OMB Issues Guidance for FY 2017 Budget (including S&T Priorities)

OMB Issues Guidance for FY 2017 Budget (including S&T Priorities)

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Greetings from D.C. Right on schedule, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has issued its two annual budget guidance memoranda to agency heads for the coming fiscal year: the overall guidance for FY 2017 submissions (issued May 1) and the multi-agency S&T priorities guidance for FY 2017 (issued July 9). Combined, these memoranda give an indication of the Administration’s intent for the 2017 budget (and S&T component of that budget) proposal due early next year.

From the overarching guidance document, for discretionary spending, OMB notes the agencies’ FY 2017 budget submissions “should reflect a 5 percent reduction below the net discretionary total provided for your agency for FY 2017 in the FY 2016 Budget (unless otherwise directed by OMB). This reduction applies equally to defense (budget function 050) and non-defense programs; agencies that are split between the two may not reduce defense by more than 5 percent to offset non-defense or vice versa.”

Additionally, agencies should “identify additional investments in programs that support their missions, especially programs with strong evidence of effectiveness. Overall, these investments and your FY 2017 Budget submission should together achieve a level that is no more than the net discretionary total provided for your agency for FY 2017 in the FY 2016 Budget, for both defense and non-defense programs.”

Further, agencies should continue to invest in those activities supporting the President’s Management Agenda, including implementing the multiple Cross Agency Priority Goals (where the latest Lab-to-Market and tech commercialization efforts are identified).

The S&T priorities guidance memorandum states, “[F]ederal government funding for research and development (R&D) is essential to address societal needs in areas in which the private sector does not have sufficient economic incentive to make the required investments. Key among these is basic research—the fundamental, curiosity-driven inquiry that is a hallmark of the American research enterprise and a powerful driver of new technology. Simply supporting research is not sufficient; however, Federal agencies should ensure that the results of that research are made available to other scientists, to the public, and to innovators who can translate them into the businesses and products that will improve all of our lives." [my emphasis]

The memorandum notes that in addition to agency-specific, mission-driven research, including fundamental research, resources should also be focused on the following topical areas that cut across multiple agencies: global climate change; clean energy; earth observations; advanced manufacturing; innovation in the life sciences, biology and neurosciences; national and homeland security; information technology and high-performance computing; ocean and arctic issues; and R&D for informed policy-making and management. These areas are consistent with prior years’ guidance.

For more, read the overarching memorandum or the multi-agency S&T priorities memorandum.

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