For the second year in a row, U.S. president Joe Biden has requested double-digit funding increases for science and technology at many federal agencies.
Biden’s proposed budget for fiscal 2023, released March 28, outlines the president’s priorities in the run-up to the midterm elections in November. It also serves as a starting point for negotiations with Congress. But lawmakers are likely to whittle down the increases to more modest gains, like they did in the 2022 appropriations bill passed just a few weeks ago.
CONTINUED INCREASES FOR SCIENCE
The 2023 proposal slates a massive 24% increase for the National Science Foundation. The largest increase, $880 million, would support the newly created Directorate for Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships, the goal of which is to speed up technology development in key areas.
In addition, the NSF’s climate change research efforts would get $500 million in extra funding, bringing the total to $1.6 billion. Efforts to diversify science would get a 72% increase to $172 million.
At the National Institutes of Health, Biden’s proposed Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) is slated for $5 billion under the president’s initiative, up from the $1 billion it received from Congress in its 2022 budget. Biden also requested another $12.1 billion for pandemic preparedness. Those two items account for the vast majority of the increase in the NIH budget, which would get a proposed $62.5 billion, up from $43.0 billion.
“The anemic funding increase for NIH included in the president’s budget will not put us in a position to confront and defeat longstanding, emerging, and yet unknown health threats or bolster our research capacity to ensure global competitiveness,” Mary Woolley, president of the advocacy group Research!American, says in a statement.
Another Biden priority, manufacturing, would see funding more than double at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, increasing from $206 million to $372 million. That would support both Manufacturing USA, which creates government-industry-academia partnerships in key areas, and NIST’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership program, which supports technology innovation for small- and medium-sized businesses.
NIST would also get an extra $187 million to support standards development for key technologies, such as artificial intelligence, quantum science, and advanced biotechnologies.
For the Environmental Protection Agency, Biden is requesting $864 million for science and technology efforts, an increase of 15% over the $750 million Congress appropriated for 2022. A substantial portion of this increase would go to research and development in clean air and climate and protection of critical infrastructure, budget documents indicate.
The EPA would also get $124 million and 449 full-time employees for implementation of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).
The proposed budget additionally provides the US Department of Agriculture’s competitive research grant program, the Agriculture Food and Research Initiative, $564 million, $119 million above what Congress appropriated for 2022. The program would invest in climate-smart agriculture and clean energy projects that help achieve the goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.