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Science Agencies See Modest Funding Bumps in Obama Budget Plan

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Under the budget proposal that the Obama Administration unveiled yesterday for Fiscal Year 2014, several of the major agencies that support life sciences research and other scientific disciplines will receive varying levels of funding increases.

The largest of these funding boosts would go to the National Science Foundation, which is marked for a budget of $7.6 billion, an increase of $593 million, or 8.4 percent, over the amount it received in FY2012, the last full-year budget that was agreed to by Congress and the president.

The NSF budget plan would provide $6.2 billion for research and related activities at NSF, including $63 million for an interdisciplinary research and education initiative, and $160 million for research on new manufacturing technologies, and $25 million for a public-private "Innovation Corps," which aims to move new innovations from university labs toward commercialization.

Also included in the White House budget plan is $5 billion, a 5.7 percent jump over FY2012, for the Department of Energy's Office of Science, which supports a wide range of research grants and scientific facilities, including DOE's biosciences and genomics programs, such as the Joint Genome Institute.

Funding for the US Department of Agriculture's Agriculture and Food Research Initiative would increase under the new budget to $383 million, a jump of $119 million over FY2012. This program funds studies into a range of food-related issues, including nutrition, food safety, sustainable agriculture, obesity, bioenergy, and others.

The USDA budget also would increase in-house research at the agency by $148 million, with $125 million of that coming from other USDA projects that were deemed to be lower priorities.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention budget under the Obama Administration plan would receive $3.2 billion, or a small bump of $30 million over FY 2012.

The White House budget plan also would increase funding for the Food and Drug Administration, a 21 percent spike to $4.7 billion, or $821 million over FY2012, although nearly all of that increase, around 94 percent of it, would be paid for by user fees, according to FDA.

The FDA budget includes $50.8 million for medical device innovation and regulatory science activities, with about $5.3 million of that coming from user fees, but it also calls for a $15 million decrease in funding for its human drug, biologics, and medical device programs.

“These are tight budget times, and the FDA budget request reflects this reality,” FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said in a statement yesterday. “Our budget increases are targeted to strategic areas that will benefit patients and consumers and overall strengthen our economy."