Volume 33 (2014)
COSSA Washington Update, Volume 33 Issue 14
In this issue… Congressional Activities & News Senate Appropriations Committee Releases Text of FY 2015 Labor-HHS Appropriations Bill Senate Commerce Committee Releases Draft COMPETES/NSF Bill Federal Agency & Administration Activities & News Cora Marrett to Leave NSF NIGMS Request for Information: Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award NIH Issues Challenge to Find Advances Tied to NIGMS Support SMRB Discusses Pre-College Engagement in Biomedical Science; NIH Director Reflects on Impact of the Sequester Rising Mortality Rates in Women in the U.S.: Role of Drug Abuse and Addiction National Humanities Council Meets as NEH Faces Budget Uncertainty, New Chairman NCHS Releases Data on Weight…
Senate Appropriations Committee Releases Text of FY 2015 Labor-HHS Appropriations Bill
On July 24, the Senate Appropriations Committee released bill language and the accompanying Committee report for the fiscal year (FY) 2015 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS) Appropriations bill. The Labor-HHS Subcommittee approved the bill via voice vote in June. It is still unclear when or if the measure will be considered by the full Appropriations Committee. Instead, it is all but certain that Congress will enact a short-term continuing resolution (CR) to allow time to complete the FY 2015 appropriations process after the November elections. The Senate Appropriations Committee also released draft bills and…
Draft COMPETES/NSF Bill Released in the Senate
Earlier this month, the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee released a draft of its America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2014 for public input. The America COMPETES Act is bipartisan legislation originally enacted in 2007 and reauthorized in 2010 to revitalize the U.S. scientific enterprise by making critical investments in U.S. basic science agencies. These investments were intended to ensure the U.S.’s continued standing as the global leader in science and technology innovation. COMPETES serves as authorizing legislation for the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and…
Cora Marrett to Leave NSF
Earlier this month, the National Science Foundation (NSF) announced that Cora B. Marrett, NSF Deputy Director, will resign her position effective August 24. Marrett was confirmed as Deputy Director in 2011 and has served previously as NSF’s acting director. More notably for the COSSA community, Marrett served as the first assistant director for the Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences Directorate, and is a former assistant director of the Education and Human Resources Directorate. She is a major voice for social and behavioral science, within NSF and publicly, and has been a familiar face at COSSA events over the years. Congresswoman…
NIGMS Request for Information: Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award
The National Institute of General Medical Science (NIGMS) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently issued a time-sensitive Request for Information (RFI) for input to assist in its planning for a potential new program tentatively called the Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA). According to NIGMS, MIRA is intended to be a grant in support of all of the research supported by the institute in an investigator’s laboratory. The Institute is planning to issue a Funding Opportunity Announcement to test the new program on a pilot scale. Accordingly, it is seeking feedback from the scientific community.
NIH Issues Challenge to Find Advances Tied to NIGMS Support
The National Institute of General Medical Science (NIGMS) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is seeking the public’s help in capturing the Institute’s progress toward its strategic goal: “to advance awareness and understanding of the basic biomedical research enterprise, including its value, requirements, and potential impact.” The Institute has issued a challenge to the scientific community with the goal of identifying past advances that are serving (or have served) to improve human health and well-being. It excludes ongoing studies that may, in the future, have a major impact. NIGMS intends to use the examples to help inform the historical context…
SMRB Discusses Pre-College Engagement in Biomedical Science; NIH Director Reflects on Impact of the Sequester
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Scientific Management Review Board (SMRB) held a two-day meeting on July 7-8, 2014. The SMRB was authorized by the NIH Reform Act of 2006. The statute provides certain organizational authorities to the Department of Health and Human Services and NIH on which the SMRB provides advice. The meeting’s agenda included reflections from NIH director Francis Collins, and a full day discussion of pre-college engagement in biomedical science led by the SMRB Working Group on Pre-college Engagement in Biomedical Science (PEBS).
Rising Mortality Rates in Women in the U.S.: Role of Drug Abuse and Addiction
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) director Nora Volkow recently discussed the role of substance abuse in the “Rising Mortality Rates in Women in the U.S.,” the subject of a July 15 Women’s Policy, Inc.- sponsored congressional briefing. Susan Dentzer, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), moderated the session. According to Dentzer, the briefing was designed to address the data in the 2013 National Research Council (NRC) and Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, U.S. Health in International Perspective: Shorter Lives, Poorer Health (see Update, October 7, 2013), also the subject of an earlier congressional briefing sponsored by the Coalition for the…
National Humanities Council Meets as NEH Faces Budget Uncertainty, New Chairman
The National Council on the Humanities, the advisory body to the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), met on July 10 and 11. The meeting was presided over by NEH’s Acting Chairman Carole Watson, who has been leading the agency since Jim Leach left in May. Watson observed that it has been a time of change for NEH, which recently relocated from its home of more than 30 years in the Old Post Office Building to new offices in Constitution Center. In addition, President Obama’s nominee to lead the agency, William “Bro” Adams, former president of Colby College, had recently…
NCHS Releases Data on Weight Misperception in Children, Sexual Orientation-Based Health Disparities
A recent National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) data brief looks at children’s (8-15 years old) misperception of their weight status. When asked if they felt they were too thin, overweight, or about right, 30 percent of children’s responses did not match their weight status. This misperception was more common among boys (32.2 percent) than girls (28 percent). Seventy-six percent of overweight children and 41.9 percent of obese children described themselves as “about right.” Nearly half (48.5 percent) of underweight children also described themselves as “about right.” More than 12 percent of healthy weight children (over 2 million) believed themselves…
Interagency Statistical Forum Publishes Special Report on Young Adults
The Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics has published a report, America’s Young Adults: Special Issue, 2014, that pulls data from nationally representative federal surveys on the demographics; education; economic circumstances; family formation; civic, social, and personal behavior; and health and safety of adults aged 18-24. A press release about the report notes: “American young adults are more racially and ethnically diverse, more likely to graduate from high school, and attend college, and less likely to smoke than previous generations… However, the young adults have more student debt than generations past, earn less than their counterparts in the…
AAAS Science and Human Rights Coalition Reflects on Five Years
The Science and Human Rights Coalition of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) held its biannual meeting on July 14 and 15. COSSA is a member of the Coalition, which is a “network of scientific and engineering membership organizations that recognize a role for scientists and engineers in human rights.” This year marks the fifth anniversary of the Coalition’s founding, and the meeting provided an opportunity for members to look back on what has been accomplished and consider new directions for the future. An anniversary celebration is planned for October of this year.
IOM Workshop Asks “Can Food Be Addictive?”
The Food Forum at the National Academies’ Institute of Medicine (IOM) held a workshop on July 9 and 10 on Relationships between the Brain, Digestive System, and Eating Behavior. The Food Forum is chaired by Francis Busta, University of Minnesota, St. Paul. Eric Decker, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, chaired the workshop planning committee. Early presentations explored the physiological interactions between the brain and the digestive system, and later sessions assessed the science and methodologies behind the “food addiction” model.
New COSSA Member: American Academy of Arts & Sciences
We are delighted to welcome the American Academy of Arts & Sciences to the COSSA membership. Headquartered in Cambridge, MA, the Academy is one of the nation’s oldest learned societies and serves as an independent policy research center, providing “authoritative and nonpartisan policy advice to decision-makers in government, academia, and the private sector.” We are thrilled that they have joined the COSSA community. COSSA’s full membership list can be viewed online. Back to this issue’s table of contents.
COSSA Endorses AAAS Statement on Disabilities Treaty Ratification
COSSA has endorsed the statement of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Board of Directors urging the Senate to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Adopted in 2006 by the United Nations General Assembly, the CRPD has been ratified by 146 countries. The U.S. was a signatory on the treaty, but previous attempts to ratify it in the Senate have failed. The Convention may again be brought to the Senate as early as this summer.
COSSA Urges Increased Funding for Transportation Statistics Agency
On July 15, COSSA joined several other national associations on a letter to Transportation Committee chairs and ranking members in the House and Senate urging increased funding for the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) at the U.S. Department of Transportation in fiscal year (FY) 2015. As the letter reads, “The BTS is the principal source of timely, accurate, and objective information on the current state, safety, and performance of highway, rail, air, maritime, and pipeline transportation systems.” Back to this issue’s table of contents.
NIGMS Issues Challenge / Seeks Input on Proposed New Grant Program
Two requests from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) give social and behavioral scientists the opportunity to provide input: To highlight discoveries and breakthroughs that have been enabled by funding from the Institute, and Respond to its time-sensitive Request for Information (RFI) to assist the Institute in its planning for a potential new program tentatively called Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA).
Draft COMPETES/NSF Bill Released in the Senate
Late last week, the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee released a draft of its America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2014. The Committee is seeking comment from interested organizations by this Friday, July 25, which can be sent to committee staff. COSSA intends to support the legislation. The America COMPETES Act is bipartisan legislation originally enacted in 2007 and reauthorized in 2010 to revitalize the U.S. scientific enterprise by making critical investments in U.S. basic science agencies. These investments were intended to ensure the U.S.’s continued standing as the global leader in science and technology innovation. COMPETES serves as authorizing legislation for the…
COSSA Washington Update, Volume 33 Issue 13
In this issue… Congressional Activities & News FY 2015 Spending Bills May Wait for the Lame Duck Senate Democrats and House Republicans Begin Higher Ed Act Reauthorization Federal Agency & Administration Activities & News Nominations Sought for 2015 Vannevar Bush and Public Service Awards FDA Seeks Comments on its Strategic Priorities, 2014-2018 Notable Publications & Community Events NRC Releases Furthering America’s Research Enterprise Report NDD United Addresses Continued Threats to Discretionary Spending AAAS Seeks Nominations for Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award COSSA Member Activities Importance of Statistics Highlighted by ASA White Papers and International Year of Statistics Workshop Report COSSA…
FY 2015 Spending Bills May Wait for the Lame Duck
As the Congressional August recess approaches in just a few weeks, it has become all but certain that a continuing resolution (CR) will be enacted to push work on the fiscal year (FY) 2015 appropriations bills to after the November midterm elections. The House and Senate are likely to be consumed with the President’s proposals for supplemental funding to address the migrant child crisis and wildfires out west during the scant remaining summer workdays, leaving little time to advance any of the FY 2015 spending measures before the new fiscal year begins on October 1. Despite Senate leadership’s promise to…