Issue 05 (March 8)


Preview of the COSSA Annual Meeting, March 15-16 – Still Time to Register!

The COSSA Annual Meeting is just one week away. The agenda includes a wide range of topics impacting social and behavioral science research, from federal funding and the media’s use of social science research, to communicating science and industry interests.

Here’s a snapshot of what we have in store:

Peer Review, National Interest & Late Night Television: The Politics of Social Science Research

In the Looking Glass: Social and Behavioral Science Communicates the Value of Social and Behavioral Science

On the Record: Social Science & the Media
Featuring reporters from NPR and Pacific Standard

Trends in Federal Statistics
Featuring Erica Groshen, Commissioner, Bureau of Labor Statistics

Social & Behavioral Science across Federal Agencies
Featuring officials from the National Science Foundation, National Institute of Justice, National Institutes of Health, and Environmental Protection Agency

Why Industry Needs Social Science
Featuring researchers from Google, Intel Corporation, and Facebook

There is still time to register! Remember, if you belong to COSSA member organization, you are eligible for a discount. Contact Julia Milton for the discount code. More details on the COSSA Annual Meeting page.

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COSSA and Partners Urge Strong FY 2017 Funding for Science Agencies

Now that appropriations season is underway, COSSA has begun working with its coalition partners to urge strong support for agencies that fund social and behavioral science research in fiscal year (FY) 2017. Some of the most recent requests include:

The most up-to-date list of such letters is available on the COSSA website.

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OBSSR to Develop “Revised, Contemporary Definition of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research”

As part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) strategic planning process to update its 2007 strategic plan for fiscal years (FY) 2016-2020, the Office plans to reconsider NIH’s definition of behavioral and social sciences (BSSR). In his recent OBSSR Connector blog post, OBSSR Director William Riley explained that the office is Congressionally mandated to “define behavioral and social sciences research to assess and monitor NIH funding.” As a consequence, the current definition “resulted in a high level taxonomy of BSSR and delineates basic versus applied behavioral and social sciences research with a range of examples for each.” Riley noted that in order to revise the current definition, NIH must acknowledge “that there is no single discipline of ‘Behavioral and Social Sciences Research;’ instead the field is a multidisciplinary set of sciences.” The definition of these sciences “are evidence that behavioral and social sciences cover a broad expanse of research interests from interpersonal mental processes, through large scale social and cultural constructs.” Emphasizing this is “more than a philosophical exercise,” Riley stressed that OBSSR intends to “develop a revised, contemporary definition of BSSR” with stakeholder input. OBSSR convened an expert panel to provide input into its strategic plan in January (see Update, February 8, 2016).

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National Children’s Study Archive Available to Investigators

The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development issued a Notice (NOT-HD-16-005) to alert investigators of the availability of the National Children’s Study (NCS) Vanguard Data and Sample Archive and Access System (NCS Archive). The NCS Vanguard served as a pilot for “a planned cohort study of environmental influences on child health and development.” The Vanguard pilot enrolled more than 14,000 participants in more than 5,000 families in 40 locations and followed them until 2014. It includes a collection of more than “14 million records and nearly 19,000 biological and 5,500 primary samples from which a sample repository of over 250,000 items was created.” That information is now available through the NCS Archive for “approved research projects by qualified investigators.” The initial release consists of study data from 2009 -2010. Additional data and sample availability is expected. For more information, see the NCS webpage.

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NIA Requests Input on Alzheimer’s Disease Bypass Budget Implementation

The National Institute on Aging (NIA) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is seeking input into the development of the fiscal year (FY) 2018 NIH Alzheimer’s Disease Bypass Budget (ADBB). Annual updates to the ADBB are Congressionally mandated (see Update, November 3, 2015). NIA seeks comments and suggestions from the public “on the current state of the science, the highest priorities for future research, and potential conceptual or technical barriers to overcome.” According to the recently released Notice (NOT-AG-16-017), the FY 2018 ADBB will be consistent with the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease and include Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Topics will include basic, translational, clinical, as well as caregiver research. NIA also seeks comments on “future opportunities or emerging research needs that should be included in the plan.” The deadline for input is April 8, 2016. For more information, see the Notice.

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NCA to Hold Discussion on Citizenship in America

The National Communication Association (NCA), one of COSSA’s governing members, will host a Washington, DC event on March 22, addressing the question “What does it mean to be a citizen in contemporary America?” The discussion will feature input from scholars whose work touches on the meaning and power of American “citizenship,” including Elisabeth R. Anker (George Washington University), Robert Asen (University of Wisconsin), Elizaeth Markovits (Mount Holyoke College), and Eric King Watts (University of North Carolina). More information is available on NCA’s website.

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Funding Opportunity Announcements

NIH Opportunities:

  • NIMH: Notice of Availability of Administrative Supplements to NIMH-supported Research for FY2016, (NOT-MH-16-005)
  • NIMH: Pragmatic Strategies for Assessing Psychotherapy Quality in Practice (R01), (RFA-MH-17-500)
  • NIGMS: Modeling of Infectious Disease Agent Study Research Projects (R01), (PA-16-107)
  • NIBIB/NICHD: Team-Based Design in Biomedical Engineering Education (R25), (PAR-16-108)
  • NIGMS: Bridges to the Doctorate (R25), (PAR-16-109)
  • NIGMS: Bridges to the Baccalaureate (R25), (PAR-16-110)
  • NIGMS: Institutional Research and Academic Career Development Awards (IRACDA) (K12), (PAR-16-103)
  • NIDA: Services Planning Research in the Appalachian Region to Address Adverse Health Consequences Associated with Increased Opioid Injection Drug Use (R03), (RFA-DA-16-015)
  • NLM/NIEHS: NLM Institutional Grants for Research Training in Biomedical Informatics and Data Science (T15), (RFA-LM-16-001)

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Events Calendar

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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