National Academies Press: OpenBook

Opportunities in the Hydrologic Sciences (1991)

Chapter: APPENDIX A: Funding for Research in the Hydrologic Sciences

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Suggested Citation:"APPENDIX A: Funding for Research in the Hydrologic Sciences." National Research Council. 1991. Opportunities in the Hydrologic Sciences. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1543.
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Page 317
Suggested Citation:"APPENDIX A: Funding for Research in the Hydrologic Sciences." National Research Council. 1991. Opportunities in the Hydrologic Sciences. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1543.
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Page 318
Suggested Citation:"APPENDIX A: Funding for Research in the Hydrologic Sciences." National Research Council. 1991. Opportunities in the Hydrologic Sciences. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1543.
×
Page 319
Suggested Citation:"APPENDIX A: Funding for Research in the Hydrologic Sciences." National Research Council. 1991. Opportunities in the Hydrologic Sciences. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1543.
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Page 320
Suggested Citation:"APPENDIX A: Funding for Research in the Hydrologic Sciences." National Research Council. 1991. Opportunities in the Hydrologic Sciences. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1543.
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Page 321

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Funding for Research in the Hydrologic Sciences BACKGROUND In an effort to provide some context for its findings, conclusions, and recommendations, the committee sought to consider and include information in this report on the current (FY 1988), approximate lev- els of funding for research in the hydrologic sciences. To accomplish this, the staff conducted a survey of the agencies and departments of the U.S. federal government that were expected to have some level of research activity in the hydrologic sciences. The agencies and departments were given the committee's work- ing definitions of "hydrology"$ and "research"" and further informa- tion on the scope of the committee's interests. They were asked to provide basic information about their current research programs, in- cluding approximate current levels of funding. Specifically, the committee defined research in the hydrologic sci- ences as the development of understanding about (1) the paths along Hydrology the science concerned with the waters (solid, liquid, and vapor) of the earth; their occurrence, circulation, and distribution; their chemical and physical prop- erties; and their reaction with their environment, including their relation to living things. This definition was used in the survey, which was begun in the early stages of the committee's work before it had adopted the more comprehensive definition of hydro- logic science presented in Chapter 2. "Research the development of understanding through the conceptualization and testing of new ideas. 317

318 APPENDIX A which water moves on and in the land masses of the earth; (2) the rates of movement along various paths; (3) the chemical, biological, and physical character of the constituents transported by water; (4) the controls on the rates of movement of and interactions among water and its transported constituents imposed by the atmosphere, the biosphere, and the oceans; and, conversely (5) the impacts on the atmosphere, geosphere, and biosphere, caused by the presence or absence of water in or on the land. While the committee recognized that scientifically significant information can sometimes be generated in project work, the agencies and departments were asked to exclude from their responses project-related activity that was not of the type that would be reported in the open scientific literature. This infor- mation is generally unavailable and unknown to the scientific community. The agencies were not asked for project details, but instead were asked to attempt to classify their efforts to the extent possible accord- ing to the eight contemporary categories of the hydrologic sciences adopted by the committee (e.g., earth crust, climatic processes, living communities, and so on). Further, the agencies were asked to indicate what research was performed in-house by agency staff and otherwise. SUMMARY OF INFORMATION PROVIDED Presented in Table A.1 is a summary of agency responses to the survey. Note that the table provides only total amounts of research funding levels for the agencies surveyed (with the only breakdowns by agency being the separation of in-house and out-of-house efforts) and the approximate levels of funding by research category across the government. DISCUSSION The total amount of funding reported by the federal agencies was approximately $127 million. Of this amount, about $35 million went to sponsor research conducted outside the funding agency. However, not all of the $35 million left the federal sector some federal agencies conducted research at the behest of their sister agencies, which consumed a small amount of this "out-of-home" funding. A significant amount of that research tabulated as "out-of-home" was also conducted at the national laboratories. Discussions with representatives of the federal agencies indicated that somewhat more than half of the remaining $30 million was dedicated to research that directly supported the operational missions of the funding agencies. Therefore, approximately $10 million to $15 million (about 10 percent) was made available to

APPENDIX A 319 the nonfederal sector for research that was not necessarily problem driven. For purposes of comparison, in FY 1988 the National Science Foundation provided "unfettered" research funding to the atmospheric- and ocean-science academic communities of $95 million and $135 million, respectively. To provide additional perspective, the total federal budget for ba- sic research in FY 1990 approximated $10 billion. Therefore, the total amount of funding for research in the hydrologic sciences (about $127 million) is about 1 percent of the total federal expenditures for basic research. Although the committee believes that the majority of hydrologic research is either conducted or sponsored by the federal agencies surveyed, additional research in the hydrologic sciences may be car- ried out under the aegis of states, industries, and private foundations. A more exhaustive search may have produced a slightly larger total. Discussions with the federal representatives also indicated that they had difficulty in accurately partitioning the research funds that they managed into the eight categories of the hydrologic sciences adopted by the committee. Therefore Table A.1 does not report funding by agency for the individual categories, but instead indicates with a symbol (~) that an agency conducts or funds hydrologic science in a given category. In spite of the lack of accuracy of the individually reported numbers, it is interesting to note that the two categories receiving the largest amounts of funding were "Earth Crust" and "Chemical Processes." These categories encompass about one-half of the total, which is not surprising in light of the current federal interest in ground water contamination.

320 APPENDIX A TABLE A.1 Federal Funding for Research in the Hydrologic Sciences (figures in $ million for Fiscal Year 1988) o . u, ~ c' ~ us Lo _ O ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 0 ~ / ~ ~ S ~ ~ ~ U C I O I O I O I O I O I O I O TOTAL FUNDING 1.2 2.3 48.3 4.2 0.2 0.2 Earth Crust 2 Land Forms 3 Climatic Processes 4 Weather Processes 5 Surficial Processes 6 L. . 1vmg Communities 7 Chemical Processes 8 Additional Topics . NOTE: I = In-house 0 = Extramural 6.3 7.9 5.8 0.8 · · · ~

APPENDIX A 321 o _ ._ ._ ~ ~ _ ~ o s ~ _ =. E —~ E ~ y ~ ~ o I E ' ~ I O I O I O I O I O I O I O I O TOTAL 0.7 1.9 1.1 8.7 9.5 5.0 21.1 1.1 92.1 34.9 127.0 · · 16.0 6.7 22.7 . . 15.2 2.3 17.5 ~ · 4.8 1.4 6.2 6.0 1.7 7.7 e 4.6 2.8 · ~ ~ ~ 14.8 10.4 25.2 29.2 9.1 38.3 1.5 0.5 2.0

Next: APPENDIX B: Profiles of the Hydrologic Community, 1960 and 1988 »
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Hydrology--the science of water--is central to our understanding of the global environment and its many problems. Opportunities in the Hydrologic Sciences explains how the science of water historically has played second fiddle to its applications and how we now must turn to the hydrologic sciences to solve some of the emerging problems. This first book of its kind presents a blueprint for establishing hydrologic science among the geosciences.

Informative and well-illustrated chapters explore what we know about the forces that drive the global water system, highlighting promising research topics in hydrology's major subfields. The book offers specific recommendations for improving hydrologic education, from kindergarten through graduate school. In addition, a chapter on the basics of the science is interesting for the scientist and understandable to the lay reader.

This readable volume is enhanced by a series of brief biographical sketches of past leaders in the field and fascinating vignettes on important applied problems, from the relevance of hydrology to radioactive waste disposal to the study of ancient water flows on Mars.

The volume concludes with a report on current research funding and an outline of strategies for scientists and professional societies to advance the field.

Opportunities in the Hydrologic Sciences is indispensable to policymakers in science and education, research managers in geoscience programs, researchers, educators, graduate students, and future hydrologists.

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