Research funds headed for small, but noticeable, cuts

Federal research and development funding appears likely to survive relatively intact for fiscal 2006, following a bruising budget rescission process.

Last weekend, Congress agreed to a 1 percent "haircut" across all government programs to pay for deficit reduction and costs associated with rebuilding the Gulf Coast region after the summer's hurricanes.

As it now stands, the government would spend about $135 billion on research and development in fiscal 2006, according to an analysis by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

"It's not 2 percent," said a somewhat relieved Kei Koizumi, director of the research and development budget and policy program at AAAS. "But still [the cut] has big impacts."

The higher rescission figure was discussed as Congress began the process this fall. The Senate still must clear the bill. That vote has been complicated by the addition of language to authorize oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

The new research and development total would leave most agency research coffers flat, with the exception of the Pentagon, Koizumi said. The final budget for the National Science Foundation's research program would be $4.15 billion, down $42 million.

The Pentagon is the largest federal supporter of basic research work conducted at universities, and defense research and development funding saw some notable increases, thanks to congressional appropriators adding money beyond the Bush administration's request.

The Defense Department's total research and development allotment would be $73 billion, including the rescission. That comes to $1.5 billion more than last year, or 2.1 percent. Congress added $3 billion to the Pentagon's science and technology budget, for a total of $14 billion.

But Koizumi said the real plus would be in the form of earmarks for projects in lawmakers' states and districts. Those would deliver $6.7 billion to the military's basic and applied research accounts, despite the Pentagon's proposed cuts to the programs. Congress traditionally adds money into the accounts, and this budget cycle was no exception, Koizumi said.

Robert Boege, executive director of the Alliance for Science and Technology Research in America, welcomed the total government research and development budget numbers for fiscal 2006. "Considering what the [rescission] alternatives would have been, it's a good thing," Boege said.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.