Issue 19 (October 20)


Social Scientist among National Medal of Science Winners

On October 3, President Obama named the winners of the 2014 National Medal of Science and National Medal of Technology and Innovation. Among the recipients of the National Medal of Science is University of Michigan political scientist Robert Axelrod, honored for his work on the “evolution of cooperation,” which holds applications for conflict de-escalation. Dr. Axelrod will be awarded the Medal of Science at a White House ceremony later this year.

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NCHS Brief Looks at Depression and Obesity

A new data brief from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) examines the relationship between obesity and depression. It found that 43 percent of adults with depression were obese and that adults with depression were more likely to be obese, particularly women. In addition, as the severity of depression symptoms increased, so did the proportion of those with obesity. And over half of people whose symptoms were not relieved by medication were obese. The report observes, “It is not clear whether depression or obesity occurred first because they were both measured at the same time. Other studies have shown a bidirectional relationship, meaning obesity increases risk of depression and depression increases risk of obesity.” The data is drawn from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), 2005-2010.

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Public Comment Period for Healthy People 2020 Open through November 7

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is soliciting written comments regarding new objectives proposed to be added to Healthy People 2020.  The previous public comment period occurred in fall 2013. (more…)

National Academies SBS Policy Roundtable Meeting, “Stimulating Effective Innovation in Government” — October 30

The National Academies Policy Roundtable of the Behavioral and Social Sciences will conduct at its next meeting a seminar and discussion on stimulating effective innovation in government. The seminar will be held from 1:30 to 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 30, 2014, in Room 120 of the National Academy of Sciences building at 21st and Constitution Avenue, N.W. The Policy Roundtable is chaired by David Ellwood, Dean of the Harvard Kennedy School. (more…)

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.

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DOD: 2015 Minerva Deadline Extended

As previously reported, 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, DOD’s signature social science research program. DOD recently extended the deadline for the 2015 competition. White papers are now due November 10 and full proposals are due February 10. See the BAA for full details.

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Events Calendar

11th Annual Brown Lecture in Education Research, American Educational Research Association, October 23, 2014

Measuring Dimensions of Subjective Well-Being: The Role of Official Statistics, National Academies Committee on National Statistics, October 24, 2014

Stimulating Effective Innovation in Government, National Academies Policy Roundtable of the Behavioral and Social Sciences, October 30, 2014

NSF Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences Advisory Committee Fall Meeting, October 30-31, 2014

The City: 2014 Behavioral and Social Science Summit, Stanford University, November 8, 2014

A list of COSSA member conferences and annual meetings can be found on the COSSA website.

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SMRB Continues Discussion of Pre-College Engagement in Biomedical Science

During its October 14 meeting, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Scientific Management Review Board (SMRB) continued its examination of the NIH grant review, award, and management process and its discussion of the evidence base for successful approaches for pre-college biomedical science programs designed to strengthen the biomedical workforce pipeline. (more…)

2015 MCAT Includes New Social and Behavioral Sciences Section

Starting in spring 2015, the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) will test prospective medical students’ knowledge of the social and behavioral sciences. The MCAT2015, the first update to the MCAT since 1992, includes a new section on “Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior.” The section is weighted equally to the two other subject-knowledge sections, “Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems” and “Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems,” in terms of length and number of questions (a fourth section on critical analysis is shorter). (more…)

SPSSI Seminar Explores the Psychology of Human Rights

The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI), a COSSA member, held the last seminar in its 2014 series, Psychological Insights into Legislative Issues, on October 8. The topic was “Who Cares about Human Rights? The Psychology of Human Rights Support,” and featured Sam McFarland of Western Kentucky University. Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) sponsored the event series and shared how he first became passionate about human rights through his work during El Salvador’s civil war in the 1980s. (more…)


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