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President Joe Biden has outlined his 2022 budget priorities for science.

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Biden’s first budget request goes big on science

President Joe Biden today proposed huge increases for many federal research agencies as part of a $118 billion boost in domestic spending.

The increases over the current year are part of a 58-page list of priorities Biden released today in advance of a detailed budget request to Congress for fiscal year 2022, which begins on 1 October. Civilian agencies would receive an overall 16% boost, to $769 billion, whereas defense spending would rise by less than 2%, to $753 billion.

Here are some research highlights from that request, written as a letter to Senator Patrick Leahy (D–VT), chair of the Senate Committee on Appropriations.

  • The National Institutes of Health (NIH) would grow by $9 billion, to $51 billion. That total includes $6.5 billion for a new entity, the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Health (ARPA-H), that would initially focus on research into cancer and other diseases such as diabetes and Alzheimer’s. APRA-H aims to “drive transformational innovation in health research and speed application and implementation of health breakthroughs,” the request says.
  • A $10 million NIH office funding research on climate change and human health would mushroom to $110 million. (A similar office at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] would also get a $100 million boost, to $110 million.) And Biden says he would double current spending on gun violence research at NIH and CDC, but provides no specific numbers.
  • The National Science Foundation would get a 20%, $1.7 billion boost, to $10.2 billion. Within that total, an unspecified amount would go to a new directorate to foster emerging technologies needed to help the country outinnovate the rest of the world. The $2 trillion infrastructure plan that Biden unveiled last week includes up to $50 billion in additional funding for both the agency and the new directorate, which is described in bipartisan proposals pending in both chambers of Congress.
  • The Department of Energy’s Office of Science would grow by $400 million, to $7.4 billion. There is no breakout for its major programs cutting across the physical and natural sciences. The president has also proposed a new unit, the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Climate (ARPA-C). The request says ARPA-C and a similar entity for energy, ARPA-E, would have a combined budget of $1 billion. ARPA-E is currently funded at $427 million.
  • NASA as a whole would get a 6.3% increase, to $24.7 billion. There is no breakout for its science programs, now funded at $7.2 billion except for a requested $250 million boost in the $2 billion earth sciences program. Funding for science education would grow by $20 million, to $147 million.
  • The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) would get a big boost to both its research and industrial programs. Spending on NIST’s research labs would grow by $124 million, to $916 million, and its investment in a network of manufacturing institutes would more than double, to $442 million.
  • The budget of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration would grow by $1.4 billion, to $6.9 billion. The increase includes “$800 million to expand investments in climate research, support regional and local decision-making with climate data and tools, and improve community resilience to climate change.”
  • The Environmental Protection Agency would receive a 21%, $2 billion increase, to $11.2 billion. Some of the money would go to boosting agency staffing levels and enforcement efforts.
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s spending on research, education, and outreach would jump by $647 million, to $4 billion.
  • CDC would get a $1.6 billion increase to $8.7 billion, which the White House claims is “the largest budget authority increase [for the agency] in nearly two decades.”
  • The request says spending on science at the U.S. Geological Survey and other parts of the Department of the Interior would grow by $200 million, but provides no details.

Biden’s request will now go to Congress, which will have the final say on 2022 spending levels. Some of the requests are likely to be controversial and draw pushback from legislators.