2012 R&D budget winners and losers

An analysis by the American Association for the Advancement of Science found the 2012 budget for research and development will make investments into energy and environment research but cut R&D at the Defense Department and NASA.

The overall R&D budget in fiscal 2012, which started Oct. 1, is down slightly at $142 billion, down about $1.9 billion or 1.3 percent from 2011, according to the AAAS analysis.

Defense R&D decreased this year by $2.5 billion or 3.2 percent, AAAS said.

Basic defense research, development, testing, and evaluation will rise 8.7 percent from 2011 levels, and applied research will rise by 5.6 percent, AAAS said. “But that gain is dwarfed by billions of dollars in cuts to operational systems development and classified programs, among other areas,” according to an AAAS statement.


NASA will also see R&D cuts to a tune of $647 million or 6.6 percent.

“It’s no doubt a tough fiscal environment, but the fact that we actually see some fairly sizable increases in certain research areas suggests persistent support for science and innovation even now,” said Matt Hourihan, director of the AAAS R&D Budget and Policy Program, in a statement.

Among the winners AAAS identified in the R&D budget are:

  • Energy Department — R&D budget increases 8 percent or $821 million.
  • National Science Foundation — R&D increases 3.1 percent or $165 million.
  • Commerce Department — R&D budget increases 12.7 percent or $158 million. AAAS said most of the increase will go to the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
  • Environmental Protection Agency — R&D budget increases 12.1 percent or $68 million.

AAAS is an international non-profit aimed at advancing science, according to the organization’s website. It publishes the journal Science.


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