Issue 08 (April 19)


COSSA Submits FY 2017 Testimony on NIH, CDC, Education, and Other Agencies

COSSA submitted its annual Outside Witness Testimony to the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies. COSSA’s testimony for fiscal year (FY) 2017 addresses the need for strong funding of the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Institute for Education Sciences, and Title VI and Fulbright-Hays programs. Click here to read testimony submitted to the House, and here for the Senate.

Back to this issue’s table of contents.

OBSSR to Hold Webinars to Present 2016-2020 Strategic Plan

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) is holding two webinars to present the Office‚Äôs 2016-2020 Strategic Plan and to solicit feedback from the scientific community, including ‚Äúresearchers in academia and industry, scientific or professional organizations, public health and health care professionals, patient advocacy organizations, and other interested members of the public.‚ÄĚ OBSSR Director William Riley and Deputy Director G. Stephane Philogene will present the 2016-2020 Strategic Plan during both webinars; the information provided will be the same. The webinars are scheduled for Tuesday, May 10, 2016 (10:30 ‚Äď 11:30 am EDT) and Thursday, May 12, 2016 (2:00 ‚Äď 3:00 pm). Registration is required at the links above.

Back to this issue’s table of contents.

NASS Launches New Local Foods Survey

The U.S. Department of Agriculture‚Äôs (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) has begun data collection for its first-ever Local Food Marketing Practices Survey, which will produce official benchmark data on the U.S. local food sector. According to a NASS press release, the survey will produce information on ‚Äúthe value of food sales by marketing channel (i.e. farmers markets, community supported agriculture (CSA) arrangements, restaurants, roadside stands, food hubs, and more), value of crop and livestock sales, marketing practices, expenses, Federal farm program participation, and more.‚ÄĚ NASS expects to release the data in December 2016.

Back to this issue’s table of contents.

NSF Seeks Nominations for Advisory Committees

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has issued its annual call for recommendations for membership to its various advisory committees and technical boards. These committees advise NSF’s offices and directorates on program management, research direction, and policies impacting the agency.  Committees of particular interest to the COSSA community include the Advisory Committee for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences and the Advisory Committee for Education and Human Resources.  Recommendations for membership are maintained for 12 months. See the Federal Register notice for details on how to submit names.

Back to this issue’s table of contents.

Nominations Sought for U.S. Preventive Services Task Force

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) is an independent advisory body that makes evidence-based recommendations about the effectiveness of clinical preventive services and health promotion. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), which supports the work of the USPSTF, is accepting nominations for candidates to serve on the Task Force. In addition to expertise in evaluation of research, preventive medicine, and implementation of recommendations, candidates are sought with experience in public health, health equity and health disparities, application of science to health policy, behavioral medicine, and communication of scientific findings to multiple audiences. Applications are due by May 15, 2016. More information is available in the Federal Register notice.

Back to this issue’s table of contents.

EPA Seeks Scientific Advisory Committee Members

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is accepting nominations for candidates to serve on two scientific advisory bodies: the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) and the EPA Science Advisory Board (SAB). More information on the jurisdiction of the committees and how to submit nominations is available in the Federal Register notice. Nominations are due on May 6, 2016.

Back to this issue’s table of contents.

Researchers Discuss Projects Targeted by Wastebooks at Capitol Hill Poster Exhibition

cpr 4-13On April 13, the COSSA-led Coalition to Promote Research (CPR) and the Coalition for National Science Funding (CNSF) sponsored a Congressional exhibition and reception, ‚ÄúWasteful‚ÄĚ Research? Looking Beyond the Abstract, designed to provide researchers whose work had been targeted in the various Congressional ‚Äúwastebook‚ÄĚ publications an opportunity to put their research into context for Members of Congress and their staff. The unique Congressional exhibition and reception featured nine researchers from across the disciplinary spectrum. Also presented were posters on the peer/merit review process by National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Participating researchers included: Aletha Akers, Children‚Äôs Hospital of Philadelphia; Karen Ingersoll, University of Virginia School of Medicine; Jeff Leips, University of Maryland Baltimore County; Frederick Muench, Northwell Health, New York; Sheila Patek, Duke University; Kimberley Philips, Trinity University; Narayan Sastry, University of Michigan; David Scholnick, Pacific University, Oregon; and Megan Tracy, James Madison University. Joshua Shiode of AAAS provided information on the Golden Goose Awards along with this year‚Äôs first announced recipients of the 2016 award for the Longitudinal Study on Adolescent Health, recently renamed the Longitudinal Study on Adult Health (Add Health). (more…)

House and Senate Get Moving on 2017 Spending Bills

More than a dozen markups and hearings are scheduled this week for House and Senate Appropriations committees and subcommittees. Appropriators are moving ahead with writing their respective fiscal year (FY) 2017 appropriations bills, despite no agreement on top-line funding levels by way of a budget resolution.

You will recall that a bipartisan budget deal was struck back in October, which provided for an extra $30 billion (of a $1.1 trillion total federal budget) in discretionary spending‚ÄĒsplit evenly between defense and nondefense‚ÄĒin FY 2017. However, the most conservative wing of the GOP in the House are digging in their heels, demanding that total funding next year not exceed the caps set in the 2011 budget agreement. Specifically, they want $30 billion cut from the October deal, taking all of it from the nondefense side where funding for federal research agencies lives. With no end in sight for the debate around top-line spending, House Appropriations Subcommittees have begun pressing forward, writing and marking up their bills consistent with the higher levels agreed to in the fall.

Any effort to enact a budget resolution in the Senate has been all but abandoned. In fact, the Senate is bringing its first FY 2017 appropriations bill, Energy and Water, to the floor this week, setting a record for the earliest Senate floor vote. The House traditionally moves before the Senate on spending bills, but, this year, the House does not intend to get its first bill to the floor for at least another month.

The full House Appropriation Committee will mark up the Agriculture Appropriations Bill on April 19 (see related article), which includes funding for research and statistical agencies of interest to the COSSA community. In addition, the Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Appropriations Bill, which funds the National Science Foundation, National Institute of Justice, Census Bureau, and other relevant agencies, will be marked up by the Senate CJS Subcommittee on April 19 and the full Appropriations Committee on April 21; stay tuned for COSSA’s full analysis.

It remains to be seen whether promises to move all 12 appropriations bills through the House Appropriations Committee by the end of June will stick or what the Senate’s quick start means for some of the more controversial bills later in the queue. Election year politics always throw a wrench or two into what is already a challenging environment for deal-making.

Back to this issue’s table of contents.

House Agriculture Appropriations Bill Passes Appropriations Committee

The House Appropriations Committee has released its draft bill and Committee Report for the fiscal year (FY) 2017 funding for the Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies. The bill passed the Subcommittee by on April 13 and the full Commtitee on April 19. A list of amendments adopted during the full committee markup is available here (none affect the research and science agencies funded by the bill). Details on the bill’s proposed funding for the Department of Agriculture (USDA) agencies important to the social and behavioral sciences follow.

Overall, the bill provides flat funding or very modest increases to USDA research and science agencies. The Economic Research Service (ERS), one of the Department of Agriculture’s two statistical agencies, would receive $86 million, or 0.7 percent above FY 2016 but 5.8 percent below the Administration’s request. The entirety of the $627,000 increase is directed for cooperative agreements on groundwater modeling and drought resilience. The National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) would receive flat funding at $168.4 million, $8.2 million below the amount requested by the President. The Census of Agriculture, which NASS will conduct in 2017, would see a cut of $306,000.

The bill would provide the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) with a $14.7 million increase over FY 2017, bringing it to a total of $1.3 billion, though the amount is $32.9 million below the Administration‚Äôs requested level. Expectedly, appropriators chose to reject the President‚Äôs proposal to double funding for USDA‚Äôs premiere competitive grants program, the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), using a combination of discretionary and mandatory funds. However, the bill would give AFRI a $25 million increase above FY 2016‚ÄĒbringing it to $375 million‚ÄĒwhich is level with the discretionary amount proposed in the budget request. Funding for research at State Agricultural Experiment Stations under the Hatch Act would remain flat.

The Committee report includes the following language related to AFRI-funded research on childhood obesity:

‚ÄúWithin the funds made available for AFRI, the Committee encourages NIFA to support innovative efforts to address the unique challenges faced in addressing childhood obesity through a combination of family education and clinical studies focused on early life influences on obesity risk; the development of eating behavior during infancy and early childhood; the role of sleep in the development of childhood obesity; and obesity prevention strategies for low-income children in childcare and educational settings.‚ÄĚ

The report also instructs NIFA to develop a plan for ensuring AFRI research meets the needs of the U.S. organic agriculture sector and is not duplicative of other efforts; to support research, development, education, and training related to the deployment of unmanned aircraft systems (i.e. drones) for improved agriculture and environmental stewardship; and to ensure it is adequately addressing the research needs of urban agriculture producers.

house ag fy 2017

Back to this issue’s table of contents.

National Academies Holds Workshop on ACS Respondent Burden

In March, the Committee on National Statistics (CNSTAT) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine held a ‚ÄúWorkshop on Respondent Burden in the American Community Survey,‚ÄĚ which brought together experts from the Census Bureau and the broader statistical community to discuss how to make the American Community Survey (ACS) a more pleasant, less intrusive experience for respondents. (more…)

Funding Opportunity Announcements

  • AHRQ: AHRQ Announces Interest in Innovative Research in Primary Care (NOT-HS-16-011)
  • DOJ: Office of Violence Against Women FY 2016 Research and Evaluation Solicitation (OVW-2016-9780)

NIH Opportunities:

  • NIH: Mechanisms, Models, Measurement, and Management in Pain Research (R21) (PA-16-187), (R01) (PA-16-188) [NINR, NCCIH, NIA, NIAMS, NIDA, NIDCR, NIMHD, NINDS]
  • NIH: Mentored Research Scientist Development Award (Parent K01) (PA-16-190), [NCCIH, NHGRI, NIA, NIAAA, NIAID, NIAMS, NIBIB, NICHD, NIDA, NIDCD, NIDCR, NIMH, NINR, DPCPSI, ORIP]
  • NIH: Mentored Clinical Scientist Research Career Development Award National Institutes of Health (Parent K08) (PA-16-191) [NCCIH, NCI, NEI, NHGRI, NHLBI, NIA, NIAAA, NIAID,NIAMS, NICHD NIDA, NIDCD, NIDCR, NIDDK, NIEHS, NIGMS, NIMH, NINDS]
  • NIH: Independent Scientist Award (Parent K02) (PA-16-192) [NIA, NIAAA, NIDA, NIDCR, NIEHS, NINDS
  • NIH: Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award (Parent K23) (PA-16-198) [NCCIH, NCI, NEI, NHLBI, NIA, NIAAA, NIAID, NIAMS, NIBIB, NICHD, NIDA, NIDCD, NIDCR, NIDDK, NIEHS, NIGMS, NIMH, NINDS, NINR]
  • NIDCR: Short-term Mentored Career Enhancement Award in Dental, Oral and Craniofacial Research for Mid-Career and Senior Investigators (K18) (PAR-16-179)
  • NIMH: Products to Support Applied Research Towards Zero Suicide Healthcare Systems (R43/R44) (PAR-16-185)

Back to this issue’s table of contents.

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

Back to this issue’s table of contents.


Past Newsletters



Browse 40 years of the COSSA Washington Update.