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FY 2015 R&D Budget Released

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Greetings from D.C. The President released the FY 2015 budget on March 4 including, as always, that component known as the R&D budget. In time, there will be thoughtful analysis from a variety of sources and perspectives, particularly as the budget winds its way through the legislative process and gets debated, revised, and eventually enacted. Below is an initial look at the proposed R&D budget—before that process gets underway—based solely on data provided by the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).

As OSTP notes, the FY 2015 budget provides $135.4 billion for federal investment in R&D, which is an increase of $1.7 billion (or 1.2 percent) over 2014 enacted levels (see the documents cited below for more detail on the basis for comparisons between 2014 and 2015 levels). This total includes an increase in defense R&D to $69.5 billion, or $1.2 billion (1.7 percent) over 2014. Under this budget, non-defense would increase from 2014 levels by $477 million to $65.9 billion (0.7 percent).

Basic and applied research investments total $64.7 billion, up $251 million (0.4 percent) over 2014, and development investments total $68.0 billion, for an increase of $1.5 billion (2.3 percent). Investments in R&D infrastructure, facilities and capital equipment would total $2.6 billion, for a decrease of $121 million (4.4 percent) from 2014.

An initial review of how various agencies’ R&D budgets would fare under the 2015 proposal show (from greatest percentage increase to greatest decrease over 2014):

  • Department of the Interior (DOI): $925 million, up 10.1 percent ($85 million)
  • Department of Energy (DOE): $12.3 billion, up 8.4 percent ($950 million)
  • Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA): $688 million, up 4.1 percent ($27 million)
  • Department of Education: $336 million (focused on STEM), up 4.0 percent ($13 million)
  • Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST): $690 million, up 3.4 percent ($23 million)
  • Department of Transportation (DOT): $865 million, up 1.4 percent ($12 million)
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA): $2.5 billion, up 1.2 percent ($29 million)
  • Department of Defense (DOD): $64.4 billion, up 0.9 percent ($574 million)
  • National Institutes of Health (NIH): $29.5 billion, up 0.7 percent ($199 million)
  • Department of Veterans Affairs (VA): $1.2 billion, up 0.3 percent ($4 million)
  • National Science Foundation (NSF): $5.7 billion, no significant change (down $2 million)
  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): $560 million, no change from 2014
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA): $11.6 billion, down 1.0 percent ($112 million)
  • Department of Homeland Security (DHS): $876 million, down 15.1 percent ($156 million)

The budget also provides continued investment in for several multi-agency initiatives: the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP; $2.4 billion), the Networking and Information Technology R&D Program (NITRD; $3.8 billion), and the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI; $1.5 billion).

As usual, the release of the federal budget is only the first move in what has become a very contentious budgeting process in recent years. Next up is on to Congress for the required scrutiny, debate and revision. The only certainty is that some (many) of the proposed investment levels noted above will change over the next few months before we get a final 2015 spending bill. Among the many organization that will track and report on that progress is AAAS; you can follow its analysis here.

For more information, you can review all of the OSTP 2015 R&D budget documents, including more detail on agency breakouts and their salient areas of federal R&D investment.

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