NSF to Receive Big Spending Boost

Jeff tries to explain how government works to readers of Science.

National Science Foundation (NSF) director Rita Colwell has an extra bounce in her step, the result of winning White House approval for a double-digit budget increase. Science has learned that President Clinton's 2001 request, to be unveiled on 7 February, will include a boost of roughly 15% for the $4 billion agency, in line with what the National Institutes of Health has received each of the past 2 years. Congressional approval would mean the biggest spending boost for NSF in a decade, and more than double the 6.6% raise the agency got this year.

NSF's budget is expected to highlight four areas. Three are ongoing efforts, in training, information technology, and biocomplexity, while the fourth--nanotechnology--is part of a new Administration initiative. The White House also has given the green light to two sets of non-astronomical "observatories." One, called EarthScope, would create a mobile seismic network and probe California's San Andreas fault (Science, 26 November 1999, p. 1655); the second, known as NEON, would be a string of high-tech field stations for ecologists (Science, 10 December 1999, p. 2068).

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