Issue 06 (April 7)


COSSA Remembers Janet Norwood

norwoodThe social science and statistical communities lost a friend on March 27, Janet L. Norwood. Norwood was a former Commissioner of Labor Statistics (1979-1991), having served Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan during her 13 year tenure. As one of few women serving in the Bureau of Labor Statistics at the time and the first to lead the agency, Norwood was an inspiration and mentor to many professional women in Washington. She served as COSSA President from 2001-2002.

In addition to her service to COSSA, Norwood also held advisory and leadership positions with the American Statistical Association, NORC at the University of Chicago, and the Committee on National Statistics at the National Academies, among many others.

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COSSA and Partners Encourage Strong FY 2016 Appropriations

As Congress begins to consider funding for fiscal year (FY) 2016, COSSA has joined dozens of other organizations and coalitions on letters to appropriators in support of strong levels of funding for the federal agencies that support social and behavioral science research. Check our website for the most updated list of letters COSSA has joined.

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Members of Congress Call for Increased FY 2016 Funding for NSF, International Education

In a March 24 letter to the Chair and Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Committee, 136 members of the House of Representatives called for $7.724 billion in funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF) for fiscal year (FY) 2016, a funding level COSSA supports. The letter, which was organized by Reps. G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) and David McKinley (R-WV), states, “As our competitors across the globe invest in developing modern and inventive labor forces, our country will fall short if we fail to invest in research now. We must commit to strengthening our research capacities and prepare future generations to help our nation remain a world economic leader… We feel this amount is the minimum level of funding needed to ensure we have the resources to remain globally competitive.”

Similarly, a March 25 Dear Colleague letter to the House Appropriations leadership expressed support for robust FY 2016 funding for the Title VI/Fulbright-Hays international education and foreign language programs. Sponsored by Reps. David Price (D-NC), Don Young (R-AK), and Joe Crowley (D-NY), the letter had a total of 46 signatures from members of the House. The letter notes, “Title VI/Fulbright-Hays programs have had a tremendous impact on our nation over the years by developing a strong foundation in international education, research, and foreign language studies, especially in the less-commonly taught languages of U.S. strategic interest.”

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Nominations Sought for USPSTF Members

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is inviting nominations for individuals to serve on the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF). The USPSTF is an independent body of experts that makes evidence-based recommendations about the effectiveness of clinical preventive services and health promotion. Qualified nominees will have demonstrated expertise in the following areas: (1) critical evaluation of peer-reviewed research; (2) clinical prevention, health promotion, and primary health care; and (3) implementation of evidence based recommendations in clinical practice. In addition, expertise in the following areas is also desirable:

  • Behavioral medicine
  • Public health
  • Health equity and the reduction of health disparities
  • Application of science to health policy
  • Communication of scientific findings to multiple audiences, including health care professionals, policymakers, and the general public.

Nominations are due by May 15. Additional information is available in the Federal Register notice and on AHRQ’s website.

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White House Releases Antibiotic Resistance Action Plan


On March 27, the White House released the National Action Plan for Combatting Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria. The Action Plan outlines “federal activities over the next five years to enhance domestic and international capacity to prevent and contain outbreaks of antibiotic-resistant infections; maintain the efficacy of current and new antibiotics; and develop and deploy next-generation diagnostics, antibiotics, vaccines, and other therapeutics.” The plan is consistent with an initiative in the President’s budget request for fiscal year (FY) 2016 that would allocate $1.2 billion to combatting antibiotic-resistance (see COSSA’s analysis).

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RFI: Optimizing Funding Policies and Other Strategies to Improve the Impact and Sustainability of Biomedical Research

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has issued a Request for Information (RFI), Optimizing Funding Policies and Other Strategies to Improve the Impact and Sustainability of Biomedical Research, soliciting input from the scientific community regarding the possible development of new policies and other strategies to improve the impact and sustainability of the NIH-funded biomedical research enterprise. (more…)

RFI: Proposed Funding Priorities for Neuroscience Research, Input on High Impact and Cross-Cutting Opportunities

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Blueprint for Neuroscience Research is seeking input from the scientific community on how the Blueprint might best accelerate discovery in neuroscience research. Specifically, the request for information (RFI), Proposed Funding Priorities for Neuroscience Research, Input on High Impact and Cross-Cutting Opportunities (NOT-NS-15-020), is seeking suggestions regarding how future Blueprint investments can have a broad impact on neuroscience and serve the interests of the 15 participating NIH Institutes, Centers, and Offices that support research on the nervous system. (more…)

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Strategic Visioning Initiative Seeks Scientific Community’s Input

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is seeking the scientific community’s input in its Strategic Visioning Initiative. To help determine NHLBI’s future direction, the Institute is seeking the community’s participation in an “ongoing process that will inform its priority setting, decision making, and resource allocation.” The purpose of the Initiative is to develop the Institute’s priorities for the next decade. In the video launching the initiative, NHLBI director Gary H. Gibbons explained that he is asking the NHLBI community to help identify the most compelling questions and critical challenges that the Institute must attend to in the coming years if it is “to take advantage of emerging scientific opportunities and bold new approaches for actively promoting human health, as well as significantly reducing and preventing disease.” (more…)

New AAAS Study Investigates the Social Responsibilities of Scientists

The notion that scientists have a responsibility to society that goes beyond their responsibilities to the profession is long-standing. While there is a growing literature concerning the issues encapsulated by the phrase “social responsibility of scientists,” a review of that literature reveals many and sometimes competing views. What is more, to date there has been no empirical basis on which to define the content and scope of such social responsibilities.

It is within this context that the AAAS Science and Human Rights Coalition, of which COSSA is a member, and the AAAS Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights and Law Program decided to develop and distribute an online questionnaire to scientists, engineers and health professionals globally. The primary aim of this preliminary investigation was to elicit their perspectives on the nature and scope of their responsibilities and to identify any potential similarities and differences in perspectives according to multiple demographic variables. Read a summary of the report’s major findings or the full report. Please direct any inquiries about the report to

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ED: Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Fellowship (April 28)

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) is seeking applications for a new competition: Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Fellowship Program. The program provides opportunities to doctoral candidates to engage in full-time doctoral research abroad in modern foreign languages and area studies. Only applications that propose research on the following geographic areas will be accepted: Africa, East Asia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands, South Asia, the Near East, Central and Eastern Europe and Eurasia, and the Western Hemisphere (excluding the U.S.). Applications are due April 28.

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Events Calendar

Southwestern Social Science Association Annual Meeting, Denver, CO, April 8-11, 2015

American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL, April 16-20, 2015

Midwest Political Science Association Annual Conference, Chicago, IL, April 16-19, 2015

Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL, April 21-25, 2015

Society of Behavioral Medicine Annual Meeting & Scientific Sessions, San Antonio, TX, April 22-25, 2015

Population Association of America Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA, April 30-May 2, 2015

American Association for Public Opinion Research Annual Conference, Hollywood, FL, May 14-17, 2015

Law and Society Association Annual Meeting, Seattle, WA, May 28-31, 2015

A list of COSSA members’ annual meetings and other events can be found on the COSSA webpage.

COSSA members who have an upcoming event they would like to see listed in the Events Calendar and on our website should send an email to

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Let Out Your Inner Behavioral & Social Scientist – OBSSR Issues Call for Videos


The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2015.  The celebration includes a call to social and behavioral scientists to submit videos that showcase their research.

The best videos will be featured at the OBSSR 20th Anniversary Research Symposium on June 25, at the NIH William H. Natcher Conference Center and on the OBSSR’s website throughout 2015.  A letter of intent to submit a video is required by April 15, 2015. The deadline for submission is May 15, 2015. (more…)

NIMH Releases Strategic Plan for Research

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently released its Strategic Plan for Research which will guide the Institute’s research priorities over the next five years, from basic science of the brain and behavior, to public health impact.  This plan updates the objectives of the 2008 strategic plan. Its aim is to balance the need for long-term investments in basic research with urgent medical health needs. (more…)

House Subcommittee Discusses CDC Budget; Director Questioned on Gun Violence, HIV/AIDS Research

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies met on March 25 to consider the administration’s fiscal year (FY) 2016 budget proposal for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In attendance was CDC Director Thomas Frieden, accompanied by Beth Bell, Director of the CDC’s National Center for Zoonotic, Vector-Borne, and Enteric Diseases, and Anne Schuchat, Assistant Surgeon General and Director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

Subcommittee Chairman Tom Cole (R-OK) praised the CDC in his opening statement for protecting public health in the U.S. and abroad. He noted that while the CDC enjoys bipartisan support from the committee, sequestration remains in place for FY 2016 (at least for the time being) and expressed a desire to ensure taxpayer dollars are not spent on “politically motivated activities.” Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) also spoke about sequestration in her opening statement, calling it “disastrous” and pointing out that CDC has lost $1.35 billion (adjusted for inflation) since 2010. (more…)


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