According to the text of HR1 (pdf), NSF will be getting an additional $2.5 billion as part of the ‘stimulus’* package. From HR1 (pp. 54-55):
For an additional amount for ”Research and Related Activities”, $2,500,000,000: Provided, That $300,000,000 shall be available solely for the Major Research Instrumentation program and $200,000,000 shall be for activities authorized by title II of Public Law 100-570 for academic research facilities modernization: Provided, That for peer-reviewed grants made under this heading, the time limitation provided in section 1103(b) of this Act shall be 120 days.
For an additional amount for ”Education and Human Resources”, $100,000,000: Provided, That $60,000,000 shall be for activities authorized by section 7030 of Public Law 110-69 and $40,000,000 shall be for activities authorized by section 9 of the National Science Foundation Authorization Act of 2002 (42 U.S.C. 1862n).
For an additional amount for ”Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction”, $400,000,000, which shall be available only for approved projects.
Translated into English, NSF gets an additional $2.5 billion:
- $300 million goes to the Major Research Instrumentation program
- $200 million to modernize academic research facilities
- $100 million for education and scientific training
This means that $1.9 will be spent, and spent rapidly–120 days after the Act would be passed (Note: This doesn’t mean checks will start rolling out, but that monies will be allocated to agencies, etc.).
I think the specific items are good, since there’s a lot of deferred maintenance and upgrades that need to be addressed. And funding rates are so low (for some sections, under ten percent), that there’s a lot of good science not getting funded that should be funded.
But like ScienceBlogling Jake, I’m worried that if this is a one-time spending bolus in terms of general research funding, this will create a massive imbalance once the money goes away. Not only will lines of research cease to exist, but, despite best intentions, institutions will experience unwarranted optimism–you might call it a bubble–and overexpand, leading to a research contraction (I would prefer to see a sustained increase over a five to fifteen year period).
Hopefully, this isn’t a one-time kickstart, but the beginning of a shift towards more funding for NSF.
It is nice to see that Congress agreed to my call to double the NSF budget though….[/snark]
*Calling this a stimulus was the worstest framing EVAH! We do need a stimulus, but more importantly, our economic needs a restructuring.