Issue 11 (May 31)


House Bill Includes Flat Funding for NSF, Boosts for NIJ, BJS, and Census

On May 24, the House Appropriations Committee approved the fiscal year (FY) 2017 Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (CJS) Appropriations Bill. This bill serves as the vehicle for annual appropriations for the National Science Foundation (NSF), Census Bureau, National Institute of Justice (NIJ), Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), and countless other federal departments and agencies. The Senate Appropriations Committee advanced its version of the CJS bill on April 21.

The House bill would provide NSF with a total budget of $7.4 billion in FY 2017, slightly below the FY 2016 level of $7.46 billion. Most notably, the bill does not include language targeting social science accounts for cuts, as we saw last year. In addition, the House bill would provide NIJ and BJS with $40 million (+11%) and $48 billion (+17%), respectively, and $1.47 billion for the Census Bureau, an increase of 7.3 percent over the FY 2016 level, but 10 percent below the amount requested by the President.

Read on for COSSA’s full analysis.

You can keep up-to-date on the status of FY 2017 funding for social science research agencies on the COSSA website.

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Complete Archive of COSSA Washington Update Now Available

COSSA is pleased to announce that the first 25 volumes of the COSSA Washington Update are now available on the COSSA website, completing the online archive of the newsletter. The archive offers a unique window into nearly 35 years of social and behavioral science policy.

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Senate Appropriations Committee Approves FY 2017 Agriculture Bill

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved its fiscal year (FY) 2017 spending bill for the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies (S. 2956) on May 19 (the bill had marked up in the Subcommittee earlier in the week). The House passed its version of the legislation (H.R. 5054) in April. So far, neither chamber has scheduled the Agriculture appropriations bill for floor consideration, although given that they are relatively uncontroversial, it would not be surprising to see votes on the floor before the summer recess.

The Senate bill would provide the Economic Research Service (ERS) with $86.8 million and the National Agricultural Statistics Service with $169.6 million. These numbers are both slight increases over FY 2016 and the House proposal, but below the Administration’s request. The bill includes $1.4 billion for the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). The House, Senate, and Administration have all recommended a $25 million increase (+7.1%) for NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI).

Read on for the Senate Appropriations Committee’s proposals for Economic Research Service, the National Agricultural Statistics Service, and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

The Committee’s full report can be found here, and audio from the markup is posted on the Committee website.

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OBSSR 2016-2020 Strategic Plan Discussed at NIH Council of Councils

On May 20, National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) Director William Riley updated and received feedback from the NIH Council of Councils regarding the progress of the OBSSR 2016-2020 Strategic Plan. The Council consists of approximately 30 members, selected from the various NIH Institute and Center (IC) Advisory Councils, representatives nominated by the Office of the Director program offices, and broad lay representation. It also advises the NIH Director on matters related to the policies and activities of the Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives (DPCPSI), where OBSSR is housed. (more…)

White House Releases First-Ever Working Group Report on Language and Communication

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy’s (OSTP) National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) Subcommittee on Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences recently released the first ever, Report from the Interagency Working Group on Language and Communication, “an inventory of current programmatic activities across Federal agencies and departments that relate to the scientific and technological aspects of language and communication.” The report explains why the government and the American people benefit from its investments in R&D activities relating to language and communication. A key feature of the report is the Language and Communication R&D Taxonomy providing a “common framework for developing a Language and Communication R&D Inventory Survey for collecting, cataloguing, and classifying the various R&D efforts across the Federal Government.” A main finding of the report, resulting from the application of the taxonomy, is that there are a number of cross-agency leveraging opportunities. It also includes an important recommendation that agencies should identify and develop opportunities to optimize the available Language and Communication R&D resources. The Interagency Working Group is comprised of 20 agencies and departments. It is led by Elizabeth R. Albro, Institute of Education Sciences (Department of Education), and CDR Joseph Cohn, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Research & Engineering).

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John Haaga Named Director of NIA’s Division of Behavioral and Social Research

On March 24, National Institute on Aging (NIA) Director Richard Hodes announced the appointment of John Haaga as director of NIA’s Division of Behavioral and Social Research (BSR). Haaga has served as the Division’s acting director where he has served as deputy director for the past 11 years. Prior to joining NIA, Haaga held leadership positions at the Population Reference Bureau, the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences, the Population Council, and the RAND Corporation.

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Maureen Goodenow Appointed NIH Associate Director for AIDS Research

goodenowOn May 18, National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Francis Collins announced the selection of Maureen M. Goodenow as NIH Associate Director for AIDS Research and Director of the NIH Office of AIDS Research (OAR). Goodenow, currently at the University of Florida, Gainesville, is a professor of pathology, immunology, and laboratory medicine, and the Director of the Florida Center for AIDS Research. She is expected to join the agency in July.

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NSF Accepting Applications for Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences Position

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is accepting applications for the position of Deputy Division Director in the Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences (BCS) within the Directorate for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (SBE). The Deputy Division Director will serve as a member of the BCS leadership team and as the “principal spokesperson in the area of behavioral, cognitive, anthropological and geographic sciences.” More information can be found at USAJOBS. The deadline for applications is June 3, 2016, though applications may be accepted afterwards to ensure a pool of qualified applicants is identified.

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NIMH Seeks Perspectives on the State of Mental Illness Research

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is inviting “perspectives on the state of mental illness research” and the institute’s role in development of the research. The institute is seeking the input of the extramural community to “develop briefing materials that represent the full diversity of perspectives on mental illness research in preparation for the next NIMH director.” Comments are solicited on such topics as: basic neuroscience, translational, intervention, clinical, and services research; Research Domain criteria initiative (RDoc), global mental health, diversity and training of the workforce; advocacy and outreach efforts; and translational biomarkers. Comments are due June 30, 2016. For more information and/or to provide comments, click here.

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NIGMS Solicits Input on Approaches for Supporting Team Science

The National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is seeking input “on team-based scientific research and the manner in which this activity could be supported by the Institute.” Accordingly, NIGMS has issued a request for information (RFI), Approaches for Supporting Team Science in the Biomedical Research Community (NOT-GM-16-107), to assist it in “considering needs and opportunities in team science at the multi-investigator, institutional, regional, and national level.” The Institute plans to examine the “benefits and challenges of team science and is considering how to best support this mode of scientific research.” The RFI notes that team science allows for a level of collaboration that “would not be attainable either by an individual or simply additive efforts of two or more scientists.”

The Institute is interested in comments on the following topics: interest in team science, management and advisory structures in team science, team composition, resources and infrastructure, assessment of team science, and comments on past or current NIGMS team-based programs and funding mechanisms, among others. Comments are due June 17, 2016.

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IES to Hold Webinars on FY 2017 Funding Opportunities

The Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES) has scheduled a series of webinars for individuals interested in fiscal year (FY) 2017 funding opportunities. IES’ National Center for Special Education Research (NCSER) and the National Center for Education Research (NCER) are hosting the free webinars, which will cover a variety of topics, including teachers and instructional personnel, basic overview of research grants, researcher-practitioner partnerships in education, funding opportunities for minority serving institutions, special education research training for early career development and mentoring, the IES application process, research networks focused on critical problems of policy and practice, and grant writing, among others.

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NIA Webinar to Provide Overview of Grants Process

The National Institute of Aging (NIA) recently announced that the institute will host an “NIH 101” webinar explaining the NIH’s grants process to interested researchers. Chyren Hunter, deputy director of NIA’s Division of Extramural Activities and NIA training officer will present the June 14 webinar. Hunter is expected to explain each step of the application and review process. The webinar is part of a series sponsored by the NIA’s Office of Special Populations. The registration form is available here.

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National Science Board Elects New Leadership

On May 24, the National Science Board (NSB) announced that Maria Zuber and Diane Souvaine will serve as the Board’s new Chair and Vice Chair, respectively. Zuber has been a member of the NSB, the governing body for the National Science Foundation (NSF), for four years and is the vice president for research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Zuber’s research includes planetary geophysics and space-based laser and radio systems. Souvaine has been a member of the NSB for two years, is the vice provost for research at Tufts University, and conducts research in computational geometry. Zuber and Souvaine will be replacing Dan Arvizu and Kelvin Droegemeier. More information about Zuber and Souviane’s election is available on the NSB website.

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COSSA Welcomes North Carolina State University

NC StateCOSSA is pleased to welcome North Carolina State University as its newest university member. NC State is a former COSSA affiliate member dating back to the early 1990s. The university receives roughly $6 million annually in federal social science funding. Welcome back NC State!

COSSA’s full membership list can be viewed here.

Information on how to join can be found on the COSSA website.

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Funding Opportunity Announcements

  • AHRQ: Developing New Clinical Decision Support to Disseminate and Implement Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Findings (R18) (PA-16-282)
  • AHRQ: Scaling Established Clinical Decision Support to Facilitate the Dissemination and Implementation of Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Findings (R18) (PA-16-283)


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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