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Wish List: FY '09 budget proposal ups physical sciences

On Feb. 4, President Bush announced his proposed research and development (R&D) spending blueprint for 2009. It echoed his embattled plan from last year.

Federal support for R&D, totaling $146.9 billion, would pump up funds for physical sciences but not for biomedical research. Last year, Congress overrode those priorities, and analysts predict a similar fight this year.

The President's request includes $5.2 billion in research funds for the National Science Foundation (NSF), a 13.3 percent increase over fiscal year (FY) '08, and $4.72 billion for the Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Science, a 16 percent increase (percent changes have been adjusted to account for a 2 percent rate of inflation estimated for the current fiscal year).

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