Current Events in Science Policy
weekly news update

December 21, 2015

Edited by Kate Stoll, Senior Policy Advisor, MIT Washington Office


Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act to fund the government through September 2016. The budget agreement boosts science funding significantly, essentially overcoming sequestration, although it returns in FY17 and beyond. Federal science agencies saw R&D budget increases over FY15: 10.3% increase for DOD; 6.6% increase for NIH; 6.3% increase for DOE; 2.2% increase for NSF; and 9.1% increase for NASA R&D. For a breakdown of science agencies’ budgets, go to AAAS R&D Budget analysis. (Sources: Science Insider, AAAS)


A tax extenders bill was signed into law on December 18th, which delayed the “Cadillac Tax” and the medical device taxes of Obamcare, extended several tax credits, and made permanent several others. The R&D tax credit was made permanent by the bill. Several renewable energy tax credits were extended for multiple years. (Source: Huffington Post)


The National Institutes of Health released its 5-year strategic plan on December 16th, the first agency-wide plan in over 20 years. The plan includes four objectives: advance opportunities in biomedical research; foster innovation; enhance scientific stewardship; and manage for results by developing the “science of science.” The plan ends the practice of specifically setting aside 10% of the budget for AIDS research. (Sources: Science Insider, NIH)

Weekly news digests do not imply endorsement of any political positions, and are not intended to be comprehensive.