U.S. Physical Science Headed for Modest Boost

The U.S. House of Representatives has approved a $33.5 billion spending bill for energy and water spending in fiscal year 2010, and Senate action could come next week. In the joint House-Senate spending bill that was hammered out yesterday, Department of Energy's Office of Science, which supports most U.S. physical science, was awarded a 2.7% boost.

From the press release:

Office of Science: $4.9 billion, $131 million above 2009, for scientific research critical to addressing long-term energy needs. This funding, in addition to the $4.8 billion appropriated in fiscal year 2009 and $1.6 billion in the Recovery Act, exceeds the goals in the America COMPETES Act.

That goal of the COMPETES Act is to double the Office of Science budget by 20106 When the bill was passed in 2006, the office had a $3.6 billion budget. Accounting for half of the Recovery Act funds, which were meant to be spent in 2009 and 2010, the Office would have $5.7 billion to spend in 2010, putting it well on track for the doubling target, and above the authorized $4.95 billion level that the COMPETES act authorized.

Michael Lubell of the American Physical Society says the boost was "very reasonable" given "the big increase DOE got last year, plus the stimulus funding."

(Note: this item has been updated.)