Research Bill Could Aid Engineers

The National Science Foundation’s Reauthorization Act of 2002 – if passed by Congress – would authorize more than $37 billion in funding through 2007, more than doubling the agency’s budget for its facilities construction program.


Engineering education and research could see a boost under legislation signed last month by President Bush. The National Science Foundation’s Reauthorization Act of 2002 %%MDASSML%% if passed by Congress %%MDASSML%% would authorize more than $37 billion in funding through 2007, more than doubling the agency’s budget for research and educational grants, as well as its facilities construction program.

With the last reauthorization bill moving through Congress in 1998, the proposed legislation would be a big boost for what some see as a chronically underfunded agency, say scientists and legislators.

In addition to increased spending, the bill directs the NSF to play a more active role improving U.S. workforce skills in science and technology, as well as helping the country maintain its competitive advantage in industries where it leads.

Further, U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md., stresses the importance of Congress supporting the NSF in its ability, albeit indirect, to help the U.S. fight terrorism.

"America’s future prosperity will be at risk and our ability to win the war against terrorism will be compromised if we fail to reclaim our world leadership in educating and inspiring our young people to become scientists, engineers and mathematicians," he said, as quoted by United Press International.

Although the NSF bill has support, the entire 2003 budget remains a major topic of controversy in Congress. Consequently, the jury is out as to how much funding will ultimately be reauthorized to the agency.

For more information, visit the NSF’s web site at .

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