Issue 24 (December 8)
The American Educational Research Association (AERA), a COSSA governing member, and the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) are partnering on a forum on the research needs and implications of the 2019 Academies’ report Monitoring Educational Equity.
The forum will feature experts who served on the National Academies panel that produced the report and explore a select set of the 16 indicators proposed in the report, including exposure to racial, ethnic, and economic segregation; non-exclusionary disciplinary policies; access to non-academic support for students; and access to high-quality academic supports. The forum will take place on December 15, 2020 from 3:30-5:00 PM EST. More information registering and list of speakers is available here.
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has released a request for information (RFI) seeking input from stakeholders on the prevention of suicide among Black children and adolescents. The RFI seeks information on approaches to understanding suicide risk among Black youth, research needed to expand evidence-based prevention programs and services, and input on additional topics that may be relevant to preventing Black youth suicide. This request follows up on the recommendations included in a 2019 report from the Congressional Black Caucus examining ways to address Black youth suicide and mental health.
Comments will be accepted through January 15, 2021. More information is available on the NIH website.
On November 24, the White House announced nominations and appointments for several key federal positions including the final two appointments filling out the National Science Board (NSB), the advisory body for the National Science Foundation (NSF). These appointments mark the first time since May that the NSB has had all seats filled and will be the last opportunity for the Trump White House to submit appointments to the NSB before the Presidential transition. The two NSB appointees are:
- Matthew Malkan, Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of California, Los Angeles
- Scott Stanley, Vice President of Technology and Co-Founder of aerospace engineering firm Techno Planet
The next meeting of the NSB is December 9-10. More information and the meeting agenda are available on the NSB website.
With time running out before the current continuing resolution (CR) funding the government expires on December 11, Congressional leaders are still working to negotiate a final deal for an omnibus spending package to fully fund the government for the remainder of fiscal year (FY) 2021. Reportedly, appropriators have reached an agreement on the top-line funding levels for the various appropriations bills (see COSSA’s analyses of the House and Senate proposals). The main obstacle appears to disagreement be on the size and composition of an additional COVID-19 relief funding package, which would be attached to one of the appropriations bills to ensure passage. Although appropriators have reaffirmed their commitments to the December 11 deadline, they may pass an additional CR to give themselves additional time to wrap up spending. However, time before the end of the session is running out, particularly if Members hope to set aside time to quarantine ahead of returning home to their families for the Christmas holiday.
In the meantime, House Democrats have named leaders of several key committees important to the social sciences. The House majority selected Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) to take the helm of the House Appropriations Committee, replacing Nita Lowey (D-NY), who is retiring at the end of this year. Rep. DeLauro is a senior appropriator and current chair of Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS). During her tenure on the Labor-HHS subcommittee, DeLauro has been a big supporter of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and health research. In addition, Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), a longtime champion of the social sciences, was unanimously re-elected to serve as Chair of the House Science, Space, and Technology Subcommittee, which oversees the National Science Foundation. Control of the Senate still depends on the results of the upcoming Georgia runoff elections. COSSA will continue to report on additional Committee appointments important to the social sciences as they are announced.
COSSA members are invited to register for the monthly Headlines webchat on Thursday, December 10 at 2:00 pm Eastern Time. The COSSA team will break down the most important social and behavioral science news from the past month, followed by a deep dive discussion on the social science policy landscape facing the new Congress and the Biden Administration next year. Individuals employed by or affiliated with a COSSA member organization or university can register for the webchat here.
NSF Invites Proposals for New SBE-Led Initiatives on Strengthening Infrastructure, Broadening Participation in Entrepreneurship, and Enhancing Social Science Capacity at Minority-Serving Institutions
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has released a pair of Dear Colleague Letters (DCL) soliciting applications from the research community on two new crosscutting initiatives led by the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences Directorate (SBE). The first letter, Strengthening American Infrastructure (SAI), signed by the Assistant Directors of all seven research directorates and the head of the Office of Integrative Activities, seeks Early Concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER) proposals that “incorporate scientific insights about human behavior and social dynamics to better develop, design, build, rehabilitate, and maintain strong and effective American infrastructure” (which can include cyber, economic, educational, physical, and social). According to the DCL, “NSF is particularly interested in proposals that integrate a deep understanding of human cognition, perception, information processing, decision making, social and cultural behavior, legal frameworks, governmental structures, and related areas into the design, development, and sustainability of infrastructure.” The deadline for EAGER concept outline proposals is December 11. More information is available in the Dear Colleague Letter.
The second announcement invites proposals on “identifying contextual factors and mitigation strategies to enhance participation and success of various populations in STEM entrepreneurship and innovation.” This effort, Broadening Participation in STEM Entrepreneurship and Innovation (BPINNOVATE), falls within SBE’s Science of Science program but receives support from the Education and Human Resources (EHR), Engineering (ENG), and Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) Directorates, as well as the NSF Office of Integrative Activities. In addition, other NSF programs will also support opportunities for research on this topic, including the NSF Innovation Corps (NSF I-Corps), the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Undergraduate Program (HBCU-UP), the Improving Undergraduate STEM Education: Hispanic Serving Institutions Program (HSI), and the Tribal Colleges and Universities Program (TCUP) programs. Proposals through the Science of Science program are due by February 9, 2021. More information is available in the Dear Colleague Letter.
SBE has also announced a new program, Build and Broaden 2.0: Enhancing Social, Behavioral and Economic Science Research and Capacity at Minority-Serving Institutions (B2 2.0). This program is part of SBE’s efforts to broaden participation of underrepresented groups in SBE programs by encouraging research collaborations between minority institutions and other research institutions. The new DCL follows on the original Build and Broaden solicitation that came out earlier this year but, because of COVID, was limited to workshop/conference proposals. The solicitation is expected to be posted shortly in the coming days at this link. Proposals are due by March 5, 2021.
In addition to these new efforts, SBE’s Human Networks and Data Science (HNDS) program, which was formerly the Resource Implementations for Data Intensive Research in the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (RIDIR) program, has released its second annual solicitation under its new name. The revised program now includes two tracks: HNDS-Infrastructure (formerly RIDIR) and HNDS-Core Research. Details on the new research component are available in the solicitation. Proposals are due by February 4, 2021.