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The White House announced today that it would request $112 billion for federal research and development for fiscal 2003, an eight percent increase from 2002’s $103 billion figure, and the largest federal R&D budget in history. The request for the federal science and technology budget, a subset of total R&D spending, increased nine percent to $57 billion. “This is a good budget for science,” John Marburger, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy told reporters via a conference call from his office. “It’s the first time in history the president has requested an R&D budget greater than $100 billion. It’s also the largest increase in federal R&D in over 10 years.”

Marcus Peacock, associate director of the Office of Management and Budget for natural resources programs, said the request reflected the priorities President Bush laid out in his state-of-the-nation address: fighting terrorism abroad, protecting homeland security and reviving the economy. “Science plays an important part in these three priorities,” Peacock said.

The biggest increase would go to the National Institutes of Health. If approved, the $3.9 billion, 17% increase will raise NIH spending to $27.3 billion and fulfill a Bush campaign pledge to double the agency’s budget by 2003.

The administration also requested significant increases for NASA and the National Science Foundation: $661 million (8%) and $241 million (5%), respectively. The budget also increases interagency R&D into anti-terrorism technology, networking and information technology, nanotechnology, and climate change.

The departments of transportation, commerce, and the interior would see the biggest cuts in science and technology spending: $103 million (16%), $87 million (9%) and $46 million (5%), respectively. Marburger said the cuts reflected a shift away from specially earmarked projects toward more competitive, peer-reviewed programs.

Among the specific efforts getting big pushes: research into bioterrorism defense, $2.4 billion; research into safeguarding the nation’s nuclear arsenal, $3.1 billion; and climate change research, $1.7 billion.

White House R&D Budget Proposal

  2002
($M)
2003
($M)
Increase
($M)
Percent
Increase
Basic Research
Applied Research
Development
Facilities and Equipment
23,542
24,082
50,960
4,598
25,545
26,290
55,520
4,401
2,003
2,208
4,560
-197
9%
9%
9%
-4%
TOTAL 103,182 111,756 8,574 8%

Science and Technology Budget Proposal by Agency

  2002
($M)
2003
($M)
Increase
($M)
Percent
Increase
National Institutes of Health
NASA
National Science Foundation
Energy
Defense
Agriculture
Interior (USGS)
Commerce
Environmental Protection Agency
Transportation
Education
Veterans Affairs
23,433
8,113
4,795
5,099
4,961
1,890
950
948
750
651
377
373
27,335
8,774
5,036
5,027
4,952
1,913
904
861
797
548
431
409
3,902
661
241
-72
-9
23
-46
-87
47
-103
54
36
17%
8%
5%
-1%
0%
1%
-5%
-9%
6%
-16%
14%
10%
TOTAL 52,340 56,987 4,647 9%

Source: White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

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