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Saturday, February 28, 2009

Obama Budget Strong in Science

By Alexis Madrigal
President Barack Obama unveiled his fiscal year 2010 budget Wednesday — and it's full of good news for scientific research.

Funding for the National Institutes of Health, Department of Energy, NASA, and the Environmental Protection Agency will all increase substantially, although details remain scarce. Combined with the billions doled out in the stimulus package, government scientific agencies will be better funded than they have been in recent memory, if Congress doesn't change Obama's plans too much.

Notable areas in the new budget include:

  • A $2.7 billion increase in the Environmental Protection Agency's budget. That's a 35 percent increase that will push the agency's budget to $10.5 billion. The EPA also got $7 billion in the stimulus package.
  • The National Science Foundation, which builds the big, cool tools for American science, will get an 8.5 percent bump to its budget. Combined with the $3 billion it got stimulated with, it'll have $10 billion to play with.
  • NASA will only get to tack $700 million onto its $18 billion budget from last year but they picked up an extra billion dollars in stimulus cash, too.
  • The Department of Energy raked in $39 billion from the stimulus package. In comparison, the $2.4 billion bump it would get from Obama's budget isn't much. More importantly, we don't know how much more money the DOE's Office of Science will get to add to its $4.8 billion budget. One interesting tidbit: the Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy, an energy research unit modeled on DARPA, finally got $400 million to start up. Former President Bush officially created ARPA-E last year, but it received no funding until the stimulus package.

Stay tuned for more details. We'll be watching as more details about how the agencies will be spending this money emerges.

Original here



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