NSF Congressional Highlight
Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Reports Out NSF Authorization Bill
September 12, 2002
On Thursday, September 5, 2002, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and
Pensions Committee reported out S. 2817, "The National Science Foundation
Doubling Act." The bill provides for a doubling of the NSF authorization
levels over the next five fiscal years, from $4.8 billion in FY 2002 to
$9.8 billion in FY 2007. Specifically, the bill authorizes the following
- 15 percent annual increases overall.
- 16 percent annual increases in the Research and
Related Activities account.
- 15 percent annual increases in the Education and
Human Resources account.
- 10 percent annual increases in the Major Research
Equipment and Facilities, Salary and Expenses, and
Inspector General accounts.
In addition to the funding levels, the bill provides policy guidance
on a number of NSF activities, including:
- Authorizing Math and Science Partnerships between
institutions of higher education and local school
districts by competitive grants for three years,
and by a formula grant program for two years.
- Authorizing a systemic secondary school initiative
with priority given to serving high-poverty communities
to promote scientific and technological literacy.
- Providing for multi-year "Tech Talent" competitive
grants to institutions of higher education to increase
the number of students studying toward, and receiving,
undergraduate degrees in science, math, engineering,
and technology disciplines.
- Calling for an NSF conducted review and assessment
of the major research instrumentation program, followed
by submittal to Congress of the reviews findings
- Requiring NSF to provide specific numerical rankings
of Major Research Equipment and Facilities candidates,
including the relative priority for funding, for
inclusion with future budget requests.
- Requiring an annual report on NSF's facilities
management plans, including proposed construction,
repair and upgrades, including full life-cycle cost
- Providing for the National Science Board to directly
appoint NSB staff, rather than delegating this authority
to the Director of NSF as has been the practice since
the Foundation was established.
The bill will be referred to the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation
Committee which expects to schedule a markup in late September.