Interesting testimony by NSF Director France Cordova to Congress last week: *The President's Fiscal Year 2017 Budget Request for the National Science Foundation http://www.nsf.gov/about/congress/114/fc_fy17budgetnsf_hscience_160322.jsp*. NSF's FY 2017 Budget Request includes two areas of major emphasis: Clean Energy R&D and strengthening support for core activities, with a special focus on support for early career investigators…New one-year mandatory funding totaling $400 million will support the fundamental, curiosity-driven research that is NSF's principal contribution to the Nation's science and technology enterprise. In particular, *this funding will support more scientists and engineers at the early stages of their careers* -- who bring particular expertise in data- and computationally-intensive activities -- to quicken the pace of discovery and advance the leading edge of research and education. This *funding will allow for an estimated 800 additional research grants to be made from a pool of highly-rated proposals that would otherwise be declined for lack of funding*. This additional funding would bring NSF's FY 2017 funding rate to an estimated 23 percent.
Of course, this is all just a request at this point. We will have to wait to see how Congress responds.