NSF FY14 budget
Polar Programs would get funds to begin McMurdo, Palmer facility upgrades
Posted April 26, 2013
The National Science Foundation (NSF) released its 2014 fiscal year budget this month, requesting $7.6 billion. The request includes nearly $465 million for the Division of Polar Programs (PLR) , which includes funds to kick start a long-term plan to modernize facilities for the U.S. Antarctic Program (USAP) .
The overall proposed budget represents an 8.4 percent increase over the 2012 fiscal year enacted budget, according to an NSF press release . The 2014 fiscal year begins on Oct. 1.
NSF’s PLR, which now falls under the Directorate of Geosciences after a reorganization last year, supports much of the research in the polar regions. About $139 million has been earmarked for research in the Arctic and Antarctic, with about 40 percent of that money going to new grants.
Supporting that research isn’t cheap: Approximately 70 percent of the overall PLR budget goes toward facilities and logistics. And the USAP Facilities and Logistics budget may get an $18 million boost if Congress approves the NSF request.
The money would be used to implement recommendations made by the Blue Ribbon Panel in a report called More and Better Science in Antarctica through Increased Logistical Effectiveness . The panel consisted of government, business and academic leaders, including former Lockheed Martin CEO Norm Augustine .
In 2010, the NSF initiated a comprehensive review of the nation’s research operations on the southernmost continent in collaboration with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) .
The process started when a committee under the National Research Council was tasked with examining future Antarctic research priorities, which led to a report called Future Science Opportunities in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean . The follow-on report from the Blue Ribbon Panel was designed to provide a blueprint on how to support Antarctic research into the future.
The NSF issued a formal response to the Blue Ribbon Panel last month . The federal agency noted that the panel “concluded that ushering in a new age of Antarctic science simply by expanding traditional methods of logistical support would be prohibitively costly” and therefore focused on more cost-effective and efficient ways to increase flexibility as research frontiers evolve over time.
The $18 million would be spread overall several different projects: