FY 2010 NSF Budget Proposal Tops $7 Billion

The Obama administration released details of its FY 2010 budget request in early May 2009. The proposed NSF budget is $7.045 billion, an increase of $555 million (8.5%) over the FY 2009 budget plan of $6.49 billion. NSF received an additional $3 billion from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (commonly called the stimulus bill); this one-time appropriation is not included in the following calculations or discussion.

The proposed FY 2010 funding puts NSF back on a path to double its budget relative to 2006 levels, as authorized in 2002 and called for in a number of independent studies.

The proposed FY 2010 budget includes:

  • $5.7 billion for Research and Related Activities, an increase of $550 million (10.6%);
  • $858 million for Education and Human Resources, an increase of $12.5 million (1.5%); and
  • $117 million for Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction, a decrease of $35 million (23%).

The budget includes two proposed new foundation-wide programs of interest to the arctic research community:

  • Climate Change Education, funded at $10 million each in both FY 2009 and 2010, and
  • Climate Research, included in the budget request at $197.26 million.

"Research in polar regions...addresses the Administration's focus on making the U.S. a leader on climate change and builds on a foundation established during the International Polar Year....The Administration is assessing the overarching issues facing the Arctic, including those associated with impacts of climate change, increased human activity, new or additional information needs, and conservation of arctic resources. This approach will necessarily include identifying any implementation issues associated with the Arctic Policy signed by the previous Administration."

  • —Office of Polar Programs in Context
  • FY 2010 NSF Budget Request

The Office of Polar Programs request is $516 million, an increase of $45.3 million (9.6%) over the FY 2009 budget of $470.7 million. Of the FY 2010 OPP request, the Division of Arctic Sciences would receive $108.7 million, an increase of $10.44 million (10.6%) over FY 2009. Of this, almost $62 million is requested for arctic research and education grants and almost $47 million for arctic research support and logistics.

In the proposed budget, the Division of Arctic Sciences would provide:

  • $35.45 in support of the new foundation-wide Climate Research program; this funding builds on and goes beyond International Polar Year synthesis activities to transform Arctic System Science by shifting greater attention to high-level synthesis informed by modeling and observations and using cyberinfrastructure to improve the ability to predict and model regional climate change;
  • level funding of $12 million for the Arctic Observing Network (AON; see Witness Winter 2008/2009);
  • an additional $3.5 million for cyberinfrastructure, to a total of $4.0 million;
  • $750,000 in support of Climate Change Education; this new multidisciplinary, multi-faceted program will support a variety of partnerships to help develop environmentally engaged scientists and engineers and increase public understanding and engagement; and
  • an additional $500,000 for Arctic Social Sciences, to a total of $4.0 million, to build on results from the natural science component of the Bering Ecosystem Study (BEST) to explore the dynamic relationship between the ecosystem and the humans who depend on it.

The OPP request also includes level funding of $54 million for operations and maintenance of the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) icebreakers Polar Sea and Healy (see Witness Winter 2008/2009). The FY 2009 Department of Homeland Security budget includes $30.3 million for the USCG to reactivate Polar Star.

For more information, see the NSF Budget Division website .