Issue 16 (September 8)


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 bills, with much hinging on whether the Democrats maintain control of the Senate or lose the majority to the Republicans.

For a recap on the current status of the FY 2015 appropriations bills important to the COSSA community, please see the August 11, 2014 COSSA Washington Update.

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NSF Seeks Social Science Public Affairs Specialist

The National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Office of Legislative and Public Affairs (OLPA) is seeking to fill a position for a public affairs specialist. The agency is particularly interested in receiving applications from qualified professionals with experience in “developing and implementing integrated communications strategies to promote basic research about social, behavioral and economic sciences to a variety of audiences and stakeholders.” The opportunity closes September 19, 2014. More information can be found on USAJOBS.

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IES Seeks Input to Guide Future Education Research Activities

The Institute of Education Sciences of the Department of Education has issued a “Dear Colleague” letter soliciting public input to guide the future activities of the agency’s two research centers, the National Center for Education Research (NCER) and the National Center for Special Education Research (NCSER). The letter states that the effort is intended to “make sure that the two centers are contributing to significant advances in research and building knowledge that is useful to education policymakers and practitioners.” Comments are due October 31, 2014.

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Census, NCHS Hold Joint Technical Meeting Ahead of Release of Insurance Coverage Data

On September 16, the Census Bureau and the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) will release the first federal statistics on health insurance coverage during the period after the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The agencies held a technical meeting on August 18 to go over what will be released later this month and provide background on the methods used in the respective household surveys. Census Bureau Director John Thompson and NCHS Director Charles Rothwell introduced the meeting. A webcast is available here.

Two sources of data will be used together to assess the impact of the ACA on health insurance coverage. The Census’ Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC) to the Current Population Survey (CPS) asks participants about their health insurance status in the previous calendar year, providing a baseline estimate of health insurance coverage before the ACA’s coverage expansion went into effect. NCHS’ National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) collects data on participants’ current health insurance coverage. The upcoming data release will cover the first quarter of 2014 (coverage expansion began in January 2014). (more…)

NASS Invites Suggestions for Next Census of Agriculture

The National Agricultural Statistical Service (NASS) is seeking comments from the public on changes for the 2017 Census of Agriculture. Conducted every five years, the Census provides detailed information on nearly every facet of U.S. agriculture down to the county level. In a press release, NASS Associate Administrator Renee Picanso said, “Many industries want data that we currently don’t collect…There are also some data that people think are no longer relevant with changing trends in agriculture. This is the time to express those ideas and concerns.” Comments may be submitted via an online form. NASS will notify the public before the comment period closes.

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NIJ Seeking Researchers to Support Comprehensive School Safety Initiative

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) is seeking social scientists to work in residence at NIJ and participate in the Comprehensive School Safety Initiative. The jobs are two-year details (with the option for renewal for a third year) through the Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) and are open to employees of federal, state, and local governmental agencies; institutions of higher education; Indian tribal governments; federally funded research and development centers; and qualified non-profit organizations.

The Comprehensive School Safety Initiative is “a large-scale, integrated research effort designed to increase the safety of schools nationwide by developing knowledge about the most effective and sustainable school safety interventions and programs and by testing innovative approaches.” (More information is available here.) Selected candidates will “work closely with NIJ staff responsible for the design and management of the Initiative, with responsibilities ranging from establishing a research agenda to providing assistance to NIJ grantees conducting a variety of research projects to conducting small research projects in furtherance of Initiative objectives.”

More information about the position, including information on how to apply, is available on NIJ’s website. Applications are due September 30, 2014.

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NIH Seeks Input on Resources for Data-Related Standards Used in Biomedical Science

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently issued a Request for Information (RFI): Input on Information Resources for Data-Related Standards Widely Used in Biomedical Science, seeking comments and ideas to inform the consideration of an NIH Standards Information Resource (NSIR) that would collect, organize, and make available to the public trusted, systematically organized, and curated information about data-related standards. (more…)

AHRQ Solicits Scientific Information on Health Information Exchange

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Effective Healthcare Program is soliciting submissions of scientific information to inform its review of Health Information Exchange, which AHRQ defines as the “electronic sharing of clinical information among users such as health care providers, patients, administrators or policy makers across the boundaries of health care institutions, health data repositories, States and others.” The agency is particularly interested in scientific information related to the effectiveness, harms, prevalence, facilitators and barriers, and sustainability of Health Information Exchange. More information is available in the Federal Register notice. Submissions must be received by September 29, 2014.

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Social Scientists among 2014 Golden Goose Awardees

On September 18, the scientific community and policy makers will come together to celebrate the winners of this year’s Golden Goose Award at a ceremony in Washington, DC. The Golden Goose Award honors scientists whose research funded by the federal government has yielded major benefits to society, which could not have been anticipated at the time of funding. Among the 2014 awardees is a group of scientists whose research studying the impact of maternal absence on infant rats has significantly improved the ability of premature babies to thrive and has saved billions in health care costs and a group of economists who applied basic research on game theory to assist the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in setting allocations for auctioning the telecommunications spectrum, which has yielded more than $60 billion in revenue for the federal government. COSSA is a supporter of the 2014 Golden Goose Award.

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DBASSE Announces New Director of Human-Systems Integration Board

Last month, the National Research Council’s Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education (DBASSE) announced the appointment of Dr. Poornima Madhavan as the next director of the Board on Human Systems Integration (BOHSI). Madhavan comes to the National Academies from Old Dominion University, where she is associate professor of human factors in the department of psychology, as well as director of undergraduate research. BOHSI issues reports and provides expertise on a range of topics, which include “scientific and technology challenges of virtual reality, research needs for human factors, mental models of human-computer interaction, nuclear safety, the future of air traffic control, the effects of musculoskeletal disorders in the workplace, human factors in the design of tactical displays, organizational linkages,” among others.

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NRC Releases Implementing Juvenile Justice Reform Report

This month, the Committee on Law and Justice within the National Research Council’s Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education (DBASSE) released a report, Implementing Juvenile Justice Reform: The Federal Role. The report is a follow-on to the 2013 report, Reforming Juvenile Justice: A Developmental Approach, and is “designed to provide specific guidance to [the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) in the Department of Justice] regarding the steps that it should take, both internally and externally, to facilitate juvenile justice reform grounded in knowledge about adolescent development and effective interventions.”

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American Academy of Arts & Sciences to Release New Report on Scientific Research and the American Dream

On September 16, the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, a COSSA member, will publish a new report, Restoring the Foundation: The Vital Role of Research in Preserving the American Dream, at a public release event and Congressional briefing. Presenters include report committee co-chairs Norman R. Augustine, Retired Chairman and CEO, Lockheed Martin Corporation and former Under Secretary, United States Army; and Neal F. Lane, Malcolm Gillis University Professor at Rice University, former Director of the National Science Foundation, and former Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. The events will also feature Hunter R. Rawlings III, President, Association of American Universities; Peter McPherson, President, Association of Public and Land-grant Universities; and the Hon. Bart Gordon, member of the report committee, Partner at K&L Gates, former U.S. Representative for Tennessee, and former Chairman of the House Committee on Science and Technology. Click here for more information and instructions on how to register.

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AAPSS Invites Nominations for 2015 Moynihan Prize

The American Academy of Political and Social Science (AAPSS), a COSSA member, is inviting nominations for the 2015 Daniel Patrick Moynihan Prize. This annual prize honors “public servants and scholars who champion the use of social science research and evidence in policymaking.” Acceptance of the award entails a ceremony in Washington, DC in May 2015 and a public address. The 2014 Moynihan Prize was awarded to Joseph Stiglitz of Columbia University. Nominations are due September 26.

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LSA Promoting Native American Language Revitalization

The Linguistic Society of America (LSA), a COSSA Governing Member, has engaged in an initiative to educate policymakers about the value of Native American language revitalization. Two bills pending in Congress—the Native American Languages Reauthorization Act of 2014 (H.R. 726/S. 2299) and the Native Language Immersion Student Achievement Act (H.R. 4214/S. 1948)—seek to preserve and revitalize Native American languages. Interested organizations can express their support of the bills here.

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NINR Seeks Grant Applications Addressing Obesity and Asthma: Awareness and Self-Management

The prevalence of asthma and obesity has risen significantly over the past several decades. Both conditions are considered inflammatory conditions. In 2012, the prevalence of asthma in the U.S. was 8.2 percent, affecting 25.5 million people. This large asthma burden and the continued adverse outcomes is an ongoing public health challenge, including the effort to enhance uptake of underutilized management strategies to control symptoms. At the same time, 34 percent of the adult population 20 years and older living in the U.S. are considered obese. Healthy People 2010 identified overweight and obesity as one of 10 leading health indicators and called for a reduction in the population of children and adolescents who are overweight or obese. Progress has not been made toward that goal.

To address these issues, the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently released a funding opportunity announcement (FOA), Obesity and Asthma: Awareness and Self-Management (PA-14-316), designed to stimulate research that examines the relationship between asthma, obesity, and self-management. Previous research focusing on altering dietary habits and physical activity has targeted individuals as opposed to families. The resulting interventions have been generally unsuccessful in establishing long-term behavior change. (more…)

NIH Seeks SBIR Applications for “Serious STEM Games for Pre-College and Informal Science Education Audiences”

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recognizes that serious games function as a bridge technology that converts gaming from a social pastime to a powerful educational tool that challenges students with game-based problem solving, conceptual reasoning, and goal-oriented decisions. The agency further highlights that well-designed educational games imitate successful teacher pedagogy and exploit student interest in gaming. Such games integrate imbedded learning and provide real time student assessment.

Accordingly, the NIH has released a funding opportunity announcement (FOA), Serious STEM Games for Pre-College and Informal Science Education (PAR-14-325), to provide opportunities for eligible small business concerns (SBCs) to submit Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant applications to develop serious games. The games should focus on biology that addresses health and medicine questions for pre-kindergarten to grade 12 (P-12) students and pre- and in-service teachers or Informal Science Education (ISE) audiences. (more…)

NIH Seeks Applications for Training Modules Designed to Enhance Data Reproducibility

Responding to several studies that have shown that a substantial amount of basic and preclinical research results cannot be reproduced by other laboratories under the conditions described in publications, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is seeking applications for creative educational activities that have a primary focus of developing courses for skills development, specifically training modules for graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and beginning investigators designed to enhance data reproducibility. (more…)


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