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Although the Obama administration has promoted its proposed $3.8 trillion federal budget for fiscal year (FY) 2011 as one that works toward reining in budget deficits and living within the nation's means, research is among the areas slated for increases. The National Science Foundation (NSF) would receive $7.42 billion, an 8% increase above the FY 2010 enacted level of $6.87 billion, which pleases NSF administrators. This proposal would keep the agency on track for doubling its budget between about 2007 and 2017.

“The president sees science as a way to build our economy. It's a way to make the nation strong in the future. It's a way of bringing change in society, and in addressing some of the global challenges that we are facing,” NSF director Arden Bement Jr. explained at a 1 February briefing. Bement, who has been at the helm of the agency for more than 6 years, announced in early February that he is leaving later this year to head up the Global Policy Research Institute at Purdue University.