Emerging Technology

CHIPS and Science Funding Update: FY 2023 Omnibus, FY 2024 Budget Both Short by Billions

05.12.23 | 12 min read | Text by Matt Hourihan

See PDF for more charts.

When Congress adopted the CHIPS and Science Act (P.L. 117-167) in 2022 on bipartisan votes, it was motivated by several concerns and policy goals. A major overarching theme is the global competition for technology and prominence in the knowledge economy, and the place of the United States in it. More broadly, Congress also sought to improve the ability of federal agencies to invest in R&D to create solutions for national challenges. To that end, the Act took a broad array of policy steps well beyond semiconductors: providing strategic focus for the federal technology enterprise, creating programs to invest in U.S. workers and regions, expanding the funding toolkit, and authorizing sizable boosts for R&D across the spectrum.

But neither the FY 2023 Consolidated Appropriations Act nor the Biden Administration’s FY 2024 budget request have managed to keep up with the agency funding commitments established in the act. FY 2023 omnibus funding was nearly $3 billion short of the authorized targets for the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The FY 2024 request for these agencies is over $5 billion short (see graph below).

This report provides a detailed breakdown of accounts and programs for these agencies and compares current funding levels against those authorized by CHIPS and Science. The report is intended to serve as a reference and resource for policymakers and advocates as the FY 2024 appropriations cycle unwinds.

Based on agency and legislative data and the FY 2024 budget. | Federation of American Scientists 

CHIPS and Science Background

As mentioned above and covered more fully below, CHIPS and Science took manifold steps to strengthen the U.S. science and technology enterprise. A conceptual throughline in the Act is the establishment of key technology focus areas and societal challenges defined in Section 10387, shown in the table below. While not the only priorities for the federal R&D enterprise, these focus areas provide a framework to guide certain investments, particularly those by the new NSF technology directorate.

These key technology areas are also relevant for long-term strategy development by the Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Science and Technology Council, as directed by CHIPS and Science. Several of the technology areas also appear on the Defense Department’s Critical Technologies list.

>> Key Technology Focus Areas >>
AI, machine learning, autonomy*Advanced communications and immersive technologies*
Advanced computing, software, semiconductors*Biotechnology*
Quantum information science*Data storage and management, distributed ledger, cybersecurity*
Robotics, automation, advanced manufacturingAdvanced energy technology, storage, industrial efficiency*
Natural / anthropogenic disaster prevention / mitigationAdvanced materials science*
* Also related to OUSD(R&E)-identified Defense Critical Technology Area
>> Societal / National / Geostrategic Challenges >>
U.S. national securityClimate change and sustainability
Manufacturing and industrial productivityInequitable access to education, opportunity, services
Workforce development and skills gaps
Adapted from H.R. 4346, Sec. 10387

While much of the focus has been on semiconductors, the activities covered in this report constitute the bulk of the “and Science” portion of CHIPS and Science. While a full index of all provisions is not the goal here, it’s worth remembering the sheer variety of activities authorized in CHIPS and Science, which cut across a few broad areas including:

Agency Fiscal Aggregates

In the aggregate, CHIPS authorized three research agencies – the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Energy Office of Science (DOE Science), and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) – to receive $22.4 billion in FY 2023. The final omnibus provided $19.6 billion in the aggregate, amounting to a $2.7 billion or 12% shortfall.


As seen in Table 1, the largest shortfall from the CHIPS authorization was NSF at $2 billion or 17% below the target. NIST’s appropriation actually surpassed the authorization by $103 million, but this figure includes $395 million in earmarks. Excluding earmarks, the NIST topline appropriation tallied to $1.3 billion, a $292 million or 19% shortfall below the authorization. Note the figures in Table 1 include $1.0 billion in supplemental appropriations for NSF – amounting to its entire year-over-year increase in FY 2023 – and $27 million in supplemental appropriations for NIST.

The White House requested an aggregate $21.7 billion for FY 2024: a $2.8 billion or 15% increase above FY 2023 omnibus levels (including earmarks and supplemental spending) but still $5.1 billion or 19% below the CHIPS and Science authorization in the aggregate. Again, NSF would be subject to the biggest miss below the authorized target.

Agency Breakdowns

National Science Foundation

NSF is at the core of the CHIPS and Science goals in manifold ways. It boasts a long-term track record of excellence in discovery science at U.S. universities and is the first or second federal funder of research in several tech-relevant science and engineering disciplines. It also seeks to boost the talent pipeline by engaging with underserved research institutions and student populations, supporting effective STEM education approaches, and providing fellowships and other opportunities to students and teachers.

CHIPS and Science also expanded NSF’s ability to drive technology, innovation, and advanced manufacturing, augmenting existing innovation programs like the Engineering Research Centers and the Convergence Accelerators with new activities like the Regional Innovation Engines.


As seen in Table 2, the FY 2023 appropriation for NSF – including $1.0 billion in supplemental spending – fell $2.0 billion or 17% below the CHIPS and Science target, while the FY 2024 request is $4.3 billion or 28% below the FY 2024 target. Additional details and comparisons between appropriations, authorizations, and the request follow.

Research & Related Activities (R&RA). R&RA is the primary research account for NSF, supporting grants, centers, instrumentation, data collection, and other activities across seven directorates including the new Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships (TIP) directorate. R&RA can likely absorb substantial additional funding: the agency must routinely leave thousands of high-scoring grant proposals on the table for lack of funding. For instance, in FY 2020 alone, NSF had to leave over 4,000 proposals ranked “Very Good” or better unfunded. These amounted to $3.9 billion in total unfulfilled award funding. A brief look at specific line items within the R&RA account are below.

STEM Education. The Directorate for STEM Education houses NSF activities across K-12, tertiary education, learning in informal settings, and outreach to underserved communities. CHIPS and Science authorized multiple individual programs including:

Cross-Cutting Investments in Key Technology Focus Areas. Several NSF investments are related to the key technology areas and societal challenges prioritized in CHIPS section 10387 mentioned above. A breakout of some of these is below, taken from the NSF budget justification. Funding for these research activities is spread across all NSF directorates.


Department of Energy Office of Science

The Office of Science (SC) is the largest funder of the physical sciences including chemistry, physics, and materials, all of which contribute to the technology priorities in CHIPS and Science. In addition to funding Nobel prizewinning basic research and large-scale science infrastructure, the Office also funds workforce development, use-inspired research, and user facilities that provide tools for tens of thousands of users each year, including hundreds of small and large businesses that use these services to drive breakthroughs. More than two thirds of SC-funded R&D is performed at national labs. SC also supports workforce development and educational activities for students and faculty to expand skills and experience.

Table 4: Office of Science CHIPS Authorizations and Funding

As seen in Table 4, the FY 2023 omnibus topline for SC was $802 million or 9% below the authorized amount, while the FY 2024 OMB request was $741 million or 8% below the FY 2024 authorization – and indeed even fell below the FY 2023 authorization, similar to NSF’s request. Most programs would see only moderate funding increases, with fusion clearly prioritized.

Office of Science: FY 2023 Omnibus vs. CHIPS Authorizations

Funding above or below authorizations in millions

Office of Science: FY 2024 Omnibus vs. CHIPS Authorizations

Funding above or below authorizations in millions

Cross-Cutting Investments in Key Technology Focus Areas. As with NSF, SC provides data on investments in crosscutting technology areas, some of which were prioritized in CHIPS and Science (Table 5). These investments involve multiple SC programs.

Table 5: Select SC Crosscutting Investments Related to CHIPS and Science Priorities

National Institute of Standards and Technology

While smaller than the other agencies covered here, NIST plays a critical role in the U.S. industrial ecosystem as the lead agency in measurement science and standards-setting, as well as funder of world-class physical science research and user facilities. NIST R&D activities cover several CHIPS And Science technology priorities including cybersecurity, advanced communications, AI, quantum science, and biotechnology. NIST also boasts a wide- ranging system of manufacturing extension centers in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, which help thousands of U.S. manufacturers grow and innovate every year. 

Table 6: NIST CHIPS and Science Authorizations and Funding

As seen in Table 6, the NIST topline in the FY 2023 omnibus was $103 million above the CHIPS-authorized level. However, as noted in the above section, NIST received $395 million in Congressionally directed spending or earmarks in FY 2023, mainly for construction projects. Excluding earmarks, the NIST topline amounted to $1.3 billion, a $292 million or 19% shortfall below the authorization. The FY 2024 request is $20 million below the FY 2024 authorized level, with shortfalls in NIST labs programs and industrial technology.

Scientific and Technical Research Services (STRS) is the account for NIST’s national measurement and standards laboratories, which pursue a wide variety of CHIPS and Science-relevant activities in cybersecurity, AI, quantum information science, advanced communications, engineering biology, resilient infrastructure, and other realms. STRS also funds two user facilities, the NIST Center for Neutron Research and the Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology. In addition to FY 2024 investments in climate resilient infrastructure, research instrumentation, and other topics, large CHIPS and Science-relevant program increases include: 

Industrial Technology Services is the overarching account funding the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) and the Manufacturing USA innovation network. As can be seen in Table 6, these programs collectively faced a much greater authorization shortfall than NIST lab programs in the FY 2023 omnibus, while the FY 2024 request goes to great lengths to increase their funding.


Future Updates

Federation of American Scientists will create an update to this report as the relevant FY 2024 appropriations bills move through the Congressional process.