Cover Image

PAPERBACK
$15.00



View/Hide Left Panel

Observations on the President's Fiscal Fiscal Year 1999 Federal Science and Technology Budget

HIGHLIGHTS

In this report, the Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy (COSEPUP) provides its observations on the federal science and technology (FS&T) portion of the president's fiscal year (FY) 1999 submission. The FS&T budget (see box) reflects the federal investment in the creation of new knowledge and technologies and excludes such activities as the testing and evaluating of new weapons systems.

Provided below are the highlights of this report

  • The president's FY 1999 budget proposes an increase1 in the FS&T budget (a 1.3% increase over the FY 1998 budget in constant dollars). This proposed increase would bring FS&T to within 1.8% of its FY 1994 level in constant dollars.

  • The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) have received increased investment since 1994. NIH's FY 1999 FS&T budget would be 21.3% larger than its FY 1994 budget in real terms. NSF's would be 14.3% larger.

  • The FS&T budgets of other agencies that support research and graduate education and have important influences on the development of specific fields (such as physical sciences, engineering, computer science, and mathematics) have declined since FY 1994. Funding for FS&T in these agencies as a group would be down by 11.0% from FY 1994.

  • The cross-cutting initiatives in the president's budget target national goals requiring broad investment by a number of research agencies. Issues addressed in FY 1999 include climate-change technology, large-scale networking and high-end computing and computation, education, and emerging infectious diseases. Cross-cutting initiatives can be important in making the nation's federal research investment more efficient and effective.

1  

COSEPUP recognizes that the increases in the FS&T budget are based on an uncertain funding source—the tobacco settlement—and that there are issues regarding the caps on discretionary spending.



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement



Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page 1
Observations on the President's Fiscal Year 1999 Federal Science and Technology Budget Observations on the President's Fiscal Fiscal Year 1999 Federal Science and Technology Budget HIGHLIGHTS In this report, the Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy (COSEPUP) provides its observations on the federal science and technology (FS&T) portion of the president's fiscal year (FY) 1999 submission. The FS&T budget (see box) reflects the federal investment in the creation of new knowledge and technologies and excludes such activities as the testing and evaluating of new weapons systems. Provided below are the highlights of this report The president's FY 1999 budget proposes an increase1 in the FS&T budget (a 1.3% increase over the FY 1998 budget in constant dollars). This proposed increase would bring FS&T to within 1.8% of its FY 1994 level in constant dollars. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) have received increased investment since 1994. NIH's FY 1999 FS&T budget would be 21.3% larger than its FY 1994 budget in real terms. NSF's would be 14.3% larger. The FS&T budgets of other agencies that support research and graduate education and have important influences on the development of specific fields (such as physical sciences, engineering, computer science, and mathematics) have declined since FY 1994. Funding for FS&T in these agencies as a group would be down by 11.0% from FY 1994. The cross-cutting initiatives in the president's budget target national goals requiring broad investment by a number of research agencies. Issues addressed in FY 1999 include climate-change technology, large-scale networking and high-end computing and computation, education, and emerging infectious diseases. Cross-cutting initiatives can be important in making the nation's federal research investment more efficient and effective. 1   COSEPUP recognizes that the increases in the FS&T budget are based on an uncertain funding source—the tobacco settlement—and that there are issues regarding the caps on discretionary spending.

OCR for page 1
Observations on the President's Fiscal Year 1999 Federal Science and Technology Budget What is the FS&T Budget? In 1995, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS)-National Academy of Engineering (NAE)-Institute of Medicine (IOM)-National Research Council issued a report titled Allocating Federal Funds for Science and Technology. For the United States to maintain its leadership in science and technology, this report recommended increased coherence in federal science and technology (FS&T) budgeting. Given the always limited budgets for research, Congress and administration could free funds for important new opportunities by reducing support for less-important activities (see http://www2.nas.edu/cosepup). The report recommended development of an FS&T budget that would reflect the real federal investment in the creation of new knowledge and technologies and exclude activities not involving the creation of new knowledge or technologies, such as the testing and evaluating of new weapons systems. It would amount in FY 1999 to about $47.1 billion, compared with the $77.7 billion currently reported as federal research and development. The FS&T budget includes the funding for basic and applied research of all departments and agencies (including ''6.1'' and "6.2" at the Department of Defense) and all civilian development funding, but only the part of defense development at the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Department of Energy (DOE) that includes generic technology development ("6.3" at DOD and its equivalent in the DOE atomic energy defense program). The president proposes a Research Fund for America (RFFA) that highlights $31 billion of the nondefense budget as a priority. As noted by Franklin Raines, director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the RFFA is closely patterned on the Academies' Allocating Federal Funds report, which called for an integrated FS&T budget. Unlike FS&T, the RFFA does not include defense-related research. THE PRESIDENT PROPOSES AN INCREASE IN THE FS&T BUDGET FOR FY 1999 The president's budget for FY 1999 includes $47.1 billion for FS&T, an increase of 1.3% over FY 1998 in constant dollars2; this represents an increase in the nation's investment in the creation of new knowledge and technologies. 2   The GDP deflator, which was about 2.2% per year in the 1994–1999 period (and is expected to continue through 2003), is used by both COSEPUP and AAAS in calculating constant-dollar figures.

OCR for page 1
Observations on the President's Fiscal Year 1999 Federal Science and Technology Budget Figure 1 Trends in FS&T, FY 1994–1999 budget authority for total FS&T (conduct and facilities), millions of constant FY 1998 dollars. *Appropriated, **Requested. The proposed increase for FY 1999 would bring FS&T to within 1.8% of its FY 1994 level in constant dollars (see figure 1; more in-depth information is provided in table A-1). This proposal constitutes a change in administration policy from a year ago, when the president's FY 1998 submission projected flat budgets for FS&T through FY 2002. FUTURE PROJECTIONS OF THE FS&T BUDGET SHOW FUNDING FOR NIH AND NSF INCREASING DRAMATICALLY ABOVE FY 1994 LEVELS, WITH THE BUDGET FOR THE OTHER MAJOR RESEARCH AGENCIES REDUCED Figure 2 shows the current and projected change in the FS&T funding for four key research agencies: NSF, NIH, DOE, and DOD. The percentage change for various periods is shown in table 1 (for more in-depth information, see table A-2). From the base year of FY 1994 to the projection for FY 2003, NIH funding would increase by 52% and NSF funding by 19% (in constant dollars). The FS&T budget for the other major research agencies, however, will have declined from FY 1994; DOE funding will have decreased by 11% and DOD by 26% over this period.

OCR for page 1
Observations on the President's Fiscal Year 1999 Federal Science and Technology Budget Figure 2 FS&T budget, by agency, FY 1994–FY 2003.  Note: Budget authority for FY 1994–1997 is actual,  for 1998 estimated, for 1999 requested, and for  2000–2003 as projected by OMB. Constant  dollars were calculated with the GDP deflator. IT IS IMPORTANT TO ANALYZE THE EFFECTS OF PAST AND EXPECTED FUNDING SHIFTS ON SPECIFIC SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY FIELDS NIH's FS&T budget would be 21.3% larger in FY 1999 (by $2.4 billion in FY 1998 dollars) than in FY 1994 in real terms. NSF's would be 14.3% larger (by $0.4 billion in FY 1998 dollars). The FS&T budget for the four other major research agencies as a group would be 11.0% smaller in FY 1999 (by $3.7 FY 1998 dollars) than in 1994. As shown in Appendix B, most of the mission research agencies—such as DOD, DOE, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)—would continue to have smaller FS&T budgets than they had in FY 1994. How does such a shift in federal funding patterns affect specific scientific and engineering fields? The agencies with reduced FS&T budgets are the major supporters of research and graduate education in some fields, and they provide a critical component of support for the national science and engineering enterprise. For example, agencies other than NIH and NSF provide 92% of federal funding

OCR for page 1
Observations on the President's Fiscal Year 1999 Federal Science and Technology Budget TABLE 1 Percentage Changes in FS&T Budget, FY 1994–FY 2003 (constant dollars)   FY 1998–1999 FY 1994–1999 FY 1994–2003 Agency Change, % Change, % Change, % NIH +6.0 +21.3 +51.9 NSF +9.1 +14.3 +18.5 DOD -9.7 -22.2 -25.7 DOE +13.5 -4.7 -10.8 of research in physics, 85% in computer science, and 90% in engineering. That research is performed by intramural federal laboratories and extramural industrial laboratories, universities and colleges, federally funded R&D centers, and other nonprofit and government entities. For universities and colleges, agencies other than NIH and NSF support substantial percentages of the research performed in those fields: 69% in physics, 69% in computer science, and 57% in engineering.3 Table 2 provides the only recent funding data available by broad field. The data, collected by NSF, provide information on actual and estimated obligations from FY 1993 to FY 1997. Total federal spending on basic and applied research4 in constant dollars declined by 1.2% from FY 1993 (its high point) to FY 1997 (see table 2). Although spending by NIH and NSF was up by 6.8%, this increase was more than offset by reductions in the FS&T budgets of other agencies. The increased NSF support for academic engineering research compensated for cuts in DOD support; how this has affected the engineering fields supported primarily by DOD is worth investigating. Cuts in the other fields of concern have not necessarily been offset by proportional increases elsewhere. For example, increases in support by NIH and NSF for academic research in the environmental and social/behavioral sciences have not compensated for decreased support from the other agencies; they are down 5.1% and 7.3% respectively. DOD, NASA, DOE, and other mission agencies provide a substantial proportion of federal funding for graduate students in the fields where they are the major federal funders—47% in physical sciences, 58% in mathematics, 64% in computer science, and 67 % in engineering. Funding changes that affect those agencies might also affect the amount of graduate-student support that is available for students in those fields. For example, the number of science and engineering graduate students for whom DOD is the primary source of funding de 3   Calculated from tables C23–C26 (all performers) and C68-C-71 (universities and colleges) in NSF, Federal Funds for Research and Development, Fiscal Years 1995, 1996, and 1997, Vol. 45, Detailed Statistical Tables. NSF 97–327. Arlington, VA: National Science Foundation, 1997. 4   This part of the analysis focuses on obligations for research as opposed to R&D, because NSF does not collect statistics on development funding by field.

OCR for page 1
Observations on the President's Fiscal Year 1999 Federal Science and Technology Budget TABLE 2 Real Percentage Changes in Federal Obligations by Field, FY 1993–FY 1997 (constant dollars)   Change, %   Total Research Academic Research Field NIH+NSF All Others Total NIH+NSF All Others Total All fields +6.8 -6.4 -1.2 +5.0 -13.1 -0.2 Life sciences +6.4 -2.2 +4.0 +2.6 -10.8 +1.0 Physical sciences -0.7 -11.0 -9.6 -4.2 -9.5 -7.3 Environmental sciences +8.9 +2.1 +3.1 +4.0 -13.5 -5.1 Mathematics and Computer science +4.1 +17.7 +14.8 -3.3 +1.8 -0.4 Engineering +62.4 -10.0 -5.5 +77.3 -15.9 +11.0 Social and Behavioral +13.1 -5.8 +2.4 +3.4 -37.5 -7.3 Note: Obligations are the amounts for grants and contracts awarded, orders placed, services received, and similar commitments during a given period, regardless of when the funds were appropriated or of whether future payments are required. Source: Calculated from NSF 97–327 (FY 1995–FY 1997), 96–319 (total research, FY 1993–FY 1994), and NSF 96–318 (academic research, FY 1993–FY 1994). creased from 9,315 in 1993 to 8,470 in 19965. An in-depth study is warranted to learn the effect of the above funding changes for key science and engineering fields, including the effect on the number and quality of the graduate students in each field. SUCCESSFUL RESULTS FROM THE INCREASED FUNDING FOR NIH ALSO DEPEND ON THE HEALTH OF THE PHYSICAL AND MATHEMATICAL SCIENCES As indicated in the NAS Beyond Discovery series6, which uses well-known applications of science and technology to illustrate how research has led to breakthroughs that have greatly benefited society, every breakthrough stems from research conducted in many science and engineering fields. Although the expanded investment in health research focuses on NIH, research results in other science and engineering fields are also critical for improving health. As indicated by Harold Varmus, director of NIH7: 5   NSF and SRS, unpublished tables from survey of graduate students and postdoctorates in science and engineering, fall 1996. 6   NAS, Beyond Discovery: The Path from Research to Human Benefit. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, http://www2.nas.edu/bsi. 7   Varmus, H. "New Directions in Biology and Medicine," AAAS plenary lecture, Philadelphia, February 13, 1998.

OCR for page 1
Observations on the President's Fiscal Year 1999 Federal Science and Technology Budget How to Get the Best "Bang" for the Federal Research Dollar The highest-quality projects and people should be supported with FS&T funds. As indicated in the Allocating Federal Funds report, the best way to ascertain that the highest-quality projects and people are supported is some form of competition involving rigorous evaluation of merit. Competitive merit review involves use of criteria that include technical quality, the qualifications of the proposers, relevance and educational impacts of the proposed project, and other factors pertaining to research goals, such as the mission of the funding agency. Competition means that, at some level within the framework of an agency's mission, researchers who propose the best ideas are selected. In an open competition, anyone may apply and be funded, regardless of institution or geographic location. In the case of highly targeted missions, quality can also be maintained by knowledgeable program managers who use external scientific and technical advisory groups to help assess quality and to help monitor whether agency needs are being met. Judgment in the application of merit review is warranted because it is not a perfect system. What is defined as merit and who determines merit are key ingredients. Most of the revolutionary changes that have occurred in biology and medicine are rooted in new methods. Those, in turn, are usually rooted in fundamental discoveries in many different fields. Some of these are so obvious that we lose sight of them—like the role of nuclear physics in producing the radioisotopes essential for most of modern medical science. Physics also supplied the ingredients fundamental to many common clinical practices—X rays, CAT scans, fiber optic viewing, laser surgery, ECHO cardiography and fetal sonograms. Materials science is helping with new joints, heart valves, and other tissue mimetics. Likewise, an understanding of nuclear magnetic resonance and positron emissions was required for the imaging experiments that allow us to follow the location and timing of brain activities that accompany thought, motion, sensation, speech, or drug use. Similarly, X-ray crystallography, chemistry, and computer modeling are now being used to improve the design of drugs, based on three-dimensional protein structures. . . . These are but few of many examples of the dependence of biomedical sciences on a wide range of disciplines—physics, chemistry, engineering and many allied fields. Some observers have suggested that in this post-Cold War era we should shift away from partitioning R&D into civilian and noncivilian categories and instead use such categories as health versus nonhealth research. Because of the intimate synergistic relationships between the disciplines of science and the re-

OCR for page 1
Observations on the President's Fiscal Year 1999 Federal Science and Technology Budget Setting Goals for the Nation's Research Investment In its 1993 report Science, Technology and the Federal Government: National Goals of a New Era, COSEPUP proposed two primary research goals for federal funding of research: the United States should perform at least at world-class levels in all major fields of science, and the United States should seek preeminence in a select number of fields (see http://www2.nas.edu/cosepup). The goal that US scientists and engineers should work at the forefront of all major fields is necessary if the United States is to maintain its competitive position in the long term. We must be able to educate effectively the next generation of scientists and engineers and to assimilate and extend modern breakthroughs in different fields. When should we single out particular fields of science for special support? Preeminence might be desired for a field that is tightly coupled to national objectives. Or a field might so powerfully affect other fields as to have a multiplicative effect on scientific advances. One field might hold overriding importance because it captures the public imagination. Biomedical research is an example of a field in which preeminence is desired. Providing the best possible health care for our citizens and sustaining the strength of our biomedical industry are clearly national objectives. To assess the status of various research fields, COSEPUP recommended "benchmarking" assessments by experts to determine the relative position of the United States in particular fields of science and engineering. COSEPUP has been conducting several tests of this concept. The first two, on mathematics and on materials science and engineering, have been released; a third, on immunology, will be released in the fall of 1998 (see http://www2.nas.edu/cosepup). search activities of various federal agencies, however, such categories would obscure the interconnectedness of research and could fragment the scientific community. CONCLUSION In conclusion, an FS&T analysis of the president's FY 1999 R&D budget shows that it represents increased investment in the nation's science and engineering research compared with FY 1998. Since FY 1994, NIH and NSF have received increased funding in real terms. This trend is projected by the administration to continue to FY 2003. The potential impact of decreased funding by DOE and DOD on support of research and

OCR for page 1
Observations on the President's Fiscal Year 1999 Federal Science and Technology Budget graduate students in fields integral to national economic development needs to be examined. In addition, because NIH's efforts in health research also depend heavily on research that is supported by other agencies, the impact of funding changes needs to be examined here as well. ADDENDUM How Do the R&D, FS&T, and RFFA Budgets Differ? As shown in figure 3, the R&D budget is $77.7 billion, the FS&T budget is $47.1 billion, and the RFFA is $31.1 billion. What are the differences between these three budgets? The R&D budget incorporates all basic and applied R&D funded by the federal government. R&D funding normally includes personnel, program-supervision, and administrative-support costs directly associated with R&D activities; laboratory equipment is also included. Defense R&D includes testing, evaluation, prototype development, and other activities that precede actual production (known as RDT&E). Funding for R&D facilities includes construction, repair, or alteration of physical plant (reactors, wind tunnels, particle accelerators, or laboratories) used in the conduct of R&D. It also includes capital (major) equipment used in the conduct of R&D. Independent R&D (IR&D) is not included. (IR&D allows contractors to recover a portion of in-house R&D costs through overhead payments on federal procurement contracts.) More information is available in appendices 1&2. The FS&T budget includes the civilian and noncivilian research budget for all agencies (including 6.1 and 6.2 at DOD) and the development budget for all agencies except DOD and DOE. For the development budget of the latter two agencies, only DOD 6.3 budget categories and the equivalent activities at DOE are included in the FS&T budget. Figure 3 R&D vs. FS&T vs. RFFA  budgets (in billions of dollars).

OCR for page 1
Observations on the President's Fiscal Year 1999 Federal Science and Technology Budget Figure 4 RFFA vs. FS&T, FY 1999 (billions of dollars). The $31.1 billion RFFA budget emphasizes presidential priorities within the civilian portion of the R&D budget and another $3 billion of funds not classified as R&D. Of the $37 billion civilian R&D budget, it includes 95% ($15 billion) of funds for basic research, 77% ($9 billion) for applied research, and 49% ($4 billion) for development. The multiyear focus of the RFFA provides long-term emphasis on these priorities. It does not include the space station at NASA. The president's budget submission does not explicitly define the characteristics of what is in the RFFA. The RFFA does not include the FS&T budgets of a number of small agencies that have research programs. It does include about $3 billion in programs, primarily at NSF and NIH, that are not classified as R&D according to OMB categories. A comparison of the RFFA and the FS&T budget for the six largest research agencies is shown in figure 4 (in-depth information is provided in table A-3). Although it does not include defense-related research, the RFFA is an important step toward an integrated budget like the FS&T.