For a change, I am going to start my macro-level observations by looking at the National Science Foundation. As indicated in the chart above the agency has only been able to spend about $382 million – or less than 14% – of its Recovery Act money. No particular insights on my part, other than there must not be much that the NSF particularly feels proud about in regard to doing its part to help the science community weather the economic storms: The last update NSF provides on their official Recovery Act web page is dated Oct. 6, 2009! (Understand – I am referring to NSF’s institutional pride, not that of individuals. I personally know many people in the NSF who are trying to figure out how to get this money spent.)
Now, on to the DOE.
Just a reminder to Secretary Steven Chu: To fulfill your promise*, your staff now has less than six months to cut $16 billion in checks. That works out to about $2.66 billion a month or $91 million dollars per day. If it weren’t for the fact that all of this money has already been promised, I would seriously suggest the DOE write a check for $100 million to the top 160 universities in the nation and ask them to send in a five-page report in a year.
Anyway, the DOE’s chart, sad to say, speaks for itself:
* In Feb. 2009 Secretary Chu announced that 70 percent of Recovery act “investments” will be disbursed by the end of 2010.