FY14 Budget Request for NIH, NSF, and Statistical Agencies
Proposed Increases to Restore FY13 Cuts and More
Steve Pierson, ASA Director of Science Policy
The President’s Fiscal Year 2014 (FY14) budget was released two months later than usual and generally was positive, requesting increases that go beyond restoring the FY13 cuts (as shown in Table 1). The road to achieving these increases will be a difficult one with Democrats and Republicans being far apart on fiscal policy. The statistical community should be vocal with their elected officials about the importance of federal funding for basic research and federal statistical data to economic growth.
NIH and NSF
The FY14 request for NIH would increase the NIH budget by almost 7% above the FY13 level. If enacted, this level would only be a 2% increase above FY12. Taking into account inflation, such a level would see NIH’s purchasing power decreased by almost 2%, thereby continuing NIH’s declining purchasing power since its budget doubling was achieved in FY03.
One of the NIH FY14 initiatives of interest to the statistical community is the Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) program. According to the NIH FY14 budget overview document, BD2K has the following four programmatic efforts:
- Facilitate the broad use and sharing of large, complex biomedical data sets
- Develop and disseminate new analytical methods and software
- Enhance training of data scientists, computer engineers, and bioinformaticians
- Establish centers of excellence to develop generalizable approaches that address important problems in biomedical analytics, computational biology, and medical informatics
If funded, NIH will invest at least $40 million in the BD2K program, and each Big Data Center of Excellence will be funded at $2 million to $5 million per year for 3–5 years.
The NSF FY14 request is especially strong: 11% above FY13 and 8% above FY12. Among the FY14 budget priorities of most interest to the statistical community are Cyberinfrastructure Framework for 21st-Century Science, Engineering, and Education (CIF21: $155 million) and Integrated NSF Support Promoting Interdisciplinary Research and Education (INSPIRE: $63 million).
CIF21 is the multidisciplinary program to use cyberinfrastructure to accelerate research and education and new functional capabilities in computational and data-intensive science and engineering. Through CIF21, the Division of Mathematical Science (DMS) supports Big Data and computational and data-enabled sciences (CDS&E). INSPIRE addresses complicated and pressing scientific problems at the intersection of traditional disciplines and is intended to encourage investigators to submit bold and exceptional proposals. DMS also has funding solicitations in the FY14 priority areas: cyber-enabled materials, manufacturing, and smart systems (CEMMSS) and secure and trustworthy cyberspace (SaTC). Also, DMS continues to support research through its Research at the Interface of the Biological, Mathematical, and Physical Sciences (BioMaPS) and Expeditions in Education programs.
The administration’s FY14 budget request for the statistical agencies again shows a strong commitment to increasing their budgets, with four agencies seeing more than 10% requested increases over their FY12 levels, thereby more than restoring the FY13 cuts. Another five agencies have requested increases of 3–8% over their FY12 levels. Three more agencies are essentially flat funded from FY12.
The agencies with the largest requested increases compared to their FY12 levels are the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), Energy Information Administration (EIA), National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), and NSF National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES). The BJS request of $53 million would restore half of the cut from its FY11 budget of $60 million and mostly go to the National Crime Victimization Survey. The EIA increase would go to many programs having to do with its consumption surveys, energy supply surveys, and forecasting abilities. Much of the NCHS increase would go toward its vital statistics reporting and further phasing in of the electronic birth and death records. The NCSES program would go to many initiatives, the largest being a survey of research and development funding and performance by nonprofit organizations and an expansion of the scope of administrative records sources.
The agencies with the 3–8% increases over their FY12 levels are the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), Census Bureau, National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), and Social Security Administration Office of Research, Evaluation, and Statistics (ORES). What stands out here are a BEA initiative to measure foreign direct investment and the Census Bureau ramping up ($140 million) for the final year of the research and testing phase of the 2020 Decennial Census. The Census request also ramps down the 2012 Economic Census and closes out the 2010 Decennial Census. The requested budget for the Internal Revenue Service Statistics of Income Division is $2 million more than its FY13 level.
Compared to their FY12 levels, the FY14 requests would mostly just restore the budgets of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Economic Research Service (ERS), and National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) to their FY12 levels after the FY13 cuts. The Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) is funded from the Highway Trust Fund and so is outside the appropriations process.