by Rebecca McCauley Rench
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is the core agency that funds our nation’s basic research, which is the lifeblood of our science and technology development that fuel our national security and economic future. For many decades, the U.S. has led the world in science and technology as a nation that supported scientists and was prideful of their accomplishments. We benefited from national policies that supported a robust S&T environment that valued basic research. U.S. leadership in S&T should not be taken for granted.
The FY2017 budget request announced by the NSF on Monday shows less than a 2% growth in discretionary spending with nearly half for “Agency Operations and Award Management,” which may be necessary, but leaves little increase for true research funding. By allocating such a small amount to S&T, we shortchange our future and fail to inspire our scientists to imagine and innovate.
We support the NSF Director Córdova’s vision to invest in basic research in all fields of science and engineering to advance the American science and technology enterprise, developing the workforce, and advancing areas that are vital to a clean energy economy. We believe that Congress should increase the proposed budget in a way that gives the NSF the ability to assure scientists and engineers of our Nation’s commitment to science and technology leadership.