Obama Boosts Federal R&D By $2 Billion - InformationWeek

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Obama Boosts Federal R&D By $2 Billion

Department of Homeland Security, National Institute of Standards and Technology, and Department of Energy are among the agencies that will likely see budget boosts in fiscal 2013.

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The White House has proposed a $2 billion increase in the budget for federal research and development (R&D) for fiscal year 2013, with the a particular boost to research being done at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and the Department of Energy (DOE).

President Obama's proposed R&D budget for 2013, released Monday, also provides $3 billion to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education as part of an ongoing effort to prepare a more technology-savvy workforce and help the United States remain competitive overseas.

In total, the White House has proposed $140.8 billion for R&D, an increase of 1.4% over last year's enacted budget, according to the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), which partners with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to advise the president on R&D priorities.

The proposed federal research portfolio, which encompasses basic and applied research, is $64.0 billion, an increase of $2 billion, or 3.3%, over what was spent last year, and the proposal for non-defense R&D is $64.9 billion, a 5% boost.

[Big data, mobility, cybersecurity, and the cloud are top priorities for NIST going forward. Read more at Federal Standards Body Focuses On Big Data, Cloud.]

The increase has been offset by reductions in Department of Defense (DOD) weapons-system development that is transitioning to production, according to the OSTP. Overall, the DOD took a 2.1% budget cut to $71.2 billion.

The budget proposal includes stipends for research efforts in clean air and energy at the Department of Energy. Specifically, it provides $350 million for transformational energy R&D in the DOE's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, and $2.3 billion for DOE's Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy office to focus on clean-vehicle technologies research.

The proposal also calls for $2.6 billion for the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), which aims to understand and prevent global changes resulting from over-dependence on fossil fuels.

Also benefiting from the budget increase are the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) laboratories, which--along with the DOE's science office--will get a combined $13.1 billion, an increase of 4.4% over their funding last year.

The DHS and NIST also will get significant bumps for their R&D efforts, with the DHS seeing a 26.3% increase of $729 million; and NIST seeing a proposed labs budget for 2013 of $708 million, an increase of 13.8% over last year's funding, according to the OSTP.

Other agencies and research efforts that have proposed increases for 2013 include:

--NASA ($9.6 billion, up 2.2%)

--The National Nanotechnology Initiative ($1.8 billion, up 4.1%)

--U.S. Geological Survey ($718 million, up 6.4%)

--The Environmental Protection Agency R&D ($580 million, up 2.1%).

Despite the overall increase, it wasn't all good news for agency R&D budgets, as some likely will see their funding fall next year. Those include the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which takes a 1.5% cut to $2.3 billion in the proposal; and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which takes a 3.8% cut to $552 million.

InformationWeek's 2012 Government IT Innovators program will feature the most innovative government IT organizations in the 2012 InformationWeek 500 issue and on InformationWeek.com. Does your organization have what it takes? The nomination period for 2012 Government IT Innovators closes April 27.

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2/20/2012 | 4:48:12 PM
re: Obama Boosts Federal R&D By $2 Billion
Over 90% of Earth's atmospheric emissions come from the 1200 plus active volcanoes on the planet; and to a significantly lesser degree from large desert dust storms and forest fires. Human emissions are a distant 4th being less than 10% of the total. So all of the listed goals are erroneous. A massive shift in government goals are needed, especially at the EPA, to focus on the actual large natural pollution sources, instead of unlawfully obstructing human endeavors as the government has done now for at least 50 years. With the beyond massive ignorance going on, we are perishing inch by inch. To add insult to injury, over 95% of the water and land born pollution is from the deposition or falling out of the atmosphere of these beyond huge natural pollution sources. The only human source emissions which are currently a problem are ground transport internal combustion engines in metro areas. With more and more electric vehicle use and the introduction of fuel cell vehicles, even this human source pollution should go away in the next 10 to 40 years. Would someone or some group for the sake of greatly reducing human misery please refocus the government to these real problems; instead of the incredible waste and the extremely low priority activities they are generating.
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