Focus on AI and quantum technologies in the US draft budget for FY 2021

The US White House has released its proposal for the country’s budget for the 2021 fiscal year (FY); the proposal includes significant increases in funding for research and development focused on quantum information sciences and non-defense artificial intelligence (AI). The National Science Foundation (NSF) would see more than US$820 million (a 70% increase over the FY 2020 budget) allocated to AI-related grants and interdisciplinary research. Other federal agencies that would benefit from substantial funding for AI include the Department of Energy’s (DoE’s) Office of Science (US$125 million), the Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural and Food Research Initiative (US$100 million to enhance the application of AI and other advanced technologies in agricultural systems), and the National Institute of Health (US$50 million for using AI to research chronic diseases). Research on quantum information sciences would be supported through funds allocated to the NSF (over US$120 million, double than in FY 2020 budget) and the DoE’s Office of Science (US$237 million). The proposed budget will be discussed in the US Congress, which has the final say and is likely to introduce changes.