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Significant Science and Research Cuts in Federal FY20 Budget Proposal

Recent news of President Trump’s budget request for fiscal year 2020 has been of great concern to the University of Tennessee research community. The White House recently released a 150-page overview of the president’s budget request. This is the first step in a long process to approve a federal budget. The House and Senate must pass budget resolutions, send it to appropriation committees, vote on those resolutions, and then the president must sign each appropriation for the budget to become law. Ideally, this last step is approved by October 1.

So, this is far from the final version of the federal budget. As you may recall, Congress did not pass the final, approved budget for FY19 until February 15, 2019, after a 35-day government shutdown—the longest in history.

The president’s proposed budget calls for deep cuts to the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Science Technology, and the elimination of several programs and agencies focused on research and technology.

Department of Commerce:The National Institute of Science Technology would be cut by approximately 30%, represented in large part by the suggested elimination of the Manufacturing Extension Project and NOAA’s Sea Grant College Program.

Department of Energy: While the White House touts $5.5 billion in funding for basic research, that number represents a 16% cut in the Office of Science’s budget. The president has suggested, again, to eliminate ARPA-E, an agency dedicated to “high-potential, high-impact energy technologies that are too early for private-sector investment.”

Department of Defense: Under this budget, science and technology funding would receive a 10% cut across all three military branches, while DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, would see its resources increase by nearly 4%. Further, the budget calls for $9.6 billion in funding for cybersecurity.

Environmental Protection Agency: Trump’s budget would call for a $2.8 billion dollar cut to funding for the EPA and the elimination of funding for the Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), a multi-agency program that provides research and insight into climate change.

National Institutes of Health: Funding for NIH would see a 12% cut even as the White House proposes $1 billion in funding for opioid research.

The Office of Management and Budget released supplemental documentation this week and some federal agencies have released budget justifications (DODDOENIHHHSNASAUSDANSF).

The Office of Research and Engagement will continue to monitor the proceedings with the federal budget and update as necessary.

If you have any questions about the proposed budget and how it may impact your research, please contact Kimberly Eck (keck@utk.edu).