For the last few years, we’ve been able to frame NASA’s research and exploration with the goal of reaching Mars. The agency has been saying it wanted to land a human on the red planet in the 2030s, but now that’s looking less likely. William Gerstenmaier, NASA’s associate administrator for human exploration, has noted that NASA simply doesn’t have the money to make a Mars landing happen.
In NASA’s science account, planetary science emerges as a big winner, with the report allocating $2.12 billion, a record level. That amount is $191 million above the White House request and $275 million above what Congress provided in 2017. Some of that additional funding will go to missions to Jupiter’s icy moon Europa, thought to have a subsurface ocean of liquid water that could sustain life.
Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education has well over 99 problems--but, for now at least, a lack of funding isn't one. 100Kin10, the national nonprofit seeking to recruit, prepare, and support 100,000 STEM teachers by 2021, has mapped out over 100 "grand challenges" facing STEM education. And today, the organization announced that Google, Chevron, and other funders have committed over $28 million to help.
In FY 2015, federal agencies obligated $30.5 billion to 1,016 academic institutions for science and engineering (S&E) activities. This represents a 2% decrease in current dollars from the $31.1 billion obligated to 1,003 academic institutions in FY 2014.
New launch vehicles promise cheaper access to space, either to Earth orbit and beyond or for suborbital missions. The cubesat revolution has made it cheaper than ever to build small but sophisticated spacecraft. That combination suggests that it’s feasible for scientists to develop missions without the need to go through government agencies for funding.
The little-known federal funding program has $400 million currently available. NEF has set aside $40 million to provide the required 10 percent matching grant. NEF's academic partner, the State University of New York (SUNY), the largest U.S. university, will set up and maintain the mandated STEM+ Academy (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, English, Social Studies, SAT/ACT, IT, Business) at no cost to the school district.
The SBIR program has been a legislated requirement of the Department of Defense, an agency responsible for roughly 40 percent of all federal extramural R&D spending, for more than three decades. One might expect that over that amount of time, the Department of Defense would have developed a system to become compliant with SBIR’s fundamental provision that a minimum threshold of innovation research spending be directed toward small businesses.
General Motors Co. has partnered with four new organizations as part of its emerging corporate giving plan that includes a focus on encouraging young people to explore science, technology, engineering and math related professions. The Detroit automaker said Wednesday it will give a total of $850,000 and has established new partnerships with Code.org, Black Girls Code, Institute of Play and Digital Promise.
Last year American taxpayers spent more than $42 billion for scientific research and education at universities and nonprofits across the country. Most of this investment contributed to American innovation, economic competitiveness and national security. Taxpayers would be surprised to learn that approximately one-quarter of that funding -- more than $10 billion -- pays not for the cost of research but to cover universities’ and nonprofits’ overhead.
American scientific teams still publish significantly more biomedical research discoveries than teams from any other country, a new study shows, and the U.S. still leads the world in research and development expenditures. But American dominance is slowly shrinking, the analysis finds, as China's skyrocketing investing on science over the last two decades begins to pay off.