Issue 13 (July 14)


COSSA Releases Statement on House & Senate Labor-HHS Appropriations Bills

On July 2, COSSA released a statement detailing its objections to the fiscal year (FY) 2016 Labor, Health and Human Services , Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS) spending bills passed by the House and Senate Appropriations Committees in June. Although both bills would provide significant increases to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), as the statement notes

“Unfortunately, the much needed increases in NIH funding in both bills come at the expense of federal agencies whose work plays a vital and collaborative role in the U.S. scientific enterprise, particularly as it relates to our nation’s health. As such, COSSA cannot support either appropriations bill.

COSSA is particularly concerned by the proposal to eliminate the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) in the House bill, both bills’ inadequate funding of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the Institute of Education Science (IES), and restrictions placed on research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).”

The statement is available in full here.

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COSSA Joins Partners in Advocating for BTS, AHRQ

COSSA has joined 11 fellow organizations on a letter in support of provisions that enhance the budget autonomy of the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) in the Future Transportation Research and Innovation for Prosperity Act (H.R. 2886), introduced by Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL), Ranking Member on the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee’s Research and Technology Subcommittee.

COSSA also joined the Friends of AHRQ on letters objecting to the elimination of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) in the House’s FY 2016 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill and the Senate’s proposed cuts to the agency in its version of the bill (see COSSA’s statement).

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21st Century Cures Act Passes the House with Bipartisan Support

On July 10, the House of Representatives passed the bipartisan 21st Century Cures Act (H.R. 6) by a 344 to 77 vote. In addition to reauthorizing the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for three years, the bill as passed would provide $9.3 billion in advanced appropriations for fiscal years (FY) 2016-2020 for a new NIH Cures Innovation Fund and $110 million annually for the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) regulatory modernization activities. (See COSSA’s analysis of the bill here.) (more…)

White House Issues Annual S&T Guidance for FY 2017 Budget

On July 9, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) issued their annual joint memorandum to federal agencies outlining “Multi-Agency Science and Technology Priorities for the FY 2017 Budget.” Each year, OMB and OSTP outline specific White House science, technology, and innovation priorities for federal investment, which is meant to inform federal agencies’ development of the fiscal year (FY) 2017 budget submission to OMB and Congress. Similar to last year’s guidance, the FY 2017 memorandum asks federal agencies to allocate resources to a number of multi-agency research activities, including advanced manufacturing, clean energy, earth observations, global climate change, information technology and high-performance computing, neuroscience, national and homeland security, and R&D for informed policy-making and management. Giving special acknowledgement to basic research, the memorandum states:

“Federal government funding for research and development (R&D) is essential to address societal needs in areas in which the private sector does not have sufficient economic incentive to make the required investments. Key among these is basic research—the fundamental, curiosity-driven inquiry that is a hallmark of the American research enterprise and a powerful driver of new technology.”

Federal agencies will work throughout the summer and fall in preparation of their FY 2017 budget requests, which won’t be unveiled until February 2016.

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Congressionally-Mandated Strategic Plan, FY 2016 Budget Discussed by NIH Advisory Committee to the Director

The June 11-12 National Institutes of Health (NIH) Advisory Committee to the Director (ACD) meeting included the discussion of a number of important issues for the agency, including its fiscal year (FY) 2016 budget and its efforts to develop a five-year strategic plan by December 2015. (more…)

NIH SMRB Working Group Approves Recommendations on Streamlining the NIH Grant Award Process

On July 6, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Scientific Management Review Board (SMRB) Working Group on the NIH Grant Review, Award, and Management Process (GRAMP) approved its draft report of its findings and recommendations on ways to streamline the NIH grant award process.

NIH director Francis Collins charged the Working Group to “recommend ways to further optimize the process of reviewing, awarding, and managing grants in a way that maximizes the time researchers can devote to research while still maintaining proper oversight” without compromising the quality of peer review. To accomplish the charge the working group examined the grant cycle for opportunities for improvement in areas such as writing and submission, receipt and referral, peer review, award decision, award issuance, and award management, among others. (more…)

NIH Seeks Feedback on Using mHealth for the Precision Medicine Cohort

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is seeking feedback from the scientific community regarding using mobile Health (mHealth) technologies for the Precision Medicine Cohort.  The agency points out that the collection of health and lifestyle data on “participant volunteers” have generally come from medical records and extensive phone or paper surveys.

For the Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI), the agency is considering using smart phone and wireless technologies to collect some of this information (See Update, June 15, 2015).  The use of these devices, however, generates a number of considerations for which NIH is seeking feedback:

  1. Willingness of participants to carry their smartphone and wear wireless sensor devices sufficiently throughout the day so researchers can assess their health and activities.
  2. Willingness of participants without smartphones to upgrade to a smartphone at no expense.
  3. How often people would be willing to let researchers collect data through devices without being an inconvenience.
  4. The kind of information participants might like to receive back from researchers, and how often.
  5. Other ways to conveniently collect information from participants apart from smart phones or wearable devices.

The agency will collect feedback on the topics through July 24, 2015 on the NIH’s website.

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AAAS Seeks Nominations for Science Diplomacy Award

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is seeking nominations for its annual AAAS Science Diplomacy Award, which is presented at the AAAS Annual Meeting in February. The award recognizes individuals or small groups in the scientific and engineering community that have “contributed to the role of science cooperation in building stronger links between and among societies.” Past recipients can be viewed on the AAAS website. Nominations are due by September 1.

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Funding Opportunity Announcements

  • NIA:  Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Centers (P30) (RFA-AG-16-011)
  • NIA:  Aging Research to Address Health Disparities (Administrative Supplement) (PA-15-293)
  • NIA:  Networks to Develop Priority Areas of Behavioral and Social Research (R24) (RFA-AG-16-008)
  • NIAAA:  Screening and Brief Alcohol Interventions in Underage and Young Adult Populations (R21, R01, R03) (PA-15-294), (PA-15-295), (PA-15-296)
  • FIC:  International Research Scientist Development Award (IRSDA) (K01) (PAR-15-291)
  • FIC, NHGRI, NIEHS, NIMH:  Emerging Global Leader Award (K43)(PAR-15-292)
  • AHRQ:  AHRQ Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Clinical Decision Support Learning Network (U18) (RFA-HS-15-003)
  • NICHD:  Neurodevelopmental Assessment of Infants and Children in Resource-Limited Settings (R43/R44, R41/R42) (RFA-HD-16-024), (RFA-HD-16-025)
  • NICHD:  HIV-infected Adolescents: Transitioning from Pediatric to the Adult Care Settings (R01, R21) (RFA-HD-16-033), (RFA-HD-16-034)

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AERA Holds Congressional Briefing on LGBTQ Issues in Education, Shares Research Agenda

On July 9, four distinguished scholars shared the results of an initiative and subsequent publication, LGBTQ [Lesbian, Gay Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer] Issues in Education: Advancing a Research Agenda, by the American Educational Research Association (AERA), a COSSA Governing Member. The report “exemplifies one of the most important objectives of AERA as a scientific and scholarly association: to bring rigorous and relevant knowledge to bear on salient issues in education and to help chart future directions of inquiry,” states Felice Levine, AERA executive director, in the preface of the recently released report and moderator of the congressional briefing held on Capitol Hill. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) sponsored the briefing. (more…)

Events Calendar

Live Long and Prosper: the Impact of Education on Mortality, Washington, DC, July 27, 2015
Toxic Stress: How Economic Inequality Hurts Early Childhood Development, Washington, DC, July 30, 2015
American Psychological Association Annual Convention, Toronto, Canada, August 6-9, 2015
Rural Sociological Society Annual Meeting, Madison, WI, August 6-9, 2015
American Statistical Association Joint Statistical Meetings, Seattle, WA, August 8-13, 2015
American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL, August 22-25, 2015
National Conference on Health Statistics, Bethesda, MD, August 24-26, 2015
American Political Science Association Annual Meeting & Exhibition, San Francisco, CA, September 3-5, 2015
Economic History Association Annual Meeting, Nashville, TN, September 11-13, 2015
Innovations in Research: Collaborations & Transformations, Cleveland, OH, September 16, 2015
Council on Social Work Education Annual Program Meeting, Denver, CO, October 15-18, 2015

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