Public Affairs

Obama Releases FY12 Budget

President Barack Obama released his FY2012 budget request on February 14. Set against the second year of a proposed five-year freeze in total non-security discretionary spending, the Science and Technology request is a reaffirmation of the President’s belief in the importance of science and technology to strengthen the nation’s economic and national security. The requests for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the Department of Energy (DOE) Offi ce of Science are all increases over the FY 2010 budgets for those agencies.

For NIH, the President has proposed $31.7 billion in budget authority for FY 2012, a $745 million (2.4%) increase over FY 2010 comparable levels. An amendment to the NIH budget request is expected later this spring to accommodate changes within NIH as a result of the proposed National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences.

For the National Science Foundation (NSF), the President has requested $7.8 billion, a 13% increase from the FY 2010 level of $6.9 billion. The NSF, along with the Department of Energy’s Offi ce of Science, and the research programs of the National Institute of Standards and Technology have been put on a budget-doubling track. President Obama is continuing an initiative launched by President George W. Bush in 2006 to double funding for these agencies to ensure US leadership in science and technology. Recommendations to double this funding were made in the Rising above the Gathering Storm report, and were the foundation for the original America COMPETES Act and its recent reauthorization.

Under the request, the budget for the DOE Office of Science would increase by 9.1%, or $452.2 million, from $4.96 to $5.4 billion.

The FY 2010 appropriation contained $74.7 million for congressionally directed projects (earmarks) for which the Department did not request funding; this money will be able to be spent elsewhere within the DOE Budget. Congress has prohibited these projects for 2011 and 2012.

An FY 2011 appropriation bill had not been enacted when the President released the FY2012 budget. The Administration is comparing its FY 2012 budget request to an adjusted FY2010 appropriation for this reason.

NCRR Taskforce Recommendations on NCRR Programs Released

In December, NIH Director Francis Collins announced plans to create a new institute at NIH, the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), with the mission of supporting and strengthening translational medicine and therapeutics development. In order to make room for NCATS, Collins has announced that The National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) will be disbanded. NCRR programs will continue and will be placed in other Institutes and Centers.

In February, the NCRR Task Force made its final recommendations regarding placement of NCRR programs once NCRR is disbanded. The Task Force recommendations, which, are posted on the Feedback NIH website and can be found at http://feedback.nih.gov.

The Biophysical Society sent a letter to the NCRR Task Force expressing concern about the continuity of NCRR programs as they are moved to other Institutes, and the fate of programs slated for a temporary Infrastructure Entity.

Congress is currently reviewing NIH’s request to restructure.

April 2011 Table of Contents