Obama's 2009 stimulus package to grant $16 billion in R&D funding
16 January 2009.
The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has estimated that, of the $850 billion economic stimulus package drafted by the incoming Congress and Obama administration, nearly two percent will go to research and development in the sciences.
Of the almost $16 billion appropriated to R&D:
- $9.9 billion will go toward the conduct of research and development (mainly basic research)
- $3.4 billion will fund R&D facilities and large research equipment
- $2.5 billion will go toward non-R&D, but science- and technology-related, funding
Among the organizations receiving the most funding are the National Institute of Health ($3.6 billion), National Science Foundation ($3 billion), the Department of Energy's Office of Science ($2 billion), and the Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology ($520 million).
According to the AAAS, this gives federal research funding its first real increase in five years.
The bill requires funding to be distributed within 120 days. Since it is being distributed in such large quantities, the package carries with it extensive accountability and transparency mandates. This aims to prevent waste and fraud, a major public concern. Spending disclosure on a "recovery.gov" website will allow the public to see where the funding is actually going.
The package, in general, is skewed toward construction-related projects, with the goal of R&D spending aiding in the short-term recovery of the US economy. However, the improvements and updates made to research facilities has the potential to improve overall project efficiency and effectiveness. The overall stimulus package will also include provisions for academic research institutions.
Debate and voting on the bill are expected to happen shortly after Obama's inauguration on 20 January. The AAAS says that Congressional leaders are hoping to have a finalized bill handed to the President by mid-February.
It will be interesting to see how science and technology R&D is truly expected to aid (or not) economic recovery. The allocations would suggest that it will be the construction itself that is expected to do so. By comparison, according to the Washington Post, nearly 40 percent of the stimulus package will go towards health care and education.
To view the full AAAS report, including specific funding & historical info, and graphs, click HERE.
For the Obama-Biden Agenda for recovery, click HERE.