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SPIE Encouraged By Increased Science Funding in Obama Budget, Urges Applied Research Emphasis
Date:4/12/2013

BELLINGHAM, Washington, USA (PRWEB) April 12, 2013

SPIE leaders said they were encouraged to see proposed increases in funds for scientific research and development and a greater emphasis on STEM education in President Obama’s 2014 budget proposal released Wednesday. At the same time, they stressed the importance of making applied research high priority, and expressed concerns about some funding levels.

The White House proposal includes an 8.4 percent increase over the 2012 enacted level for the National Science Foundation (NSF). Funding would rise for the NSF to an annual $7.6 billion. The budget for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science would increase by 5.7 percent, to $5 billion.

All told, the President’s 2014 budget proposes $143 billion for federal research and development, providing a 1 percent increase over 2012 levels for all R&D, and an increase of 9 percent for non-defense R&D.

“While the budget continues this Adminstration’s unflinching support for science and recognition of the importance of photonics to our future economy and health, I have some concerns,” said Eugene Arthurs, CEO of SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics. “In these times of constraint, It is very encouraging to see proposed increases for NSF, DOE science, and NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology), and the investment in the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) earth observations program is overdue. But it is disturbing to see both NASA and NIH R&D budgets reduced, in real terms.”

Arthurs said that the decrease for NIH is particularly troubling because health issues are changing with demographics and risks are expanding with global disease mobility. He cited recognition by NIH director Francis Collins of the potential for ima
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