Volume 40 (2021)

University of Maryland to Host Workshop on University-Industry Partnerships in the Social Sciences

The University of Maryland and UIDP, with support from COSSA, the National Science Foundation, MITRE, and Optimal Solutions Group, will be hosting a two-part Workshop on University-Industry Partnerships in the Social Sciences. This workshop, which will convene a virtual session on October 14, 2021, and an in-person main event on April 20-21, 2022, aims to bring together a wide variety of experts from within academia, government, non-profits, and the private sector to consider the potential of cross-sector partnerships to advance social and behavioral science and to benefit society. Three topics of focus have been identified for the sessions: Using Mission-Oriented…

ASA Task Force Releases Report on Quality of 2020 Census State Totals

The Task Force on 2020 Census Quality Indicators convened by the American Statistical Association (ASA), a COSSA governing member, released its final report on September 14. That task force, chaired by former U.S. Chief Statistician Nancy Potok, was formed in September 2020 to assess the quality of data from the 2020 Census, given the challenges of conducting the census during the pandemic and concerns about political interference from the Trump Administration. The task force evaluated a set of 10 state-level “process statistics” relevant for evaluating the quality of census state-level totals used for apportionment and concluded that it found “no…

AERA to Host Annual Brown Lecture on Intersectionality and Education Equity

The American Educational Research Association (AERA), a COSSA governing member, will host its annual Brown Lecture in Education Research virtually on October 21 at 6:00 pm ET. The 2021 lecture is entitled “Still Climbing the Hill: Intersectional Reflections on Brown and Beyond” and will be delivered by Lori Patton Davis, professor of higher education and student affairs at Ohio State University, and an influential scholar on critical race theory and African Americans in higher education. The Annual Brown Lecture in Education Research commemorates the anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education and is designed to…

White House Outlines R&D Budget Priorities for FY 2023

The White House has published a memorandum on Research & Development Priorities for the fiscal year (FY) 2023 Budget, a document that lays out the Administration’s priorities for federal research agencies to consider when drafting their budget requests. This memo, which is traditionally released annually by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), is the first such memo released by the Biden Administration. It outlines five cross-cutting themes for agencies to consider for their budgets: pandemic readiness and prevention; tackling climate change; research and innovation in emerging technologies; innovation in…

COSSA Launches New Website

We’re pleased to share COSSA’s new website, which we’ve redesigned from the ground-up to put the information and resources you need right at your fingertips. In addition to a refreshed, cleaner look, the new site has tons of new features and functionality to make engaging with COSSA easier than ever, including: Better browsing for Washington Update articles, All our policy information in one place, Easy-to-use action center, Visual advocacy resource library, New hub for past COSSA trainings & briefings, and Homepage for Advocacy Day. You can explore the new features for yourself at www.cossa.org.

FROM THE ARCHIVES: Things Have Changed (September 24, 2001)

In celebration of COSSA’s 40th anniversary, we are diving into the decades of Washington Update archives to share articles from years past that resonate with today’s news. It is the morning after President Bush’s speech to the joint session of Congress, ten days after the terrorist attacks. Once again Washington, and indeed the world, is a changed place. The disputed presidential election and lingering doubts about the legitimacy of this presidency—gone. The switch of Jim Jeffords to give Democrats control of the U.S. Senate—ancient history. Concern about using the social security surplus to pay for government spending—evaporated. Partisan bickering over…

House Science Committee Approves NSF Spending in Reconciliation Package

On September 9, the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee met to pass a set of spending recommendations that allocate $45.5 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2022 spending as part of the House Democrats’ wide-reaching “Build Back Better” plan. The $3.5 trillion in total proposed spending (over 5-10 years) would be passed as part of the budget reconciliation process (which removes several procedural hurdles to passing such legislation) and would be in addition to regular FY 2022 appropriations (see COSSA’s analysis of the House’s FY 2022 appropriations bills here). The Science Committee’s recommendations would provide the National Science Foundation (NSF)…

White House Releases Pandemic Preparedness Plan

On September 3, the Biden Administration released a Pandemic Preparedness Plan that identifies five key areas of opportunity to protect the U.S. against future biological threats: (1) “Transforming our Medical Defenses, (2) Ensuring Situational Awareness, (3) Strengthening Public Health Systems, (4) Building Core Capabilities, and (5) Managing the Mission.”  The plan includes a total of $65.3 billion in increased funding over 7-10 years, some of which has already been requested as part of the budget reconciliation package currently under consideration in Congress. The full plan is available here.

NSF Awards “America’s Data Hub” Contract

The National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES) within the National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a contract to establish the America’s Data Hub Consortium, a network intended to “strengthen, support, and advance the NCSES mission by engaging in ground-breaking activities related to data access and sharing, infrastructure, and analysis across the broad landscape of the science and engineering enterprise.” The contract was awarded to Advanced Technology International, a nonprofit R&D collaboration firm. The Consortium’s primary objectives are to “Develop new ways of acquiring and linking data to yield valuable insights into critical issues Support cutting-edge data infrastructure Build…

DBASSE Launches Search for Next Executive Director

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) has launched a search for the next Executive Director of the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education (DBASSE). The next Executive Director will succeed Mary Ellen O’Connell upon her retirement. The DBASSE Executive Director is responsible for executing a modern vision that maximizes DBASSE’s impact in society by expanding the base of sponsors, growing funding and support for programs, enabling the division’s projects to maximize their potential for impact, and fostering innovation to meet changing sponsor needs.” Full details on the position and how to apply are available here.

OSTP Prepares Upcoming Research Security Guidance

On August 10, Dr. Eric Lander, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) announced the Biden Administration’s intent to develop guidance for federal agencies to implement research security provisions over the following 90 days. The guidance would provide clear rules for federal agencies to comply with the National Security Presidential Memorandum (NSPM-33), issued in the final days of the Trump Administration. Among other provisions, NSPM-33 recommends standard research security measures across federal research agencies and clarifies disclosure requirements of foreign support for federally-funded scientists (see previous COSSA coverage for more details). In addition, on August…

September Headlines to Feature Deep Dive with IES Director

COSSA members can sign up for the monthly Headlines webchat to catch up on the most important social and behavioral science news from the past month and answer your questions. Stick around for our deep dive discussion on the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), with IES Director Mark Schneider. Individuals employed by or affiliated with a COSSA member organization or university can register for the webchat here.

FROM THE ARCHIVES: House, Senate Agree to Kill Technology Office (July 31, 1995)

In celebration of COSSA’s 40th anniversary, we are diving into the decades of Washington Update archives to share articles from years past that resonate with today’s news. A House-Senate conference committee on the Legislative Branch Appropriations bill has agreed to kill the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA). The House had voted to move OT A’s functions to the Congressional Research Service and provided $15 million of Library of Congress appropriations for that purpose. OT A’s budget in FY 1995 was $22 million. An attempt by Sen. Ernest Hollings (D-SC) to save the Office during Senate consideration of the appropriations bill…

OSTP and NSF Request Input on National Resource for Artificial Intelligence Research

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) have issued a request for information (RFI) developing an implementation roadmap for a shared artificial intelligence (AI) research infrastructure. The RFI was issued through the National Artificial Intelligence Research Resource Task Force, which was directed by Congress to establish a “shared research infrastructure that would provide Artificial Intelligence (AI) researchers and students across scientific disciplines with access to computational resources, high-quality data, educational tools, and user support.” More information about the RFI is available in the Federal Register notice. Comments are due by October…

Census Nominee Receives Committee Approval as Delayed 2020 Data Released

On August 4, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs voted (10-4) to advance the nomination of Dr. Robert Santos to lead the Census Bureau (see previous coverage). Santos now moves to consideration by the full Senate, but the timing of a vote to confirm him remains unclear. Ron Jarmin remains Acting Director of the Census Bureau. The Census Bureau released redistricting data from the 2020 Census on August 14, the second major data release from the decennial census. Compared with the previously released apportionment data, the redistricting data paints a much more detailed geographic and demographic picture…

National Academies Seeking Director for the Board on Behavioral, Cognitive, and Sensory Sciences

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) announced a position opening for the Board Director of the Board on Behavioral, Cognitive, and Sensory Sciences (BBCSS). The Director is responsible for leading the cross-disciplinary body supporting programs, sponsorships, employee development within the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education (DBASSE). More information is available on the NASEM website.

NSF Seeks Candidates for SBE Leadership Positions

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has initiated a national search for its next Assistant Director for the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (SBE) Directorate. Dr. Arthur Lupia has served in this position since 2018. The Assistant Director for SBE oversees the directorate, which includes the Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences, the Division of Social and Economic Sciences, the SBE Office of Multidisciplinary Activities, and the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics. The search committee will be led by Robert Groves, Executive Vice President and Provost at Georgetown University, and is seeking candidates with outstanding leadership capabilities; a deep…

“Why Social Science” Can Help Plan for Returning to In-Person Work

The latest Why Social Science? post comes from Sunita Sah, of the University of Cambridge, who writes about how understanding anxiety and decision-making can help organizations plan for returning to the office while minimizing their employees’ anxiety. Read it here and subscribe.

FROM THE ARCHIVES: NSF Creates New Education and Human Resources Directorate (June 1, 1990)

In celebration of COSSA’s 40th anniversary, we are diving into the decades of Washington Update archives to share articles from years past that resonate with today’s news. Throughout his tenure as director of the National Science Foundation (NSF), Erich Bloch has touted “education and human resources” as a major justification for increasing NSF funding. Now, with two months to go in office, Bloch has decided to reorganize the foundation’s science and engineering education efforts by creating a new Education and Human Resources Directorate (EHR). The new directorate will be headed by current NSF Senior Science Advisor Luther Williams. The old…

House Passes Funding Bills for Labor-HHS-Education, Agriculture

On July 29, the House of Representatives passed a six-bill package of spending legislation for the next fiscal year (FY), FY 2022. The package (H.R. 4502) included both the Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS), and Education and Agriculture appropriations bills (see COSSA’s analysis). As it breaks for August recess, the House has passed nine of its 13 annual spending bills. Among the bills left to pass are the Commerce, Justice, Science appropriations bill (which funds the National Science Foundation) and the Department of Defense appropriations bill. The Senate Appropriations Committee, meanwhile, has started marking up its bills this week….


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