463 -3.8%
DHS (science) 1,243 1368 10.1%
NOAA 3940 3585 -9.0%
EPA S&T 744 760 2.1%
Geological Survey 935 933 -2.0%
USDA Natl Research Initiative 180 250 38.9%

Related sites
The President's budget request
Agency links from the AAAS R&D Budget and Policy Program