In the course of developing data on the FY 1996 Budget, CFS undertook an analysis of the level of funding projected for fundamental science, agencies' priorities for the immediate future, and how they describe their mission for fundamental science. This is the first attempt to describe the resource base supporting fundamental science on a government-wide basis. Understanding how funding, priorities and missions for fundamental science fit together is critical for the planning effort described in the main body of the text.
In developing its analysis, CFS had two primary sources of input: (a) notes developed by CFS members describing the fundamental science portions of their agencies' FY 1996 OMB budget requests, and (b) the agencies' response to data requested via OMB Circular A-11, Exhibit 44A.
Agencies began providing the material without a clear definition of fundamental science. Each agency has considered its mission, its requirements for fundamental scientific activity, and its overall research and development portfolio to reach an appropriately defined resource base that includes a mixture of basic research, applied research, and facilities that support those activities.
The agency summaries that follow provide both quantitative and narrative information.
The quantitative information was initially collected to answer basic questions about changes in agency plans for fundamental science as represented in their plans for basic research, applied research, funding for research in colleges and universities, funding for merit reviewed research, and R&D facilities. FY 1994 was chosen as the base, and the FY 1994 data provide the core of the information about the resource base for fundamental science.
Funding levels are given for fiscal years 1994, 1995 and 1996; the percent change is provided for FY 1995 over FY 1994 and FY 1996 over FY 1995. The data are taken from the agency submissions in accord with OMB Circular A-11, Exhibit 44A. Each agency provided CFS with their method of defining fundamental science so we would have a basis for interpreting the information (included in the narrative information).
The FY 1995 and FY 1996 data demonstrate trends in agency plans for fundamental science. They were initially developed without any government-wide focus on fundamental science, as such.
The narrative information provided by each agency began as a description of its research priorities for FY 1996. Because it was done in a budget context, it fell rather naturally into the six major categories of the Gibbons/Panetta budget guidance for FY 1996.
Building on this information base, agency representatives have refined the descriptions to be more inclusive of the overall base of fundamental science activity. The level of detail varies, depending upon what the agencies found to be necessary to convey a sense of their mission and priorities.
The total resource base for fundamental science, as defined by the agencies independently, was approximately $19.5 billion in FY 1994. The investments made by the agencies range from support for research conducted in in-house laboratories, through support for large, multi-user facilities, to support for activities conducted by individual investigators at colleges and universities. They cover all areas of science, with emphasis on research that supports the varied missions of the agencies.
The investments in areas of fundamental science also support areas of research and development that fall in the purview of other NSTC committees. They form a significant fraction of the resources identified by those committees in their planning processes. Effective use of those resources for multiple purposes is a key component of the CFS planning process.