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Monday, October 18, 2010

Federal Research and Development Funding: FY2011

John F. Sargent Jr., Coordinator
Specialist in Science and Technology Policy

President Obama has requested $147.696 billion for research and development (R&D) in FY2011, a $343 million (0.2%) increase from the estimated FY2010 R&D funding level of $147.353 billion. Congress will play a central role in defining the nation’s R&D priorities, especially with respect to two overarching issues: the extent to which the federal R&D investment can grow in the context of increased pressure on discretionary spending and how available funding will be prioritized and allocated. Low or negative growth in the overall R&D investment may require movement of resources across disciplines, programs, or agencies to address priorities. This report will be updated as Congress acts on appropriations bills that include funding for research, development and related funding.

Under the President’s request, six federal agencies would receive 94.8% of total federal R&D spending: the Department of Defense (DOD, 52.5%), Department of Health and Human Services (largely the National Institutes of Health) (21.8%), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (7.4%), Department of Energy (7.6%), National Science Foundation (3.8%), and Department of Agriculture (1.7%). NASA would receive the largest dollar increase for R&D of any agency, $1.700 billion (18.3%) above its FY2010 funding level. The DOD would receive the largest reduction in R&D funding, $3.542 billion (4.4%) below its FY2010 level.

President Obama has requested increases in the R&D budgets of the three agencies that were targeted for doubling in the America COMPETES Act (over seven years) and by President Bush under his American Competitiveness Initiative (over ten years) as measured using FY2006 R&D funding as the baseline. Under President Obama’s FY2011 budget, the Department of Energy’s Office of Science would receive an increase of $226 million (4.6%), the National Science Foundation’s budget would rise by $551 million (8.0%), and funding for the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s core research and facilities would grow by $48 million (7.3%).

As of September 30, 2010, no regular appropriations bill had been enacted by Congress. Two of the 12 regular appropriations bills had passed the House (the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2011, and the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2011); none had passed the Senate. To provide for continuity of government operations into FY2011, on September 29, 2010, the Senate passed a continuing resolution (H.R. 3081, Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011, as amended) providing funding for federal agencies through December 3, 2010, including their R&D activities, “at a rate for operations as provided in the applicable appropriations Acts for fiscal year 2010 and under the authority and conditions as provided in such acts.” On September 30, 2010, the House passed H.R. 3081 and President Obama signed it into law (P.L. 111-242).

For the past four years, federal R&D funding and execution has been affected by mechanisms used to complete the annual appropriations process—the year-long continuing resolution for FY2007 (P.L. 110-5) and the combining of multiple regular appropriations bills into the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2008 for FY2008 (P.L. 110-161), the Omnibus Appropriations Act, 2009 (P.L. 111-8), and the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2010 (P.L. 111-117). Completion of appropriations after the beginning of each fiscal year may cause agencies to delay or cancel some planned R&D and equipment acquisition. 

Date of Report: October 4, 2010
Number of Pages: 53
Order Number: R41098
Price: $29.95

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