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Faculty Encouraged to Take Advantage of Surplus in Government Funding

From the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research

The Fiscal Year 2018 Consolidated Appropriations Act (omnibus spending bill) was signed into law on March 23. This bill allowed for significant increases in funding to several federal organizations, many of which we do not anticipate extending to the next fiscal year. Though the bill was signed toward the end of March, these funds are only effective through September 30, 2018, at which time a new spending bill must be approved for FY19.

Faculty are highly encouraged to apply for funding now, while these resources are still available. This is an opportunity for the university—as well as your department and college—to show a substantial increase in funding for FY18. Together, we can increase UT’s discovery enterprise, elevate our standing as a research university, and enhance our reputation with funding agencies.

To accomplish this, the staff in the Office of Research and Engagement is here to assist you in preparing and submitting competitive proposals. We can help you identify program officers so you can resubmit proposals that were not awarded previously due to lack of funding. Funding is also available via white papers and workshop proposals.

Expect to hear from ORE very soon regarding information sessions related to seeking additional funding from these organizations. We are here to assist you in your efforts. In the meantime, if you have questions please contact our office (865-974-3466, research@utk.edu) and we will be glad to help.

It is imperative that we move quickly before these funds are allocated to other projects.

Let’s work over the next 4-8 weeks to claim our share as we go from excellence to preeminence!

Victor R. McCrary
Vice Chancellor for Research

Highlights from the Omnibus Bill

  • NIH will receive $37.1 billion, an increase of $3 billion, or 8.8 percent, above the FY17 enacted level.
    • $414 million to the Institute on Aging for Alzheimer’s research, and an additional $500 million for opioids research within the institutes focusing on drug abuse (NIDA) and neurology (NINDS).
    • The BRAIN Initiative, the Cancer Moonshot, and the Precision Medicine Initiative would also receive the funding mandated by the 21st Century Cures Act.
  • NSF will receive $7.77 billion, an increase of $295 million, or 3.9 percent, above the FY17 enacted level.
    • The Research and Related Activities Directorate receives an appropriation of $6.33 billion, which is an increase of $301 million over FY17.
    • The Education and Human Resources Directorate receives $902 million, an increase of $22 million over FY17.
    • $182.8 million for Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction, which is a $26 million decrease from FY17.
  • USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) will receive $1.41 billion, an increase of approximately 3.3 percent above the FY17 level.
    • The Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) will receive $400 million, an increase of $25 million above the FY17 enacted level.
  • DOE Office of Science will receive $6.26 billion, an increase of $868 million, or 16 percent, above the FY17 enacted level and the largest yearly increase in its 40-year history.
    • DOE Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) will not be eliminated as proposed by the administration, and will instead receive $353 million, an increase of $47 million, or 15.5 percent, above the FY17 enacted level.
  • DOD will receive $2.34 billion for basic research, a $64 million, or 3 percent, increase above FY17.
    • Army and Air Force basic research accounts are cut 3.5 percent and 4.5 percent, respectively.
    • The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is allocated $3.1 billion, an increase of 8 percent over FY17. This also includes a $50 million rescission listed as DARPA undistributed reduction.
  • NEH and NEA will each receive $152.8 million under the omnibus, a $3 million, or 2 percent, increase above the FY17 funding level.
  • NASA will receive $20.7 billion, a 5.5 percent increase above FY17. This figure includes
    • $6.22 billion for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, an 8 percent, or $456 million, increase over FY17
    • Earth Science receives $1.92 billion
    • Astrophysics $850 million
    • Planetary Science $2.2 billion
    • The James Webb Space Telescope $534 million
    • Heliophysics $689 million. The Aeronautics Mission Directorate will receive an increase of $25 million (+4 percent) for for a total of $685 million.
    • The Space Technology Mission Directorate is funded at $760 million, a $73 million, or 11 percent increase above FY17.
    • The Office of Education will receive $100 million, of which $40 million is appropriated for the Space Grant Fellowship Program.

    Source: AAAS, APLU, AAU