On April 14, ASBMB President Gregory Petsko urged members of Congress to support a $7.68 billion budget for the National Science Foundation in 2011.
“We hope the Congress will view the president’s request as a floor, not as a ceiling, when considering funding levels for the agency,” Petsko said during his testimony. In February, President Obama proposed a $7.42 billion budget for the NSF in 2011, $260 million below ASBMB’s recommendation.
Petsko said the president’s 8 percent increase for the NSF did not include adequate funding increases for several key programs. For example, he said, the budget of the Major Research Instrumentation program would remain flat for 2011. That program provides funding for the purchase of large research instruments, such as mass spectrophotometers, that are essential for biochemical research.
U.S. Rep. Michael Honda, D-Calif., seemed to concur with Petsko’s testimony, saying that, while the president’s request was good, the NSF remained underfunded.
Other experts agreed the NSF deserves robust support.
“NSF plays a significant role in advancing medical research,” said William Talman, president-elect for the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. Highlighting breakthroughs in imaging technology, Talman, a medical doctor, said that advances in fields such as physics and chemistry have “tremendously enriched” medicine and the life sciences.
Petsko’s full testimony before the House of Representatives Commerce-Justice-Science appropriations subcommittee can be found on ASBMB’s website. ASBMB and FASEB’s $7.68 billion recommendation for NSF is detailed in FASEB’s annual federal funding report.