As appropriations season ramps up, securing funding for the nation’s premier science agencies has never been more critical amid growing global competition, and the threats facing the U.S. and the world — from national security issues to climate change to energy independence.
The bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act marked a significant step forward in addressing these challenges by fueling new innovations, strengthening domestic supply chains and helping build a robust talent pipeline of STEM workers. This bold investment holds the power to revolutionize the way we live and work and ensure that the next generation of technologies is developed here at home.
President Biden’s FY24 budget request, though below the levels targeted by this landmark piece of legislation, demonstrates his administration’s ongoing commitment to science and technology. It also highlights the White House’s awareness that these investments will power the U.S. economy, national security and global competitiveness for years to come, while also benefiting the health and well-being of every American.
“The reason behind this very significant commitment is simple: Science, technology and innovation are integral to achieving our country’s aspirations,” OSTP Director Arati Prabhakar said at a recent White House event.
But the request is just a starting point, and it’s now up to lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to work together to finish the job by maximizing — and funding — what’s authorized in the CHIPS and Science Act. As Congress kicks off the appropriations cycle, here’s a look at where things stand.
By the numbers: Overall, Biden’s request calls for $208 billion in R&D funding in FY24, a 5% increase over the previous year.
What’s included: Basic research, which received 11% increases in both FY22 and FY23, is facing a much smaller increase in FY24 at just 2% across the board. Applied research would receive a 5% bump, the lowest proposed for that sector during the current administration.
The bottom line: The FY24 request is the lowest proposed increase in R&D from Biden’s White House to date but is noteworthy as it continues the administration’s trend of increasing nondefense R&D funding. The request includes nearly twice the increase in nondefense funding compared to defense.
By the numbers: Biden’s budget requests $48.6 billion for NIH in FY24, a 1.8% increase over the previous year.
What’s included: The National Cancer Institute (NCI) would receive a 7% funding increase to $7.8 billion as part of the administration’s Cancer Moonshot efforts. The new Advanced Research Projects Agency-Health (ARPA-H) would receive $2.5 billion for FY24, a 66.7% increase over the previous year.
Meanwhile, the National Institute of Mental Health would receive an additional $200 million, an 8.5% increase, for a new precision medicine psychiatric initiative. And NIH’s environmental health institute would get $25 million, a 2.7% boost, in new funding to study the health effects of climate change.
The bottom line: Funding for the bulk of NIH’s 27 institutes and centers would stay at current budget levels.
By the numbers: Biden requested $11.3 billion for FY24, a 14.2% hike over the previous year.
What’s included: About $1.2 billion would go toward NSF’s new Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships (TIP) directorate that will help expand the country’s scientific workforce at all levels, from community college through postdoctoral training. That figure represents a 29% increase over FY23 for TIP.
The bottom line: The total is $4.2 billion short of the authorization level Congress approved under the CHIPS and Science Act. And the TIP funds represent a large chunk of the NSF’s increase, leaving only marginal boosts for many existing programs.
By the numbers: The budget request includes $8.1 billion, a whopping 241% increase from the previous year.
What’s included: The Industrial Technology Service, which helps U.S industry develop and implement new technologies and processes to be more competitive, would receive a more than $6 billion increase through funds authorized under the CHIPS and Science Act. In FY23, the program received $522 million. Meanwhile, NIST’s laboratory programs would see a continuation of FY23 funding levels and a decrease in funding for construction of research facilities.
The bottom line: The agency has perhaps the most stunning percentage increase of the year due in large part to the funds for the Industrial Technology Service.
DOE Office of Science
By the numbers: The request calls for $8.8 billion for FY24, an 8.6% increase.
What’s included: Within the Office of Science, DOE’s efforts to develop fusion energy would see a 31% boost to $1 billion. Meanwhile, the agency’s separate ARPA-E program would receive a 38% increase to $470 million, and its Office of Electricity would get a 165% increase to $797 million due to funding authorized by the Inflation reduction Act.
The bottom line: The Office of Science increase marks a step toward realizing the nearly 50% increase over 5 years authorized by the CHIPS and Science Act.
By the numbers: Biden’s request includes $27.2 billion for FY24, an increase of 8.7%.
What’s included: The overall budget would carve out $2.5 billion for NASA’s earth science division, an increase of nearly 14%.
The bottom line: The agency would receive increases to most programs under Biden’s request.
For the U.S. to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow and lead the globe in science and technology innovation, Congress must provide the full amount of funding possible from the CHIPS and Science Act in the upcoming appropriations cycle.
The crucial work undertaken by our country’s top science agencies, such as the NSF and NIST, can help ensure new research, development and technological advancements are created here at home. But first, these institutions need the funding to do so.
The passage of this bipartisan legislation last year was a remarkable win for science, technology and the country. Now, we need lawmakers to come together once again to secure the funding needed to improve the lives of every American and expand our economy.