The Continuing 2017 Budget Saves Science Funding
Trump’s skinny budget for 2018 that slashed the Science and NIH Medical Research budgets left some scared. My science friends kept telling me that it was the Congress that made the budget, and they were right. The continuing resolution covering the next 5 months of the 2017 mostly leaves science funding steady until Sept. 30.
I think that the over 600 Marches for Science had some influence. Trump was interviewed afterward and he said that yes, he supports science. Since Mick Mulvaney, Director of OMB made up the skinny budget, maybe Trump did not know the details of what was in it.
Here is the general data, and then I will mention the ones that especially interest me.
The Federal R&D went up 5% for the whole of 2017. That is $155.8 billion, or 0.81% of GDP. That breaks down to $79.2 billon for Civilian, and $82.9 billion for Military. Basic research rose 4.1% to $34.9 billion, and Applied research rose 6.3% to $40.2 billion.
The NIH, which had been scheduled for a $1.2 billion drop in 2018 was instead increased by $2.0 billion or 6.2% to $34 billion in 2017. NASA’s Office of Science was increased by 3.1% to $5.76 billion in 2017. The 2017 budget increases Alzheimer’s disease research by $400 million to $1.4 billion.
Trump will announce the complete 2018 budget by the end of this month. While a sensible administration would abandon steep cuts on the basis of what Congress wants, the Trump administration is to double down on anything rejected. We will have to see how this plays out. The defense budget has been raised $12 billion for 2017. Trump has proposed a $54 billion increase for defense for 2018.
The Office of Science of the Dept. of Energy has been held about steady at $5.392 Billion. High energy physics gains 3.8% in 2017 to $825 million. The Basic Energy Sciences increases 1.2% to $1.872 billion.
The fusion energy sciences gets its 2017 budget cut 13.2% to $380 million. US funding to the large worldwide fusion Tokomak in France, called ITER, has only been funded at $50 million, whereas last year it was funded at $125 billion from the US. All of those funds have already been spent, so it’s funding has stopped. But, there is an extra $50 million to reprogram to ITER when Trump decides what todo about ITER. I haven’t heard of what study or group will decide on whether to continue ITER funding from the US. The head of DOE is no longer a nuclear physicist, but past Texas Governor Rick Perry.
Trump has proposed defunding ARPA-E, the agency for advanced research for Energy, but Congress gives them a 2017 increase of 5.2% to $306 million.
The National Science Foundation, NSF, budget is slightly increased by $9 million to $7.472 billion. Funding for the Solar Telescope in Hawaii and the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope in Chile continues.
NASA gets a 1.9% increase to $19.653 billion. Earth science continues at the same level at $1.921 billion. NASA continues funding for one of the four Earth observing satellites cut by Trump in 2018. It is the Pre-Aerosol, Clouds and Ocean Ecosystem satellite, which would lower some of the uncertainties in climate science projections.