Issue 01 (January 10)


From the Executive Director

Happy New Year! I am pleased with all that we were able to accomplish over the last year as we worked to protect and promote social and behavioral science research to policy makers and the public. But heading into this new chapter in Washington, it is important that we do not rest on our laurels. Given all of the unknowns about the year ahead and what the new political context might mean for social science research, now is the time for anyone who cares about our research to engage.

COSSA has been busy organizing several activities and events for this year aimed at showcasing the value our sciences bring to issues of interest to decision makers across the government. A number of these activities are highlighted below, including the 2017 COSSA Science Policy Conference and Social Science Advocacy Day on March 29-30 and COSSA’s Ten Recommendations for the 45th President of the United States. Watch for additional activities throughout the year.

It’s time to get to work – I look forward to engaging with you as we continue our efforts on behalf of social and behavioral science research. And as always, thank you for your support of COSSA!

Wendy A. Naus
COSSA Executive Director

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Early Bird Registration Open for 2017 COSSA Science Policy Conference & Social Science Advocacy Day

Registration is now open for the 2017 COSSA Science Policy Conference and Social Science Advocacy Day, scheduled for March 29-30 in Washington, DC. This event (formerly the COSSA Annual Meeting) brings together COSSA members and other stakeholders for a day of discussion about federal policy impacting our science followed by the only annual, coordinated advocacy day in support of all of the social and behavioral sciences. Come be part of the action. Register before January 15 to receive the early bird rate. Information on discounted student rates and confirmed speakers will be released in the coming weeks. Register today!

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COSSA Issues Recommendations to the Incoming Trump Administration

transition-doc-coverBefore the holiday break, COSSA transmitted a report to the Trump transition team, Social and Behavioral Science Research: Ten Recommendations for the 45th President of the United States. The report outlines a number of steps the next Administration can take to support the U.S. research enterprise and use social science research in support of evidence-based policy making. This document can also be helpful in outreach to policy makers in Congress as well. The document is available on the COSSA website at

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COSSA Releases State Funding Fact Sheets for 2017

fact-sheets-coverCOSSA has released the 2017 edition of its state funding fact sheets with a new look. These one-pagers showcase the amount of federal social science research funding that goes to each state, and includes information on the leading recipient institutions and sources of funding. The fact sheets are helpful for articulating to policy makers the local economic impact of social science research funding. The fact sheets are available on the COSSA website at

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A Profile of the 115th Congress

The 115th Congress was officially sworn in on January 3. The new Congress includes a freshman class of 53 Representatives (26 Republicans and 27 Democrats) and 6 Senators (1 Republican and 5 Democrats). Republicans maintained majorities in both chambers following the November elections, but with smaller margins than in the 114th Congress. The party alignment in the House currently stands at 241 Republicans and 194 Democrats, compared to the Republican majority of 249 in the 114th Congress. The party alignment in the Senate stands at 52 Republicans and 48 Democrats (the two Senate Independents caucus with the Democrats), compared to the Republican majority of 54 seats in the 114th Congress.

While both chambers of Congress are still overwhelmingly white (339 in the House and 90 in the Senate) and male (348 in the House and 79 in the Senate), the 115th Congress will be the most diverse in history. It will also be one of the most educated Congresses in history with 234 members of the House and 57 members of the Senate holding advanced degrees. A large majority in both chambers have held different public offices before their election to Congress (191 in the House, 44 in the Senate), were involved in business (178 in the House, 29 in the Senate), or practiced law (156 in the House, 50 in the Senate). Notably, there are 5 members of the House who self-identified as having occupations in science as well as 77 members of the House and 20 members of the Senate who self-identified as having occupations in education before their election to Congress.

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House and Senate Committees Take Shape

Several committee chairs and ranking members have been announced in recent weeks, including for committees and subcommittees overseeing funding and policy issues important to social and behavioral science research. These appointments will have important impacts on the priorities and activities of the committees over the next year. A few notable appointments known so far:

House Appropriations Committee
Chairman: Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) (press release)
Ranking Member: Nita Lowey (D-NY), reappointed

Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science
Chairman: John Culberson (R-TX), reappointed
Ranking Member: TBD

Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education
Chairman: Tom Cole (R-OK), reappointed
Ranking Member: Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), reappointed

Senate Appropriations Committee
Chairman: Thad Cochran (R-MS), reappointed
Ranking Member: Pat Leahy (D-VT) (minority press release)

Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science
Chairman: Richard Shelby (R-AL)
Ranking Member: TBD

Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science
Chairman: Roy Blunt (R-MO)
Ranking Member: Patty Murray (D-WA)

House Science, Space and Technology Committee
Chairman: Lamar Smith (R-TX), reappointed
Ranking Member: Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), reappointed

Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee
Chairman: John Thune (R-SD), reappointed
Ranking Member: Bill Nelson (D-FL), reappointed

Subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness
Chairman: Ted Cruz (R-TX)
Ranking Member: Gary Peters (D-MI)

House Energy and Commerce Committee
Chairman: Greg Walden (R-OR), (press release)
Ranking Member: Frank Pallone (D-NJ), reappointed

Subcommittee on Health
Chairman: TBD
Ranking Member: Gene Green (D-TX)

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Innovation Legislation Signed into Law

As previously reported, lawmakers worked in the final weeks of 2016 to find common ground on research innovation legislation, known as the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act (S. 3084), before adjourning for the year. The bill passed the Senate in early December, but did not get a House vote before lawmakers headed home for the holidays. However, given that the House had not yet officially adjourned for the year, the bill was quietly passed on December 16 in pro forma session along with a number of other bills under suspension of the rules. President Obama signed the bill into law on January 6, 2017.

The resulting law includes variety of science policy provisions covering topics such as the National Science Foundation’s merit review process, STEM education, and administrative burden, among others. In general, it is a positive bill for research, especially compared to earlier versions considered in the House. It is important to note, however, that while the original purpose of earlier legislation in the House and Senate was to authorize funding for NSF for the years ahead, agreement could not be reached on overall levels and therefore negotiators elected to keep numbers out the bill. That means that NSF’s authorization is still expired (since 2013) and the House Science, Space and Technology Committee (under the leadership of Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX)) may very well introduce another NSF authorization bill in the new Congress. COSSA will continue to follow such efforts.

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Congressman Mick Mulvaney Nominated for OMB Director

On December 16, President-elect Donald Trump nominated Congressman Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) to serve as the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in the Trump Administration. Mulvaney made a name for himself during his three terms in the House as an outspoken opponent of government spending.

OMB serves as the implementation and enforcement arm of Presidential policy through budget development, oversight of agency performance, legislative coordination, and oversight of executive orders. If confirmed by the Senate, Mulvaney will have broad responsibilities implementing President-elect Trump’s agenda, including a central role in health care and tax policy changes, as well as the repeal of government regulations.

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Census Bureau Establishes 2020 Advisory Committee, Calls for Nominations

The Census Bureau announced the establishment of a Census Bureau 2020 Advisory Committee, which will provide expertise and advice to Bureau leadership on matters related to the planning and implementation of the 2020 decennial census. The Bureau is seeking nominations to fill the 25-member Committee, particularly candidates with expertise related to “diverse populations; national, state, local and tribal interest; hard-to-count populations; research; community-based organizations; academia; business interests; marketing and media industries; and professional associations.” More information is available in the Federal Register notice. Nominations must be submitted by January 19, 2017.

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National Library of Medicine Seeks Input into Strategic Planning Process

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is seeking input into its strategic planning process and has issued a Request for Information (RFI): Strategic Plan for the National Library of Medicine, NIH (NOT-LM-7-002). Priorities and future direction under consideration by the Institute revolve around four themes: (1) advancing data science, open science, and biomedical informatics; (2) advancing biomedical discovery and translational science; (3) supporting the public’s health: clinical systems, public health systems and services, and personal health; and (4) building collections to support discovery and health in the 21st century. Specifically, NLM is inviting input “on the most audacious goals and the most compelling questions that could potentially drive innovation in research and information systems for the next decade and beyond.” The deadline for responding to the RFI has been extended to January 23, 2017. To respond and/or for more information see the notice.

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Federal Agencies Clarify Programmatic Goals and Specific Interests for Multiscale Modeling Initiative

In December 2016, seven federal agencies–National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Army Research Office (ARO), Department of Energy (DOE), U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), National Science Foundation (NSF), and the Office of Naval Research (ONR)–released a notice (NOT-EB-16-011) clarifying the programmatic goals and specific interests of the interagency funding opportunity announcement Predictive Multiscale Models for Biomedical, Biological, Behavioral, Environmental and Clinical Research (PAR-15-085).  See the notice for full details.

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COSSA Remembers Stephen Fienberg

COSSA was saddened to learn of the death of Stephen E. Fienberg, University Professor of Statistics and Social Science at Carnegie Mellon University, member of the National Academy of Sciences, and a champion of federal statistics. More about Fienberg’s life and legacy can be found in his Carnegie Mellon News obituary.

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Funding Opportunity Announcements

NIH Opportunities:

  • FIC: Planning for Non-Communicable Diseases and Disorders Research Training Programs in Low and Middle Income Countries (D71) (PAR-17-097)
  • NIDA/NIMH: Implementation Science for the Prevention and Treatment of Mental and/or Substance use Disorders in Low- and Middle-income Countries (U01) (RFA-MH-17-650)
  • NIGMS: Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (R35) (PAR-17-094)
  • NIH: Administrative Supplements for Research on Sexual and Gender Minority (SGM) Populations (Admin Supp) (PA-17-098) [NCATS, NCCIH, NCI, NHGRI, NIA, NIAAA, NIAID, NIAMS, NIDA, NIDCD, NIDCR, NIMH, NIMHD, NINR, OAR, ODP, ORWH]
  • NIH: Jointly Sponsored Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award for Institutional Predoctoral Training Programs in the Neurosciences (T32) (PAR-17-096) [NINDS, NIA, NIDA, NIGMS, NIMH]
  • NIH: Research on the Health of Women of Underrepresented, Understudied and Underreported (U3) Populations An ORWH FY17 Administrative Supplement (Admin Supp) (PA-17-101) [ORWH, NCATS, NEI, NHGRI, NHLBI, NIAAA, NIAID, NBIB, NICHD, NIDA, NIDCD, NIDCR, NIDDK, NIEHS, NIGMS, NIMH, NIMHD, NINDS, NINR, OBSSR, ODP]
  • NIMHD: Notice of Intent to Publish a Funding Opportunity Announcement for NIMHD Specialized Centers of Excellence for Research on Minority Health and Health Disparities (U54) (NOT-MD-17-001)

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National Communication Association Announces Next Executive Director

The National Communication Association (NCA), a COSSA Governing Member, has announced the appointment of Dr. Paaige K. Turner as its next Executive Director. Turner is currently Associate Dean and Professor in the School of Communications at Webster University in St. Louis. She will begin her tenure at NCA on April 1.

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AERA Extends Deadline for Congressional Fellowships

The American Educational Research Association (AERA), a COSSA Governing Member, has extended the deadline for the 2017-2018 Congressional Fellowship Program. Applications are due January 17, 2017 for fellowships that run from September 1, 2017 through August 31, 2018. The fellowship aims to “use education research skills to inform public policy in a Congressional office in Washington, D.C.” Interested candidates can apply here.

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Events Calendar

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