National Science Foundation

Painful message. NSF Director Subra Suresh says current grant holders won't feel pain from sequestration, but there could be 1000 fewer new grants this year if the cuts take hold.

Current NSF Grantees Are Protected From Sequester

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

Existing National Science Foundation (NSF) grantees won't be affected by the government-wide funding cut, known as the sequester, scheduled to go into effect on Friday.

In a letter to the community posted today, NSF Director Subra Suresh said "the major impact of sequestration will be seen in reductions to the number of new research grants and cooperative agreements awarded in FY 2013. … [A]ll continuing grant increments in FY 2013 will be awarded, as scheduled, and there will be no impact on existing NSF standard grants."

The big bite will come out of the pot of money available for new awards. "We anticipate that the total number of new research grants will be reduced by approximately 1,000," Suresh writes.

The letter confirms what Suresh told Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) earlier this month prior to a hearing by the Senate Appropriations Committee, which she chairs, on the impact of sequestration on domestic agencies. The $85 billion cut applies to all agencies. NSF's $7 billion budget would be trimmed by roughly 5%, although it will seem larger given that there are only 7 months left in the 2013 fiscal year.

Suresh also reminds the community that a temporary spending measure holding agency budgets to 2012 levels will expire on 27 March. "We will revise this notice as necessary," he writes, after Congress has acted on the so-called continuing resolution.

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