COSSA is a nonprofit advocacy organization working to promote sustainable federal funding for and widespread use of social and behavioral science research as well as federal policies that positively impact the conduct of research. COSSA serves as a united voice for a broad, diverse network of organizations, institutions, communities, and stakeholders who care about a successful and vibrant social science research enterprise. The COSSA membership includes professional and disciplinary associations, scientific societies, research centers and institutes, and U.S. colleges and universities. Our team of lobbyists and policy experts represent the interests of the social and behavioral science research community before the United States Congress and Executive Branch agencies. In addition, we produce resources to assist social science researchers, faculty, students, administrators, stakeholders, and other enthusiasts in their own outreach efforts to communicate the value of social and behavioral science research to decision-makers.
Click here to learn about COSSA membership dues.
To inquire about joining COSSA, contact the Executive Director.
Why Join COSSA?
As the political and financial challenges surrounding funding for social and behavioral science research continue and intensify, organizations like COSSA—and the participation of its members—provide a much-needed first line of defense. We have been successful in combating challenges over the years in large part because the COSSA community has worked together. In addition, COSSA membership provides necessary visibility for social and behavioral science research within institutions and organizations large and small. Whether you are a small association or a large university system, the COSSA partnership enables diverse organizations to speak with one voice toward a common goal—to preserve and protect the undeniable place of social and behavioral science research in creating a safer, healthier, and more prosperous world. Read our Annual Reports for details on recent activities and achievements.
As a COSSA member, your organization—and any staff, members, faculty, students, or administrators affiliated with it—will receive several members-only resources as well as early access to our publicly-available materials.
- Timely, In-depth Analysis & Policy Expertise. COSSA serves as a reliable resource for in-depth analysis of legislation, proposed regulations, and other policy developments impacting social and behavioral science research. The team of policy experts boil down often-complicated topics into easy-to-digest briefs, articulating how the issue specifically impacts the social and behavioral science community. COSSA’s Policy page is a rich source for statements, funding analysis, testimony, and other resources. In addition, COSSA’s experts are on hand to answer questions or provide formal presentations to audiences of all sizes on the policy landscape, recent developments, and future outlook.
- Annual University Social Science Rankings. COSSA’s annual College and University Rankings for Federal Social and Behavioral Science R&D highlight the top university recipients of federal research dollars in the social and behavioral sciences. The rankings are often picked up by university press offices and other media outlets. Based on federally collected data, the COSSA rankings use an inclusive selection of fields to calculate the total federal R&D funding received by universities in the social and behavioral sciences.
- Social Science Advocacy Day. Each spring, COSSA members from across the country are invited to come to Washington for Social Science Advocacy Day. Members who volunteer to participate meet with their Congressional delegations to discuss the value of social science research and the importance of federal funding support. Members are provided all necessary materials, including handouts and talking points, and also receive hands-on advocacy training. This is the only coordinated cross-disciplinary advocacy day in support of social and behavioral science research.
- COSSA Headlines. Headlines is a monthly webchat exclusively for COSSA members to learn about the latest policy and funding developments impacting social science research. The COSSA team, joined by periodic special guests, take you behind the headlines and explain what you need to know. Headlines is an interactive space where COSSA members get the policy-related information they need when they need it.
- Advocacy Training. The COSSA team offers advocacy and policy training to interested members at no additional cost (travel expenses may be an exception). COSSA’s policy experts design an event to fit the needs of the organization, from 1-hour virtual webinars to half-day or longer in-person workshops. Members work with the team to develop a program that best meets an institution’s goals.
- Grassroots Action Alerts. COSSA issues alerts to members when action is needed on a federal policy issue. Our alert platform allows members to easily write to their elected officials in Congress and tailor the communication to highlight their own expertise and local impacts. COSSA members receive background information and talking points to help them craft their message to lawmakers. Check out COSSA’s TAKE ACTION page at www.cossa.org/advocacy/take-action.
- COSSA Washington Update. COSSA’s most recognizable public resource is its biweekly newsletter, the COSSA Washington Update. A staple deliverable since COSSA’s earliest days, Update provides members and the public with comprehensive, timely analysis of policy developments impacting social and behavioral science research.
- Fact Sheets, One Pagers, and Advocacy Resources. The COSSA website houses lots of resources for members wishing to engage in advocacy, including the COSSA Advocacy Handbook, funding- and policy-related talking points, and policy briefs on a variety of topics. COSSA’s state funding fact sheets use federally collected data to show how much federal social and behavioral science research funding is awarded to each state annually.
- Why Social Science? COSSA’s Why Social Science? initiative features regular blog posts from guest contributors. Why Social Science? aims to offer insights about the value of the social sciences to our everyday lives. Past pieces have highlighted the breadth of the social and behavioral sciences and the reach of our sciences in tackling a diversity of issues, from national security, to natural disasters, to the use of data for improving public services.