If the proposed 2015 budget request is approved, research and development at institutes across the country will see a $135.4-billion boost. Credit: Argonne National Laboratory on Flickr (Creative Commons License).

President Obama has delivered to Congress a $3.9-trillion budget request for 2015 that includes $56 billion for his “Opportunity, Growth and Security Initiative” and increased spending for research and development (R&D).

According to a White House press release, the proposed $135.4 billion designated for federal R&D activities is a 1.2-percent increase over 2014 spending levels.

“The 2015 budget reflects this Administration’s clear-eyed recognition that our Nation’s standing as a global leader today is built largely on a foundation of science and technology,” said Dr. John P. Holdren, President Obama’s science and technology advisor and director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy in the release. “By continuing the Administration’s record of steady support for research and development across the full spectrum of scientific and technological domains—including such diverse priorities as biomedicine, advanced manufacturing, climate science, cybersecurity, natural resource management, space exploration, and national security—the Budget ensures that the United States will be an incubator of innovation and economic growth for many years to come.”

The R&D budget breaks down to $65.9 billion for non-defense R&D (0.7-percent or $477-million increase) and $69.5 billion for defense R&D (1.7-percent or $1.2-billion increase). Basic and applied research investments saw a 0.4 percent increase over 2014, and investments in development saw a 2.3 percent increase.

The “separate, fully-paid-for” Opportunity, Growth and Security Initiative—which, among other priorities, champions advancing clean energy research, investing in advanced manufacturing and regional economic growth, and improving job training—includes an additional $5.4 billion for R&D endeavors.

Additional highlights, direct from the release:

  • $30.2 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which supports high-quality, innovative, biomedical research at institutions across the United States to improve the health of the American people.
  • $12.3 billion for R&D at the Department of Energy (DOE), to support such priorities as clean energy and advanced manufacturing, energy security, carbon pollution reduction and climate change mitigation, and modernization of America’s nuclear weapons stockpile and infrastructure—including  $5.1 billion for DOE’s Office of Science.
  • $11.6 billion for R&D at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, to develop systems for human exploration of deep space; continue studies of our planet, the Sun, our solar system and the universe; continue development of the James Webb Space Telescope for launch in 2018; and continue to develop, in collaboration with the private sector, new U.S. capabilities for transporting human crews to the International Space Station.
  • $7.3 billion for the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Nation’s primary source of support for academic research in most non-biomedical disciplines, integrating fundamental research and education across a broad spectrum of science and engineering domains.
  • $925 million for R&D at the Department of the Interior, including work relating to environmental and natural resource monitoring, energy permitting, ecosystem restoration and management, and Earth observations.
  • $680 million for the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) intramural laboratories in the Department of Commerce, to support research that promotes U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards, and technology.
  • $2.5 billion for the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), which coordinates and integrates Federal research and applications to assist the Nation and  the world in understanding, assessing, predicting, and responding to the human-induced  and natural processes of global change and their related impacts and effects.
  • $3.8 billion for the Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) Program, which provides strategic planning for and coordination of agency research efforts in cybersecurity, high-end computing systems, advanced networking, software development, high-confidence systems, health IT, wireless spectrum sharing, cloud computing, and other information technologies.
  • $1.5 billion for the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI), which supports R&D focused on materials, devices, and systems that exploit the unique physical, chemical, and biological properties that emerge in materials at the nanoscale (approximately 1 to 100 nanometers), including Signature Initiatives in such national priority areas as sustainable nanomanufacturing, solar energy, sustainable design of nanoengineered materials, nanoinformatics and modeling, nanoscale technology for sensors, and nano electronics.

Finally—and welcome news for both educators and industry—the 2015 budget provides $2.9 billion for federal investments in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education, a 3.7-percent increase from 2014 funding. The monies will be used to recruit, train, and support STEM teachers; support “STEM-focused” districts; improve undergraduate education; and invest in research regarding STEM teaching and learning. Click here for a more detailed breakdown of the proposed STEM spending.

As with any budget, the spending is proposed (and subsequently opposed), so we’ll keep an eye on future budget discussions and report back with updates.

Feature Image Credit: Jonathon Colman on Flickr (Creative Commons License)