Stressed out scientists–who have seen their funding wither during the last eight years–got a glimpse of optimism on Thursday. Democrats unveiled an $825 billion economic stimulus bill that includes tens of billions of dollars in new funding for basic research, science infrastructure and clean-energy initiatives.
According to a report from Nature:
…the 258-page blueprint released by House appropriators would pump $3 billion into the National Science Foundation (NSF), $2 billion into the National Institutes of Health (NIH), $1.9 billion into the Department of Energy and $1.5 billion into university research facilities. Much of that money would be directed toward science infrastructure like renovating buildings or laboratories, but the NSF and NIH would receive $2 billion and $1.5 billion respectively that could be used to pay for thousands of basic research grants that have already been approved but for which there was previously not enough money.
…Most of the stimulus spending would extend over two years, although the bill includes language indicating that money for peer-reviewed grants must be spent within 120 days, which could limit the money to grant proposals already in the pipeline. Report language accompanying the bill indicates that additional funds will be provided to the NIH in fiscal 2010, suggesting that Democratic leaders see this as more than a one-time infusion of cash.