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House FY 2016 CJS Bill: Preliminary Analysis

On May 13, a draft of the fiscal year (FY) 2016 House Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (CJS) Appropriations Bill was publicly released in anticipation of the CJS Subcommittee markup scheduled for Thursday, May 14.  This is the bill that provides annual appropriations to the National Science Foundation (NSF), Census Bureau and other statistical agencies, and the National Institute of Justice (NIJ). [It should not be confused with the NSF reauthorization (COMPETES) bill that we have also been reporting on in recent weeks.] Outlined below are preliminary details on the contents of the draft bill as it pertains to…

Anti-Science COMPETES Bill Heads to House Floor

On April 23, the House Science, Space and Technology Committee passed along party lines (19 Republicans to 16 Democrats) the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2015 (H.R. 1806).  According to Committee Chairman and sponsor of the legislation Lamar Smith (R-TX), H.R. 1806 is a “pro-science and fiscally responsible bill.”  It prioritizes basic research at the National Science Foundation (NSF), Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science, and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), while keeping funding levels within Congressionally-set discretionary spending limits.  For NSF, the bill would increase funding for the Biological Sciences (BIO), Engineering (ENG), Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS), and Computer…

House COMPETES Bill Targets Social Science

On April 15, House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith introduced the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2015 (H.R. 1806). This is legislation to reauthorize the National Science Foundation (NSF). The bill is scheduled for a markup by the full House Science, Space, and Technology Committee on Wednesday, April 22. While there are some noticeable changes from the bill that the scientific community rallied against last year (known as the FIRST Act), the new bill, authored by Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, continues to challenge the value of social and behavioral science research and restricts NSF’s ability to drive its own research agenda.  COSSA strongly opposes…

COSSA Remembers Janet Norwood

The social science and statistical communities lost a friend on March 27, Janet L. Norwood. Norwood was a former Commissioner of Labor Statistics (1979-1991), having served Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan during her 13 year tenure. As one of few women serving in the Bureau of Labor Statistics at the time and the first to lead the agency, Norwood was an inspiration and mentor to many professional women in Washington. She served as COSSA President from 2001-2002. In addition to her service to COSSA, Norwood also held advisory and leadership positions with the American Statistical Association, NORC at the…

Summaries Available from COSSA Annual Meeting

Thank you to all who attended the 2015 COSSA Annual Meeting in Washington, DC on March 9-10.  Summaries and presentations from several of the sessions are available on the Annual Meeting webpage.  Speakers included France Cordova, Director of the National Science Foundation, William Riley, Acting Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research, among others. Back to this issue’s table of contents.

COSSA Annual Meeting and Advocacy Day Attracts Over 100

More than 100 social and behavioral scientists from across the country attended the 2015 COSSA Annual Meeting and related events on March 9-10. This week’s meeting featured a new format for the annual event, which included moving of the meeting from the fall when it had historically been held, to the spring in order to align with Congressional calendar. As part of the meeting on March 10, more than 60 COSSA members descended on Capitol Hill for the first-ever Social and Behavioral Science Advocacy Day. Advocates met with 84 different offices in the House and Senate to discuss the value…

COSSA Annual Meeting & Advocacy Day, March 9-10 – Still Time to Register!

The 2015 COSSA Annual Meeting and Social and Behavioral Science Advocacy Day is fast approaching. Join us on March 9-10, 2015 in Washington, DC for a day of discussion on federal issues impacting social and behavioral science research. The preliminary program is available here. Visit the COSSA Annual Meeting page for full details.

COSSA’s Analysis for the President’s FY 2016 Budget Request

President Obama released his fiscal year (FY) 2016 budget request to Congress on February 2, officially kicking off the FY 2016 appropriations process. COSSA has released its analysis of the President’s budget request. The 62-page report provides funding details for all federal departments, agencies, and programs important to social and behavioral science research. It outlines the President’s funding proposals as they compare to current (FY 2015) levels. In addition, the document serves as a helpful catalog of social science programs and initiatives across the federal government.   Back to this issue’s table of contents.

COSSA Annual Meeting & Advocacy Day, March 9-10 – Register Today!

Registration remains open for the 2015 COSSA Annual Meeting and Social and Behavioral Science Advocacy Day scheduled for March 9-10, 2015 in Washington, DC. The meeting is open to the public; however, the advocacy day meetings are reserved for representatives of COSSA member organizations and institutions. The COSSA Annual Meeting brings together representatives from throughout the social and behavioral science community for a day of discussion on federal issues impacting social and behavioral science research. It provides an opportunity for COSSA members and others to engage directly with leaders of federal science agencies, Congressional staff, and colleagues from other associations and institutions.

Congressional Committees Take Shape

Congressional committees with oversight for funding and policy issues impacting social and behavioral science have continued to take shape over the last few weeks. The 114th Congress was sworn in on January 6, though not all of the committees have officially chosen their chairs and ranking members. A number of committee organizational meetings are occurring this week, at which time the membership rolls and leadership appointments will be approved. You can stay apprised of the most current committee leadership appointments here. Back to this issue’s table of contents.

COSSA Annual Meeting & Advocacy Day, March 9-10 – Registration now open

Registration is now open for the 2015 COSSA Annual Meeting and Social and Behavioral Science Advocacy Day scheduled for March 9-10, 2015 in Washington, DC. The meeting is open to the public; however, the advocacy day meetings are reserved for representatives of COSSA member organizations and institutions. The COSSA Annual Meeting brings together representatives from throughout the social and behavioral science community for a day of discussion on federal issues impacting social and behavioral science research. It provides an opportunity for COSSA members and others to engage directly with leaders of federal science agencies, Congressional staff, and colleagues from other associations and…

NIH Discontinues the National Children’s Study

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has decided to discontinue the National Children’s Study (NCS). At the December 12 meeting of the NIH Advisory Committee to the Director (ACD), a working group charged by NIH director Francis Collins to evaluate whether the NCS “as currently outlined is feasible, especially in light of increasing and significant budget constraints,” concluded that the NCS as currently designed is not. The working group further recommended “that the NIH champion and support new study designs, informed by advances in technology and basic and applied research, that could make the original goals of the NCS more…

SAVE THE DATE: COSSA Annual Meeting & Advocacy Day

The COSSA Annual Meeting and inaugural Social and Behavioral Science Advocacy Day will be held in Washington, DC on March 9-10, 2015. The meeting will feature presentations from federal agency leaders and other officials and will provide an excellent opportunity to network with others from throughout the social and behavioral science research community. New in 2015 will be the first-ever Social and Behavioral Science Advocacy Day in which COSSA members will have an opportunity to educate their elected officials about the value of social and behavioral science research and the importance of federal funding. Additional details, including registration information, will…

More Questions than Answers Following Midterm Elections

Following last week’s midterm Congressional elections, Republicans have gained control of both chambers of Congress when the 114th Congress is seated in January. Congress returned last week for the start of a month and a half-long lame duck session. On their plate includes must-pass legislation such as the fiscal year (FY) 2015 appropriations bills and defense authorization bill. However, with the party calculus significantly changed starting next year, action on spending bills and other legislative issues in the lame duck will be all but easy. See the articles that follow for more information.

Outcome of Midterm Elections May Not Offer Clarity over FY 2015 Endgame

The remaining weeks of 2014 could see an effort to pass a sweeping omnibus appropriations bill for fiscal year (FY) 2015, should the Republicans gain control of the Senate after the midterm Congressional elections tomorrow. Even though the Democrats would still control the Senate until January, Republican leaders have stated that under such a scenario they would work during the lame duck session to pass an omnibus, allowing the 114th Congress to start in January with a clean slate. However, such a feat has proven impossible in recent history. For example, the FY 2014 appropriations process was not completed until…

NSF: RAPID Proposals Sought to Address Ebola Crisis

The National Science Foundation has issued a Dear Colleague Letter requesting research proposals “to conduct non-medical, non-clinical care research that can be used immediately to better understand how to model and understand the spread of Ebola, educate about prophylactic behaviors, and encourage the development of products, processes, and learning that can address this global challenge.” NSF’s Rapid Response Research (RAPID) funding mechanism will be used to fund the proposals. Back to this issue’s table of contents.

Congresswoman Johnson Defends NSF’s Merit Review Process

Last week, Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Ranking Member of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, released a letter penned to Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) expressing concern over the chairman’s ongoing “investigation” into the merit review process at the National Science Foundation (NSF) and criticism of individual grants funded by NSF. Her letter comes as Chairman Smith has issued a third request in 18 months for NSF to provide the Committee with confidential, pre-decisional merit review documents for 30 additional grants; Smith has previously asked for documentation on a group of five grants and a second group…

AAA&S Restoring the Foundation Report Calls for Increased Federal Investment in Research

On September 16, the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, a COSSA member, released a new report, Restoring the Foundation: The Vital Role of Research in Preserving the American Dream. The report makes the case that America’s economic successes in the twentieth century have largely been due to our investments in scientific research and that failure to maintain sustainable funding for research “could threaten the very principles—opportunity, social mobility, innovation—that have inspired our nation for the past century.”

DOD: 2015 Minerva Funding Opportunity Released

The Office of the Secretary of Defense within the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) has issued the Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) for the 2015 Minerva Research Initiative. Established in 2008, Minerva is DOD’s signature social science research program that seeks to “improve DOD’s basic understanding of the social, cultural, behavioral, and political forces that shape regions of the world of strategic importance to the U.S.” It awards grants to university investigators and teams and funding is derived from the Office of Naval Research (ONR), Army Research Office (ARO) and Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR). Proposals are sought across…

Congress Returns this Week for Short, Packed Work Period

The House and Senate return to Washington this week from their month-long August recess. They have only a couple of weeks to address a number of major policy issues, such as immigration, the child migrant crisis on the border, and ongoing foreign conflicts, before both chambers adjourn again until after the November midterm elections. Among the to-dos in the coming weeks is consideration of a continuing resolution (CR) to keep the federal government operating into fiscal year (FY) 2015, which begins on October 1. The outcome of the elections weighs heavily on potential end-game strategies for the FY 2015 appropriations…

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