All's well that ends well. This year's bumpy budget-making journey ended in a relatively smooth landing late last month with a record raise for U.S. biomedical science and increases for many other basic research budgets.
In April, President George W. Bush alarmed some science lobbyists with a spending plan for 2002 that called for trimming many nonbiomedical research budgets. But lawmakers rejected most of those cuts, instead increasing spending on everything from geological research to space science (see table). They added even more funds for military science and bioterrorism-related research in the wake of the 11 September terrorist assaults and subsequent anthrax attacks.
While the final numbers are still being tallied, analysts expect overall government R&D spending to rise by more than 6%, to some $100 billion, in the 2002 fiscal year that began 1 October. "It was like holiday shopping-- they went on a late spending spree," says one congressional budget aide. Some of the money has strings attached, however, as lawmakers ordered up an unprecedented number of earmarks. The practice, in which Congress directs funds to a specific institution or research project, is opposed by many scientists and the Bush Administration.
Although Congress had already passed some spending bills affecting science agencies (Science, 16 November 2001, p. 1430), it wasn't until the week before Christmas that it approved budgets for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Departments of Education and Defense. Here are highlights from those budgets and from other agencies that support research:
Biomedical science. For the fourth year in a row, NIH was the biggest winner. Its record $3 billion, 15% raise, to $23.2 billion, was contained in a $396 billion measure funding health, education, and welfare programs. The 2002 number is $200 million more than the White...