Executive Branch News

NIH Seeks Next Director of the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is seeking applications for the position of director of the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR). The OBSSR director provides advice and staff support to the NIH Director and the director of the Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives Associate (DPCPSI). A dual reporting position, the OBSSR director also functions as the NIH Associate Director for Behavioral and Social Sciences Research, serving in a trans-NIH capacity as the NIH focal point for establishing agency-wide policies and goals in behavioral and social sciences research, including coordinating the activities undertaken in the performance of…

NIH Seeks Next Director of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is searching for the next director of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities. The director provides leadership and direction to the Institute and advises the NIH Director and institute and center (IC) directors on the development of NIH-wide policy issues related to minority health disparities research, research on other health disparities, and related research training and serves as principal liaison with other agencies of the Department of Health and Human Services and federal government.

The CTSA Program at NIH: The NCATS Advisory Council Working Group Response to the IOM Report

Earlier this summer, the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) Working Group on the IOM (Institute of Medicine) released its report, The CTSA [Clinical and Translational Science Awards] Program at NIH. The report is the Working Group’s response to the recommendations in an IOM report regarding the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) CTSA Program. The response included the Working Group’s acknowledgement that the CTSA program is key to the goal of “accelerating the process of transforming discovery into application and to increase the rate of adoption.” The CTSA program supports a national consortium of medical research institutes working together…

William Sabol Named Acting NIJ Director

National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Acting Director Gregory K. Ridgeway left the agency on July 31 for the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Criminology. William Sabol, acting director of the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), was named this month to also serve as acting NIJ director until a permanent director is named by President Obama. You can learn more about the NIJ directorship here. Back to this issue’s table of contents.

ERS Presents on Local Impacts of Oil and Natural Gas Production

Although the expansion in production of shale-derived natural gas over the past decade or so has reshaped the U.S. energy landscape, until recently, the primary source of data on oil and natural gas production stopped at the state level. For researchers interested in the impacts of these shifts in energy production at the local level, this left the picture murky. However, a data set released this spring by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Economic Research Service (ERS) provides more granular data: County-level Oil and Gas Production in the U.S.Jeremy Weber, a research economist in ERS’ Resource and Rural Economics…

Cora Marrett to Leave NSF

Earlier this month, the National Science Foundation (NSF) announced that Cora B. Marrett, NSF Deputy Director, will resign her position effective August 24. Marrett was confirmed as Deputy Director in 2011 and has served previously as NSF’s acting director. More notably for the COSSA community, Marrett served as the first assistant director for the Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences Directorate, and is a former assistant director of the Education and Human Resources Directorate. She is a major voice for social and behavioral science, within NSF and publicly, and has been a familiar face at COSSA events over the years. Congresswoman…

NIGMS Request for Information: Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award

The National Institute of General Medical Science (NIGMS) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently issued a time-sensitive Request for Information (RFI) for input to assist in its planning for a potential new program tentatively called the Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA). According to NIGMS, MIRA is intended to be a grant in support of all of the research supported by the institute in an investigator’s laboratory. The Institute is planning to issue a Funding Opportunity Announcement to test the new program on a pilot scale. Accordingly, it is seeking feedback from the scientific community.

NIH Issues Challenge to Find Advances Tied to NIGMS Support

The National Institute of General Medical Science (NIGMS) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is seeking the public’s help in capturing the Institute’s progress toward its strategic goal: “to advance awareness and understanding of the basic biomedical research enterprise, including its value, requirements, and potential impact.” The Institute has issued a challenge to the scientific community with the goal of identifying past advances that are serving (or have served) to improve human health and well-being. It excludes ongoing studies that may, in the future, have a major impact. NIGMS intends to use the examples to help inform the historical context…

SMRB Discusses Pre-College Engagement in Biomedical Science; NIH Director Reflects on Impact of the Sequester

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Scientific Management Review Board (SMRB) held a two-day meeting on July 7-8, 2014. The SMRB was authorized by the NIH Reform Act of 2006. The statute provides certain organizational authorities to the Department of Health and Human Services and NIH on which the SMRB provides advice. The meeting’s agenda included reflections from NIH director Francis Collins, and a full day discussion of pre-college engagement in biomedical science led by the SMRB Working Group on Pre-college Engagement in Biomedical Science (PEBS).

Rising Mortality Rates in Women in the U.S.: Role of Drug Abuse and Addiction

National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) director Nora Volkow recently discussed the role of substance abuse in the “Rising Mortality Rates in Women in the U.S.,” the subject of a July 15 Women’s Policy, Inc.- sponsored congressional briefing. Susan Dentzer, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), moderated the session. According to Dentzer, the briefing was designed to address the data in the 2013 National Research Council (NRC) and Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, U.S. Health in International Perspective: Shorter Lives, Poorer Health (see Update, October 7, 2013), also the subject of an earlier congressional briefing sponsored by the Coalition for the…

National Humanities Council Meets as NEH Faces Budget Uncertainty, New Chairman

The National Council on the Humanities, the advisory body to the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), met on July 10 and 11. The meeting was presided over by NEH’s Acting Chairman Carole Watson, who has been leading the agency since Jim Leach left in May. Watson observed that it has been a time of change for NEH, which recently relocated from its home of more than 30 years in the Old Post Office Building to new offices in Constitution Center. In addition, President Obama’s nominee to lead the agency, William “Bro” Adams, former president of Colby College, had recently…

NCHS Releases Data on Weight Misperception in Children, Sexual Orientation-Based Health Disparities

A recent National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) data brief looks at children’s (8-15 years old) misperception of their weight status. When asked if they felt they were too thin, overweight, or about right, 30 percent of children’s responses did not match their weight status. This misperception was more common among boys (32.2 percent) than girls (28 percent). Seventy-six percent of overweight children and 41.9 percent of obese children described themselves as “about right.” Nearly half (48.5 percent) of underweight children also described themselves as “about right.” More than 12 percent of healthy weight children (over 2 million) believed themselves…

Interagency Statistical Forum Publishes Special Report on Young Adults

The Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics has published a report, America’s Young Adults: Special Issue, 2014, that pulls data from nationally representative federal surveys on the demographics; education; economic circumstances; family formation; civic, social, and personal behavior; and health and safety of adults aged 18-24. A press release about the report notes: “American young adults are more racially and ethnically diverse, more likely to graduate from high school, and attend college, and less likely to smoke than previous generations… However, the young adults have more student debt than generations past, earn less than their counterparts in the…

Nominations Sought for 2015 Vannevar Bush and Public Service Awards

The National Science Board (NSB), the policy-making body of the National Science Foundation (NSF) that also advises the President on science policy, has issued a solicitation of nominations for its 2015 honorary awards. The NSB honors outstanding research leaders annually through its Vannevar Bush Award and Public Service Award. Nominations for the 2015 awards are due by October 1, 2014.

FDA Seeks Comments on its Strategic Priorities, 2014-2018

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is charged with “protecting the public health by ensuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, and medical devices; ensuring the safety of foods, cosmetics, and radiation-emitting products; and regulating tobacco products.” Every four years, the FDA updates its Strategic Priorities document, which outlines the agency’s strategic intentions and plans for the years ahead. The agency is currently seeking comments to help it refine its Strategic Priorities FY 2014-2018.

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