The Biden Administration’s FY 2022 Budget for higher education signals support for innovation in agriculture and science, climate change, rural development and access as well as equity via the funding of minority institutions. For example, the NIH and NSF budget increases of 20% are for innovative programs that translate to the increased funding for transformative grants, interdisciplinary programs and building relationships between business and higher education via such mechanisms as the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR).
- National Institutes of Health – 20% increase to spur innovation across the economy, renew America’s global leadership, build on efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and improve the public health infrastructure. Two-thirds of the $9 billion increase for NIH is to establish the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) in order to drive transformational innovation in health research.
- National Science Foundation – $1.7 billion increase is intended to fund research across NSF’s portfolio and improve equity in science and engineering, advance climate science and sustainability research, and augment research infrastructure.
- Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) – $3.45 billion increase, including Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and tribal colleges and universities to improve research and development infrastructure and the creation of a tuition assistance grant program, which would reduce tuition and fees for low-income students attending HBCU and MSI institutions during their first two years of college.
- Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) – $15 million increase is to be allocated equally for research on integrated treatment for opioid and multiple substance abuse disorders in ambulatory care settings and for its initiative to improve maternal health.
- National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) – $10 million increase for climate change research through the expansion of its existing geospatial program, informing the impact of extreme weather events and establishing baseline data for climate change tracking.
- Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) – $9 million increase to ensure the US Department of Commerce remains a leader across government in data innovation and implementation. The majority of the funds, $7 million, is to develop a federal data service.
- National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES) – $6 million increase supports the creation of America’s DataHub, a research center to share and link existing data to solve complex problems and improve the informational infrastructure around understanding racial equity.
- Economic Research Service (ERS) – $5 million increase to expand the modeling, data, and analysis between climate change and the agriculture sector.
The FY 2022 Biden Administration Budget support for education is robust and has been applauded by educational institutions at all levels. For higher education, research and development in the sciences as well as equity takes a leading role. Minority Serving Institutions and Historically Black Colleges and Universities will see benefits for their organizations and students. Equally important is the reinstated increase of funds for climate change research and agricultural innovations.
Ultimately, these budget increases will benefit researchers and those in higher education at various levels through the grants, cooperative agreements and contracts for which they can apply.
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