National Academies Highlights the Value of Social Science

At the request of the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine convened an expert committee, chaired by Alan Leshner, CEO Emeritus of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, to study the contributions of the social, behavioral, and economic (SBE) sciences to the national interest. The committee’s report, The Value of the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences to National Priorities, published last week, is a ringing endorsement of the importance of these fields to addressing “nearly every major challenge the United States faces.” The report draws three conclusions: (1) SBE sciences “produce a…

NSF Releases Dear Colleague Letter on Convergence Research

The National Science Foundation (NSF) published a Dear Colleague letter on April 4 outlining new opportunities at NSF for “convergence research” projects. NSF defines convergence research as projects that have “deep integration across disciplines,” are “driven by a specific and compelling problem,” and bring together diverse teams of scientists. The Dear Colleague letter identifies the 10 Big Ideas for Future NSF Investment as prospects for convergence research topics, including Work at the Human-Technology Frontier, which is the “Big Idea” lead by the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences Directorate. Back to this issue’s table of contents.

2017 National Academies Workshop on Current and Future Training Needs in Social and Behavioral Sciences

In an August 31 blog post, National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) Director William Riley announced the convening of a 2017 National Academies workshop that is being sponsored by OBSSR and the National Science Foundation (NSF) Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (SBE) Directorate. The workshop will address the current and future training needs in the behavioral and social sciences and responds to the various reports in recent years that “indicate that a majority of behavioral and social sciences doctors are entering research careers in areas outside of the traditional academic research track; and…

NSF Seeks Nominations for Advisory Committees

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has issued its annual call for recommendations for membership to its various advisory committees and technical boards. These committees advise NSF’s offices and directorates on program management, research direction, and policies impacting the agency.  Committees of particular interest to the COSSA community include the Advisory Committee for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences and the Advisory Committee for Education and Human Resources.  Recommendations for membership are maintained for 12 months. See the Federal Register notice for details on how to submit names. Back to this issue’s table of contents.

NSF Seeks Candidates for Division Director of Social and Economic Sciences

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is accepting applications for the position of Division Director for the Social and Economic Sciences (SES) Division within the Directorate for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (SBE). The Division Director “provides leadership and direction for the support of research and education activities that develop and advance scientific knowledge focusing on political, economic, and social systems and how individuals and organizations function within them.” More information on the position can be found in the Dear Colleague Letter from SBE. Applications may be submitted through USAJOBS. Back to this issue’s table of contents.

SBE-Funded Researchers Receive “Genius” Grants

Two of the recipients of the 2015 MacArthur Foundation Fellowship (the so-called “genius” grants) are social scientists whose research is funded by the National Science Foundation’s Directorate for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (SBE) Directorate. The fellowship is awarded to individuals in any field “who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction.” Fellows receive a no-strings-attached cash prize to pursue their work as they see fit. Matthew Desmond is an urban sociologist at Harvard University whose work focuses on “the impact of eviction on poor families and the role of housing…

NSF’s SBE Directorate Seeks to Fill Numerous Leadership Posts

The Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE) Directorate of the National Science Foundation (NSF) is seeking interested applicants for several leadership posts, including directors for two SBE divisions. The open positions include: Division Director, Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences (BCS), closes December 12 Division Director, Social and Economic Sciences (SES), closes December 12 Program Director in the Economics Program (SES), closes December 29 In addition, NSF recently announced that Joanne Tornow, SBE Deputy Assistant Director, will leave SBE in December to lead the NSF Office of Information and Resource Management (OIRM). A search will commence for a new SBE Deputy Assistant…


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