Info tech takes biggest piece of NSF budget

Information technology takes up the largest share of all research to be funded by the National Science Foundation in its proposed 2004 budget of $5.5 billion, NSF announced Feb. 3.

The fiscal 2004 budget increases IT research to $302.8 million, a 6 percent increase from the $285.8 million proposed for 2003. NSF will focus on tasks such as large-scale networking, high-security systems and high-end computing.

In addition, much of the other funding areas also come with IT components.

One of the biggest increases in funding is for research equipment and facilities, an increase of $120 million to a total of $220 million. NSF will purchase such items as computer-driven analytical tools and high-speed networks to link more research networks, said Rita Colwell, NSF's director.

These tools "are fundamental to the progress of science and engineering. If you are going learn more about the deepest parts of the cosmos, you need the instrumentation to do it," Colwell said.

Other research areas NSF will fund include biocomplexity at $100 million, nanoscience at $249 million, and mathematical sciences at $89 million.

Biocomplexity saw the biggest funding increase of all the research areas at a gain of 26 percent, Colwell said. Work to combat bioterrorism makes up most of this funding.

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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