Federal Research and Development: Budgeting and Priority-Setting Issues, 109th Congress [Updated June 14, 2006]   [open pdf - 199KB]

"Federal research and development (R&D) funding priorities reflect presidential policies and national needs. Defense R&D predominated in the 1980s, decreasing to about 50% of federal R&D in the 1990s. In non-defense R&D, space R&D was important in the 1960s as the nation sought to compete with the Soviet Union; energy R&D was a priority during the energy-short 1970s, and, since the 1980s, health R&D has predominated in non-defense science. This Administration's priorities include weapons development, homeland security, space launch vehicles, and beginning in 2006, more support for physical sciences and engineering. For FY2007, R&D is requested at almost $137 billion of budget authority, about 1.8% more than enacted in FY2006. The request would increase funding for physical sciences and engineering programs in the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Science, and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) laboratories as part of the President's American Competitiveness Initiative (ACI) to enhance innovation. Funding for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) R&D would increase by about 8% largely to develop human space vehicles but cuts would be made in aeronautics, life sciences, and other research activities. Continuing previous emphases, the budget would slightly increase in real dollar terms support for defense development. National Institutes of Health (NIH) R&D funding would be flat and R&D funding for all other agencies would decrease from FY2006 enacted levels."

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CRS Issue Brief for Congress, IB10088
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