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Administration Seeks 6.8% Increase in NSF Budget

On Feb. 5, President Bush presented his fiscal year 2008 budget request to Congress for the federal government. In the proposed budget for FY 2008, funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF) rises to $6.43 billion, an increase of $409 million (or 6.8 percent) above the 2007 budget request. At the same time, the U.S. Congress hasn't yet completed action on NSF's 2007 request. The FY 2007 funding bill passed by the House, which is now awaiting Senate consideration, would provide $5.92 billion. Until the measure is enacted, NSF and other federal agencies are operating under a continuing resolution, with flat budgets pegged to 2006 levels. FY 2006 funding for NSF totaled $5.65 billion.

The new funding request signals that the Bush administration remains committed to the American Competitiveness Initiative, announced last year, which called for a doubling of funding for NSF, the Department of Energy's Office of Science, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology over the next decade.

Within the Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS) directorate, the budget request for the Division of Mathematical Sciences (DMS) is $223.47 million, an increase of $17.73 million (or 8.6 percent) over the FY 2007 request.

According to NSF budget documents, the increase is slated for "fundamental mathematical and statistical sciences including activities that strengthen the development of underlying concepts and ideas as well as those that enable effective partnering with other science and engineering disciplines; cyber-enabled discovery and innovation that incorporate modeling, algorithms, and simulation to provide new ways of obtaining insight into the nature of complex phenomena, as well as exploring the challenges of Moore's Law; enhancing the portfolio of collaborations involving institutes and networks; and enhancing the strength of the workforce through discovery-based experiences for undergraduates."

Within the Education and Human Resources (EHR) directorate, the budget request for the Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE) is $210.22 million, an increase of $13.42 million (or 6.8 percent) over the 2007 request of $196.80 million. However, the 2007 funding level was significantly lower than actual funding for FY 2006 of $211.86, and the new request doesn't bring funding all the way back to 2006 levels. DUE includes funding for the National (STEM) Education Digital Library (NSDL), which is roughly even with the 2007 request, and the STEM Talent Expansion Program (STEP), which increases by 12.1 percent.

EHR funding that went to mathematics as a result of the recent NSF-wide priority on the mathematical sciences that ends this year (about $1.09 million in FY 2007 and more in previous years) is now largely back in the core program budgets, with no advantage for mathematics-related proposals. Overall, within EHR, the number of competitive awards is unlikely to increase.

Details of the NSF FY 2008 budget request are available at

News Date: 
Monday, February 12, 2007