Although it was a bit touch and go, Congress managed to approve a budget for the rest of Fiscal Year 2015 for all federal agencies except the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). (DHS is funded through February, giving Republican’s opposed to President Obama’s executive action on immigration time to figure out ways to respond through the appropriations process.) While there are no major increases for science funding, for the most part, science also did not take too many hits. The final spending bill–which was over 1600 pages!– stuck to the spending caps agreed upon by the House and Senate a year ago, with some supplemental funding for disaster relief and the Ebola response provided in addition. Here’s breakdown for a few of the agencies most pertinent to biophysics research:
- National Institutes of Health (NIH)
The NIH is will receive $30.311 billion, with most institutes receiving a 0.3% increase over 2014 funding levels. Some additional funds are being targeted for cancer research, Alzheimer’s research, and the Brain Initiative. NIH will also receive $238 million for research related to Ebola from the supplemental funds. NIGMS was allocated $.372 billion a 0.5% increase over 2014 funding.
- National Science Foundation (NSF)
After a year of scrutiny from the House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith and threats to eliminate funding for social science research, the NSF received a 2.4% boost in funding to $7.344 billion with no directives on how to spend it. While it is likely the negotiations between Chairman Smith and the NSF over NSF’s peer review process, the grants it funds, and the information it makes publicly available, the bill is a nice reprieve from that process in that it continues to allow scientists to determine what projects should be funded.
- Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science
The Department of Energy Office of Science will receive $5.071 billion, the same amount the Office received in 2014.
The agencies will be updating their operating plans for 2015 over the next few weeks now that they know their budgets for the year, and the Society will share that information with you in a future blog post. The agencies also will now be able to move ahead with any new programs they planned to undertake in 2015.