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Research Gets Billions in House Recovery Plan

15 January 2009 12:58 pm
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House Democrats today unveiled an $825 billion plan to boost the U.S. economy that includes $10 billion for research and instrumentation and another $6 billion to modernize academic laboratories. A 13-page summary of the package proclaims that "we need to put scientists to work looking for the next great discovery, creating jobs in cutting-edge technologies, and making smart investments that will help businesses in every community succeed in a global economy."

Details of the proposal, which was developed in cooperation with President-elect Barack Obama's transition team and introduced this morning by Representative David Obey (D-WI), chair of the House appropriations committee, include:

Scientific Research

National Science Foundation: $3 billion, including $2 billion for expanding employment opportunities in fundamental science and engineering to meet environmental challenges and to improve global economic competitiveness, $400 million to build major research facilities that perform cutting edge science, $300 million for major research equipment shared by institutions of higher education and other scientists, $200 million to repair and modernize science and engineering research facilities at the nation's institutions of higher education and other science labs, and $100 million is also included to improve instruction in science, math, and engineering.

National Institutes of Health Biomedical Research: $2 billion; including $1.5 billion for expanding good jobs in biomedical research to study diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, cancer, and heart disease (NIH is currently able to fund less than 20% of approved applications); and $500 million to implement the repair and improvement strategic plan developed by the NIH for its campuses.

University Research Facilities: $1.5 billion for NIH to renovate university research facilities and help them compete for biomedical research grants. The National Science Foundation estimates a maintenance backlog of $3.9 billion in biological science research space. Funds are awarded competitively.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: $462 million to enable CDC to complete its Buildings and Facilities Master Plan, as well as the renovation and construction needs of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

Department of Energy: $1.9 billion for basic research into the physical sciences including high-energy physics, nuclear physics, and fusion energy sciences, and improvements to DOE laboratories and scientific facilities. $400 million is for the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy to support high-risk, high-payoff research into energy sources and energy efficiency.

NASA: $600 million; including $400 million to put more scientists to work doing climate change research, including Earth science research recommended by the National Academies, satellite sensors that measure solar radiation critical to understanding climate change, and a thermal infrared sensor to the Landsat Continuing Mapper necessary for water management, particularly in the western states; $150 million for research, development, and demonstration to improve aviation safety and Next Generation air traffic control; and $50 million to repair NASA centers damaged by hurricanes and floods last year.

Biomedical Advanced Research and Development, Pandemic Flu, and Cyber Security: $900 million to prepare for a pandemic influenza, support advanced development of medical countermeasures for chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear threats, and for cyber security protections at the Department of Health and Human Services.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Satellites and Sensors: $600 million for satellite development and acquisitions, including climate sensors and climate modeling.

National Institute of Standards and Technology: $300 million for competitive construction grants for research science buildings at colleges, universities, and other research organizations and $100 million to coordinate research efforts of laboratories and national research facilities by setting interoperability standards for manufacturing.

Agricultural Research Service: $209 million for agricultural research facilities across the country. ARS has a list of deferred maintenance work at facilities of roughly $315 million.

U.S. Geological Survey: $200 million to repair and modernize USGS science facilities and equipment, including improvements to laboratories, earthquake monitoring systems, and computing capacity.

21st Century Classrooms

School Construction: $20 billion, including $14 billion for K-12 and $6 billion for higher education, for renovation and modernization, including technology upgrades and energy efficiency improvements. Also includes $100 million for school construction in communities that lack a local property tax base because they contain non-taxable federal lands such as military bases or Indian reservations, and $25 million to help charter schools build, obtain, and repair schools.

Education Technology: $1 billion for 21st century classrooms, including computer and science labs and teacher technology training.

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Research: $2 billion for energy efficiency and renewable energy research, development, demonstration, and deployment activities to foster energy independence, reduce carbon emissions, and cut utility bills. Funds are awarded on a competitive basis to universities, companies, and national laboratories.

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