FY09 has been quietly signed into law by President Obama, after passing both Houses of congress with only fanfare over earmarks. This is not Obama’s budget; this is President Bush’s last budget, loaded up by Congress. Now the important work begins: FY10. FY10 is due by Oct. 1 of this year, when FY10 officially begins.
But let’s look at the now. What did FY09 have to say about money for fundamental research efforts?
DOE Office of Science: $4,772,636,000. This is +18.8% over FY08 ($4,017.7M enacted in FY08)
NSF: $6.5B. This is +6.6% above FY08 ($6.1B enacted in FY08)
These numbers are interesting. They basically reflect the vision of the combined physical sciences budget doubled enacted in the America COMPETES Act. Since half the year is gone, agencies will only see half of these increases. But it doesn’t matter – it represents the beginning of fulfulling a commitment to NSF+DOE-SC+NIST: doubling of their combined budgets to achieve a 5-year doubling of the nation’s science investment.
We have to plan for the flattening of this process, but now is the time to ramp up for the future. We also have to thank Congress, for doing what they promised: making science a priority.