national academies

Symposium Highlights New Social Science Research on COVID-19

On October 9, the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education (DBASSE) at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in collaboration with COSSA, the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences, the Federation Associations in Behavioral and Brain Sciences, and SAGE Publishing held a seminar on “Responding to COVID-19: Emerging Insights from Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences.” The event included brief presentations from social scientists engaged in research on the impacts of COVID-19 and breakout sessions that paired these scientists and other experts with policymakers engaged in responding to the pandemic. The first session, focused on education…

Sunshine Hillygus Delivers 2020 Henry and Bryna David Lecture on Young Voter Behavior

On October 5, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) featured Dr. Sunshine Hillygus as the 2020 Henry and Bryna David Lecturer. A political scientist from Duke University, Dr. Hillygus spoke on the participation of young voters in the United States and how current barriers and opportunities to mobilize young voters could shape the nature of U.S. elections. The Henry and Bryna David Lecture honors a leading innovator in the behavioral and social sciences who is invited to deliver the eponymous lecture and publish an article in Issues in Science and Technology magazine based on that lecture. A…

COSSA to Co-Host Symposium on “Responding to COVID-19: Emerging Insights from SBE Sciences”

COSSA is collaborating with the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education (DBASSE) at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences; the Federation of Associations in Behavioral and Brain Sciences; and SAGE Publishing to host a seminar bringing together policymakers and social science researchers working on pressing COVID-19 issues. The virtual event, “Responding to COVID-19: Emerging Insights from SBE Sciences” will take place on Friday, October 9 from 12:45-5:00 pm Eastern Time and will feature 3 public sessions highlighting emerging findings from policy-relevant social science research. More information on speakers…

National Academies Leaders Raise Concern about Politicization of Science

On September 24, the presidents of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) issued a joint statement expressing concern about reported political interference in science related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The statement by Dr. Marcia McNutt, NAS, and Dr. Victor Dzau, NAM, reads: “As advisers to the nation on all matters of science, medicine, and public health, we are compelled to underscore the value of science-based decision-making at all levels of government.  Our nation is at a critical time in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic with important decisions ahead of us, especially concerning…

NASEM Holds Webinar on Earning Trust in the Age of Pandemic

On September 16, the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) held a webinar on understanding how to build and trust in the scientific community and the development in a potential COVID-19 vaccine. The webinar featured a panel discussion and Q&A session featuring Professor of the History of Science and Professor of African and African American Studies at Harvard University Evelyn Hammonds, Professor of Comparative Media Studies and Writing and Director of the Graduate Program in Science Writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Seth Mnookin, and Senior Scholar at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security Monica…

Nominations Due Sept 17 for National Academies Committee on Accelerating Behavioral Science Through Ontology Development and Use

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine is launching a consensus study on Accelerating Behavioral Science Through Ontology Development and Use to inform the development of classification systems and knowledge structures across the behavioral sciences. The study, which is being sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the American Psychological Association, will “define the scope of ontology development for behavioral science research (BSR), summarize the state of behavioral ontology development and use in BSR, and identify compelling use cases as well as approaches, gaps and challenges that need to be addressed in order to…

National Academies Releases Consensus Study on Assessing Morbidity and Mortality After Disasters

The National Academies has published a new consensus study report: A Framework for Assessing Mortality and Morbidity after Large-Scale Disasters. The Congressionally-mandated study was sponsored by Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and was intended to identify ways to better understand the scope of death and injury caused by large-scale disasters (both natural and human-caused). Among the report’s recommendations are adopting a uniform framework across federal agencies for data collection and adopting methods that distinguish direct and indirect deaths resulting from disasters. While the study commenced prior to the pandemic, COVID-19 provided a case study illustrating the needs described in the…

National Academies Study on COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation Releases Discussion Draft, Seeks Feedback (Short Turnaround)

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) has released a discussion draft of a Preliminary Framework for Equitable Allocation of COVID-19 Vaccine, part of a fast-track study initiated over the summer (see previous coverage). The discussion draft, released September 1, aims to identify priorities to inform allocation of a limited initial supply of COVID-19 vaccine, taking into account factors such as racial/ethnic inequities and groups at higher risk due to health status, occupation, or living conditions. Feedback will be collected during a public listening session on September 2 as well as through a written comment period closing on…

SEAN Releases Guidance on Contact Tracing

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Societal Experts Action Network (SEAN) (see COSSA’s previous coverage) has released a new rapid expert consultation, Encouraging Participation and Cooperation in Contact Tracing. The guidance draws on survey research to provide federal, state, and local decision-makers, with evidence-based strategies to enhance contact tracing efforts, such as partnering with trusted sources, offering incentives, giving advance notice, tailoring messaging, and accepting partial information. The guidance is available on the National Academies website. Back to this issue’s table of contents.

SEAN Releases New Guidance on Protective Behaviors to Stem COVID-19

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Societal Experts Action Network (SEAN) (see COSSA’s previous coverage) has released a new rapid expert consultation, Encouraging Adoption of Protective Behaviors to Mitigate the Spread of COVID-19. The guidance, which draws on research from communication, social psychology, and behavioral economics as well as lessons learned from successful public health campaigns such as tobacco prevention and seatbelt use, offers a set of strategies to make adoption of preventive behaviors more likely as well as risk communication strategies. It is available both as a short infographic and as a more detailed report. Back to…

National Academies Launch Study on COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has launched a fast-track study to develop a framework for planning the equitable distribution of vaccines against COVID-19. The study, which is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is responsible for producing a consensus report that considers the following questions: “What criteria should be used in setting priorities for equitable allocation of vaccine? How should the criteria be applied in determining the first tier of vaccine recipients? As more vaccine becomes available, what populations should be added successively to the priority…

SEAN Releases Rapid Consultation on Evaluating Types of COVID-19 Data

The Societal Experts Action Network (SEAN), a collaboration between the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and the National Science Foundation (NSF) (see previous coverage), has released its first rapid expert consultation in response to COVID-19. The report, Evaluating Data Types: A Guide for Decision Makers using Data to Understand the Extent and Spread of COVID-19, is intended to assist leaders in understanding the spread of COVID-19 in their communities. It was released alongside an interactive tool to help policymakers explore the information in more detail. The consultation summarizes the benefits and drawbacks of seven specific COVID-19 measurements that…

National Academies Holds Webinar on COVID-19 and Extreme Environmental Events

The National Academies Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Board on Environmental Change and Society and Resilient America Roundtable convened a webinar on May 13 to discuss the social science aspects of potential emergencies that compound the current COVID-19 crisis with environmental hazards, such as fires, hurricanes, flooding, and heatwaves. The event featured experts from federal government agencies such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), as well as universities, and nonprofit and community organizations. Panelists discussed the challenges of responding to emergencies and natural disasters amidst a pandemic and the need for social…

NSF, National Academies Launch Network to Connect Social Scientists to COVID-19 Policymakers

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) have formed the Societal Experts Action Network (SEAN) to connect social and behavioral science researchers with decision-makers who are leading the response to COVID-19. SEAN will respond to the most pressing social, behavioral, and economic questions that are being asked by federal, state, and local officials by working with appropriate experts to quickly provide actionable answers. The network will be overseen by NASEM’s Standing Committee on Emerging Infectious Diseases and 21st Century Health Threats and an executive committee co-chaired by Robert Groves of Georgetown University…

National Academies Begins Series of Virtual Discussions on the Research Community’s Responses to COVID-19

On April 9, the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) Board on Higher Education and Workforce (BHEW) hosted the first event in a new virtual series discussing post-secondary responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. The discussion series, which will take place over the course of several weeks, will bring together leaders from academia, industry, government, and civil society to address new developments in COVID-19 responses in different sectors of the research community. Each virtual event will touch on a specific topic on how researchers and their institutions can help support public health efforts. The April 9 event, which focused…

National Academies Commemorate “Endless Frontier” Anniversary

The National Academy of Sciences, the Kavli Foundation, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation held a symposium “The Endless Frontier: The Next 75 Years in Science” on February 26. They symposium discussed the future development of science in the US, in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of Vannevar Bush’s landmark report Science: The Endless Frontier, which led to the creation of the National Science Foundation (which turned 70 this year). Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN), as well as Director of the White House Office of Science of Technology Policy (OSTP) Kelvin K. Droegemeier, all reminded the…

National Academies Launches Committee on Science and Innovation Leadership for the 21st Century

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Board on Science, Technology, and Economic Policy and Committee on Science, Technology, and Law have established an ad hoc committee on “Science and Innovation Leadership for the 21st Century: Challenges and Strategic Implications for the United States.” The committee will produce a consensus report with recommendations on how to “1) draw attention to the most overlooked challenges, based on current research on U.S. competitiveness and trade, technology, and innovation policies; 2) develop a future agenda for needed research in areas that have not been fully explored; 3) identify current government infrastructure that…

Census Bureau Releases “Demonstration” Decennial Data Products, Working with National Academies to Collect Public Input

On October 29, the Census Bureau released a set of demonstration data products that show how the privacy measures planned for 2020 Census data would have applied to data from the 2010 Census. In a blog post, Census Bureau Chief Scientist John Abowd and Associate Director for Demographic Programs Victoria Velkoff assert that the “methods we used to protect the 2010 Census and earlier statistics can no longer adequately defend against today’s privacy threats.” They describe the new disclosure avoidance techniques planned to protect 2020 Census data and invite researchers and data users to experiment with the new demonstration products…

National Academies Releases Review of Minerva Initiative

The National Academies of Sciences’ Board on Behavioral, Cognitive, and Sensory Sciences released Assessing the Minerva Research Initiative and the Contribution of Social Science to Addressing Security Concerns, a consensus study report assessing the impact, procedures, and direction of the Minerva Research Initiative. The Minerva Research Initiative is a grant program of the Department of Defense (DOD) that funds unclassified, university-based, basic research in the social sciences relevant to national security. The report discusses the program’s challenges and successes and offers recommendations to strengthen the program’s structure and help broaden its reach and usefulness. The report includes recommendations for both…

National Academy of Medicine Launches Healthy Longevity Global Competition

The National Academy of Medicine, with collaboration from the National Institute on Aging at the National Institutes of Health and several other global research organizations, has launched the Healthy Longevity Global Competition. This international competition seeks for researchers in the social sciences and other fields to submit research ideas aiming to extend the healthy human lifespan. The other participating global organizations are the Academia Sinica of Taiwan, the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, EIT Health, the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development, the Ministry of Health and National Research Foundation of Singapore, and UK Research and Innovation. The competition…

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