The House and Senate Appropriations Committees have just released their drafts (House – Senate) of the FY2013 Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Bill, and the numbers look pretty decent for NSF and NIST.

Short version: NSF would see an increase of 4.3 percent overall in FY13; NIST would see increases of $54-56 million to its core research accounts; NASA would see cuts.

Here are the slightly more detailed summaries (HouseSenate):

On NSF, from the House –

National Science Foundation (NSF) – The legislation funds NSF at $7.3 billion, which is $299 million above fiscal year 2012 and $41 million below the President’s request. NSF’s entire increase is provided to core research and education activities, which are critical to innovation and U.S. economic competitiveness, including funding for an advanced manufacturing science initiative and for research in cyber-security and cyber-infrastructure.

That’s a 4.3 percent increase over FY12, 1 percent less than the President’s Budget Request. NSF’s Research and Related Activities Account would receive a 4.5 percent increase in the bill.

From the Senate –

National Science Foundation (NSF) — The National Science Foundation (NSF) is funded at $7.3 billion, an increase of $240 million above the fiscal year 2012 enacted level.

Same overall level.

On NIST, from the House –

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) – NIST is funded at $830 million in the bill, which is $79 million above fiscal year 2012 and $27 million below the President’s request. Within this total, important core research activities to help advance U.S. competitiveness, innovation, and economic growth are increased by $54 million above fiscal year 2012. In addition, the bill includes $128 million for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership program – which provides training and technical assistance to U.S. manufacturers – and $21 million for an Advanced Manufacturing competitive research initiative.

From the Senate –

 National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) – NIST is funded at $826 million, which is $75 million above the fiscal year 2012 enacted level. The bill provides an increase of $56 million for NIST’s laboratories and technical research while maintaining strong support with industry partners including $128.5 million for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership and $14.5 million for the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Consortia (AMTech)

So, both have healthy increases for NIST core research.

NASA doesn’t fare as well in the House. On NASA, from the House –

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) – NASA is funded at $17.6 billion in the bill, which is $226 million below fiscal year 2012 and $138 million below the President’s request. This funding includes:

  • $3.7 billion for Exploration – $59 million below fiscal year 2012. This includes funding to keep NASA on schedule for upcoming Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle and Space Launch System flight milestones and to maintain progress in a reconfigured commercial crew program.
  • $4 billion for Space Operations – $249 million below fiscal year 2012. The legislation will continue the closeout of the Space Shuttle program for a savings of $503 million.
  • $5.1 billion for NASA Science programs – $5 million above fiscal year 2012. This includes $1.4 billion for planetary science to ensure the continuation of critical research and development programs that were imperiled by the President’s request. This also includes $628 million, as requested, for the James Webb Space Telescope.

NASA research also sees cuts in the Senate bill –

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is funded at $19.4 billion, an  increase of $1.6 billion over the fiscal year 2012 enacted level. The large increase results from a reorganization of operational weather satellite procurement from NOAA into NASA. Without the funds for weather satellite procurement, this level represents a $41.5 million cut from the fiscal year 2012 enacted level.

The bill provides $5 billion for Science which is $69 million less than fiscal year 2012. Within Science, the bill restores $100 million of a proposed cut to robotic Mars science programs, resulting in a total of $461 million for Mars robotic science.

So, on the whole, good news for the agencies we care most about in this bill, except for NASA. The bills have some marked differences in the way they treat other programs in the bill — NOAA satellites paid for by NASA, for example and differences in the way some Dept of Justice programs are funded — that might cause some rejiggering of funding levels as these bills go to the floor and into conference. But it’s always better to start with a big-ish number and work from there, rather than starting with a smaller number. Also important is the verbiage used by both committees in summarizing the increases. Our arguments about the importance of NSF and NIST in promoting US innovation and competitiveness still resonate loudly with both sides of the aisle.

More details as they become available!

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As we noted yesterday,  science agencies were among the winners in the President’s budget request. The National Science Foundation “fared very well,” according to Director Subra Suresh, garnering an increase in the President’s plan of $340 million or nearly 5 percent compared to FY 12 final levels. Computing research, in particular, did even better.  The agency’s Computer and Information Science and Engineering directorate (CISE) — the home for fundamental computing research at the agency — would see an increase of 8.6 percent in the President’s plan, the highest percentage increase among all the major science directorates.

How does computing warrant this seemingly preferential treatment? In large part, the reason lies with the agency’s new priorities — a suite of mostly-new initiatives announced by Suresh under what he called the new “OneNSF Framework.” In each, computing plays a key, or even foundational, role:

  • Cyber-enabled Materials, Manufacturing, and Smart Systems (CEMMS) — $247 million across the foundation, including $91 million in CISE;
  • Cyberinfrastructure Framework for 21st Century Science and Engineering (CIF21) — $106 million NSF-wide, $16 million in CISE;
  • Expeditions in Education (E2) — $49 million NSF-wide, $4 million in CISE;
  • NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps) — $19 million NSF-wide, $6 million in CISE;
  • Integrated NSF Support Promoting Interdisciplinary Research and Education (INSPIRE) — $63 million NSF-wide, $4 million in CISE;
  • Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace (SaTC) — $110 million NSF-wide, $69 million in CISE;
  • Science, Engineering, and Education for Sustainability (SEES) — $203 million NSF-wide, $11.5 million in CISE.

While some of this funding represents research already funded under different programs — for example, CISE already supports research in CEMMS through the ongoing work in Cyber-physical Systems National Robotics Initiative, as well as through the now discontinued Cyber-enabled Discovery and Innovation program — much of it is new money for the directorate. In addition, the directorate is funneling $17 million from three programs that have ended (Network Science and Engineering (NetSE), Social-Computational Systems, and the Interface between Computer Science and Economic and Social Sciences (ICES), into core CISE research areas. This process of identifying new initiatives, securing new funding for them, letting them run their course, then ending them and folding that money back into the CISE core is key to growing the CISE budget, and really the Foundation budget, over time.

So what do the newly announced OneNSF initiatives mean for CISE and computing researchers? Here’s how they break down:

Cyber-enabled Materials, Manufacturing, and Smart Systems (CEMMS) — The overall goal of CEMMS is to accelerate advances in 21st century smart engineered systems — systems that sense, respond, and adapt to the environment. CISE, partnering with NSF’s Biological Sciences, Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences, and Office of Cyber Infrastructure, hopes to establish the scientific basis for engineered systems interdependent with physical world and social systems, model and simulate them in full complexity and dynamics, and develop a technology framework. In doing so, they’ll leverage ongoing research in their CPS and NRI activities.

Cyberinfrastructure Framework for 21st Century Science and Engineering (CIF21) — Aims to accelerate the progress of scientific discovery and innovation. CISE’s contributions include investments in Advanced Computational Infrastructure (ACI) — foundational research in parallelism and concurrency, as well as distributed systems at scale — and to advance big data science and engineering through foundational research in managing, analyzing, visualizing and extracting useful information from large data sets.

Expeditions in Education (E2) — The goal across the Foundation is to integrate, leverage and expand STEM education. CISE hopes to focus on transforming undergraduate STEM learning though science and engineering, learning and understanding sustainability, and cyberlearning, data and observations for STEM education. CISE hopes to leverage their cross-directorate program in Cyberlearning (wit EHR, SBE, OCI), to design ways that innovative tools can be effectively integrated into learning, understand how people learn with technology, and implement new technologies into learning environments in way so that their potential is fulfilled.

NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps) — The Foundation goal is to accelerate innovations from the lab to the market, and as one of the founding directorates in the effort, CISE plans to continue its efforts to show high-impact results from a relatively modest investment ($6 million).

Integrated NSF Support Promoting Interdisciplinary Research and Education (INSPIRE) — Aims to catalyze interdisciplinary research.

Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace (SaTC) — A cross-directorate (CISE, EHR, ENG, MPS, OCI, SBE) effort to “build a cybersecure society and provide a strong competitive edge in the Nation’s ability to produce high-quiality digital systems and a well-trained cybersecurity workforce.” The program includes a solicitation that addresses cybersecurity from trustworthy computing systems; social, behavioral and economics; and addressing the transition to practice perspective. It also includes the ongoing Scholarship for Service (SFS) program designed to increase the number of qualified students entering the cyber security field.

Science, Engineering, and Education for Sustainability (SEES) — This ongoing program aims to inform the societal actions needed for environmental and economic sustainability and sustainable human well-being. CISE sees multiple roles for computer science in SEES, including in questions of monitoring, data, scalability, addressing complexity, and behavior modeling and change, and is funding $11.5 million in research in response.

In addition to the cross-agency priorities, CISE maintains a number of CISE-level cross-cutting programs, including the Expeditions in Computing program (see this recent post on the CCC Blog), the Computing Education for the 21st Century program (which includes CISE efforts in computing education, research on teaching and learning, and broadening participation), Smart Health and Wellbeing, Enhancing Access to the Radio Spectrum (EARS), and Mid-scale Research Infrastructure, which includes increasing the “GENI footprint” and pushing ahead with US Ignite.

Finally, in his detailed briefing on the CISE directorate yesterday, CISE AD Farnam Jahanian stressed that while there’s a focus on the initiatives on this budget, the net result for the CISE “core” research areas is very positive. Put simply, as CISE grows, so grows the CISE core. And CISE will continue to grow as long as computing continues to stay relevant to national priorities and the priorities of the Foundation. Even in difficult budget climes….

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The President’s budget request for FY 2013 is out and the White House has prepared a handy summary of the R&D portions.

Some highlights:

As expected, these aren’t huge increases, but in the context of the current fiscal climate, they demonstrate that the Administration continues to make investments in research and development a priority. It’s certainly a better position from which to start the annual budget process than if they’d proposed cuts.

We’ll have more on the DOE Office of Science budget and NSF CISE budget today after budget briefings at those agencies.

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