Mr. Bakke Goes to Washington: Big Increases for Grant & Contract Funding!

Bob Bakke in front of the Capitol.
I just returned from Washington, D.C., where I attended the annual meeting of the National Council of University Research Administrators (NCURA). After discussions with colleagues from across the country (from large research campuses to small community-based centers and institutes) and following visits to agencies and trips to Capitol Hill on program and budget issues for FY 1998 and beyond, I came away with very good news about funding for new grants and contracts at the federal level.

The Congress is backing an enlarged federal commitment to both basic and applied research and development and for training, demonstration and special projects support—support for which CSU, Chico can be competitive. Specifically, there is strong backing for increases in the civilian Research and Development funding base by as much as 30 percent, after inflation, over the next five years. This year, the budget for the National Institutes of Health was increased by 7.1 percent to over $13 billion, a remarkable increase, given that NIH support has grown at a record pace in the last five to seven years. There are also proposals circulating in Congress, from both parties and from both ends of the political spectrum, led by Senators Phil Gramm (R-Texas) and Joseph Lieberman (D-Connecticut) and Representative Bob Livingston (R-Louisiana), chair of the House Appropriations Committee, to double the NIH budget to nearly $25 billion in the next five years. The National Science Foundation, likewise, received a 4.9 percent budget increase to $3.4 billion for this next fiscal year. In 1990, NSF received about $2 billion. This year's total represents a 58 percent increase in eight years, very good numbers in an era of deficit reductions and balanced budgets. There is even talk by both parties about funding the NSF with 10 percent annual increases for the next ten years!

Other federal Cabinet-level agencies, excepting Defense and NASA, also received substantial increases in the FY 1998 budget. Of great interest for CSU, Chico is that the U.S. Department of Education received the largest budget increase of any federal agency — a big 12.3 percent over the last fiscal year, to a new high of $32.5 billion. Education is "bread and butter" for Chico, from student aid to Upward Bound and Talent Search programs, to teacher training and outreach. I look for great things for our campus from the U.S. Department of Education in the coming years.

California State University, Chico is well positioned to take advantage of these good budget times—as support for grants and contracts is at an all-time high and likely to climb even higher in the future. I strongly encourage those who have been thinking about a proposal to the many federal departments, agencies, offices and programs. Now is the time!

For more information and assistance about research and/or sponsored projects opportunities, please come by the Office of Sponsored Programs, Kendall Hall 111. Or you can call us at x5700, e-mail any of our staff, or visit our Home page.

Robert J. Bakke, associate director, Office of Sponsored Programs

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