On Thursday, February 12, 2009, the details reflecting the final language of H.R.1, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act emerged.
Earlier that week, and in previous weeks, WSU had a strong presence on the Hill advocating for strength in this Act to reflect the role of the research university as creating the innovation necessary to spur economic recovery. I am pleased to report that this final language contains a significant number of positive provisions for higher education and research universities.
The news that we have at this time is summarized in this concise report.
Please note that this information is preliminary. The bottom line is that things in Washington D.C. are moving very rapidly right now and the details for the ARRA will emerge over the next few weeks. We will follow and communicate these details carefully and efficiently. We also understand that many of you are very well-connected with individual agencies, programs, and program directors. Because of this, I have set up a unique email and dedicated web site to facilitate the sharing of information to our entire faculty. I encourage you to use these venues to benefit everyone.
With respect to research funding, the following agency budgets are summarized as follows.
· $3.0 billion for the National Science Foundation (NSF);
· $10.4 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), including a $400-million transfer from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ);
· $2.0 billion for research at the Department of Energy (DOE), including $1.6 billion for Science and $400 million for Advanced Research Project Agency-Energy (ARPA-E);
· $580 million for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), including $180 million for a competitive research facilities construction program;
· $50 million for the National Endowment for the Humanities
· $280 million for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) research; and,
· $400 million and $150 million, respectively, for NASA science and aeronautics programs.
NIH has the most advanced information for how they will approach these funds. NIH will receive $10.4 billion. Their FY 08 budget was $29.6 billion. With the stimulus appropriation NIH would have a total FY2009 budget of at least $39.9 billion. A major consideration is that funds must be distributed over 18 months to meet the goals of the ARRA.
· $7.4 billion to be distributed proportionally among the NIH’s institutes and centers (ICs)
· $800 million would remain in the Office of the Director, with priority given for 2-year, short-term special research grants to be awarded competitively.
· $500 million for intramural construction in the Buildings and Facilities account,
· $1.0 billion for competitively awarded extramural grants through a dormant National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) program that last received $30 million in FY 2005, exclusively for the repair and modernization of existing academic research facilities.
· $300 million for NCRR would provide competitive awards for instrumentation and other capital equipment for research.
· $400 million to be transferred from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) for 'health care comparative effectiveness research.
· $1.3 billion will go to NCRR ($1 billion for competitive extramural facilities; and
· $300 million will be available for shared instrumentation
· $500 million for intramural facilities
· $400 million for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
· A total of $8.2 billion for the NIH Office of the Director of which $7.4 billion is transferred to the I/Cs with $800 million remaining in OD for trans-NIH initiatives.
Here is the basic outline of how the $8.2 billion will be spent.
There will be three major mechanisms with the bulk of the funding going to mechanisms 1 and 2:
1. R01 applications already in the funding queue. Two years of funding will be provided for those applications that can benefit from two years of funding and align with I/C priorities. A few applications may get four years of funding
2. Administrative Supplements to existing grants. Existing grants with at least one year to run may be given the opportunity or asked to submit supplements that further the goals of the I/Cs. These will be handled at least in part by requests from the I/Cs and likely with some calls for proposals and could involve equipment, extended funds for postdocs who were not able to move to their own position, summer students, related projects, etc. There may be other priority issues that the I/C staff want to see funded.
3. Challenge Grants. A new RFA will be released within a week or two for a new, two-year program of cross-cutting, highly innovative projects, $1 M total per project. These challenge grants will be for research addressing certain areas in science or public health that NIH thinks can advance significantly in 2 years. NIH will create a shortened application process for these peer-reviewed grants but hasn't said which areas will be targeted (as of 2/18/09).
Because the stimulus bill's aim is to improve the nation's economy, Kington said, NIH would also be sensitive to geographic distribution of the grants it gives.
Many of you may note the obvious omission of the Department of Agriculture from the above list. Despite our many efforts, both from WSU and from NASUGLC universities nationwide, agriculture did not receive any increases in the ARRA. This is indeed unfortunate and we will continue to apply pressure for increases in these budgets in other venues. There is no indication at this time that USDA budgets will decrease.
This Act was finalized in relation to the fates of the state fiscal stabilization fund as it relates to public higher education and funding for higher education infrastructure renovations and repairs.
Of that amount, approximately $39.5 billion would be sent to the states, explicitly, for elementary, secondary, and public higher education, and as applicable, early education. Nearly $8.8 billion would be allocated for "other government services."
While it may be too early to know how this will play out in Washington, there may be infrastructure funds available to allow us to proceed with some of our highest priorities involving Global Animal Health and the ARS building. We will continue to follow this situation as it moves from the federal to the state level.
As stated above, I encourage those of you with more detailed information on specific programs to share that information by sending it to this unique email (firstname.lastname@example.org). We will gather all of this information, add subsequent information from the Washington delegation members, and update our faculty to position themselves with as much lead time as possible to take advantage of these emerging opportunities. You may also send questions to the above email, and we will attempt to find the answers in a timely manner.
Lastly, we are in the preliminary stages of forming several one-day “summer camps” that address the unique funding opportunities afforded by the ARRA. Although things are moving extraordinarily quickly, we are mobilizing just as rapidly in response. As a major research university, I know we will take advantage of this historical situation and our participation will help spur the recovery that this Act aims to accomplish.
Howard D. Grimes
Vice President for Research
Dean of the Graduate School
Washington State University