Issue 04 (February 21)


COSSA Conference Agenda Released; Hotel Block Rate Expires Feb. 28

The preliminary agenda for the 2017 COSSA Science Policy Conference & Social Science Advocacy Day on March 29-30 is now available. Featured speakers include University of California, Berkeley sociologist Arlie R. Hochschild and John Sides of the Washington Post’s Monkey Cage blog. Other sessions will highlight topics including Mobilizing Students as Ambassadors for Social Science, Promoting Your Expertise with National Media Outlets, Social Science in Government Service, and Advocating from Home. Register today! Don’t forget: participants from COSSA member organizations and universities are eligible to receive a discount on registration. Email for details.

For those planning to travel to the Conference from out of town, the conference hotel block rate expires on February 28. Book your room at the Hilton Garden Inn Washington DC/U.S. Capitol before prices go up next week! Use this link when booking to get the block rate or book over the phone and use the SRP code SCI.

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The American Anthropological Association Answers “Why Social Science?”

why-social-scienceThis week’s Why Social Science? guest post comes from Anne Kelsey, marketing and communications manager for the American Anthropological Association, who, in honor of Anthropology Day, writes about anthropology’s contributions to helping solve some of this century’s most pressing challenges. Read it here and subscribe.

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COSSA 2016 Annual Report Now Available

COSSA has released its 2016 Annual Report, which highlights some of COSSA’s activities and successes over the past year. Click here to read the report and learn how your organization can become a member of COSSA. Annual reports from previous years are available on the COSSA website.

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COSSA Joins Scientific Community in Urging Approval of NIH FY 2017 Budget

On February 7, COSSA joined 260 patient, medical, scientific, academic, and research organizations of the Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research in sending a joint letter and fact sheet to the President and the House and Senate leadership. The letter urges the enactment of a final FY 2017 spending package that includes $34.1 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Federal agencies and programs are currently operating under a continuing resolution that expires on April 28.

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Congressional Committees Organize, Begin Hearings

Several committee and subcommittee rosters have been announced in the recent weeks, including for committees overseeing federal funding and policy issues important to social and behavioral science research. Notable committee rosters include House and Senate Appropriations; House Science, Space, and Technology Democrats and Republicans; and Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation. The House Energy and Commerce Committee, which is responsible for health policy, and the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee have also announced their committee membership.

New committee leadership of note for social and behavioral science research funding include new House Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Subcommittee Ranking Member Jose Serrano (D-NY) and new Senate Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Subcommittee Ranking Member Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH).

After officially organizing (which includes welcoming new members and approving the committee rules), committees began holding hearings and announcing their priorities for the coming year. While Senate committees have been primarily focused on vetting presidential nominees, House committees have been releasing oversight and authorization reports, which include their priorities for the 115th Congress. The Science, Space, and Technology oversight report can be found here, and the Energy and Commerce oversight report can be found here. The Science Committee oversight report in particular outlines the committee’s plans for oversight of the National Science Foundation, noting that the committee will seek to “increase support for basic research in the physical sciences,” adding that “these are the areas with the greatest potential for breakthroughs to new industries and U.S. jobs.” Social science is likely to continue to face challenges in the Science Committee this year, despite the efforts of strong champions in the minority. A webcast of the Science Committee’s first hearing of the year is available here.

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Tom Price Confirmed as Secretary of Department of Health and Human Services

Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), an orthopedic surgeon and a six-term member of the House of Representatives, was confirmed as Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) by a party-line vote of 52 to 47 in the late hours of February 10. Price, who most recently served as chair of the House Budget Committee, is fiscally conservative and is considered a stern foe of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and abortion rights. However, he has been mostly supportive of increasing funding for federal research agencies, including the National Institutes of Health, which is one of the agencies under HHS’ jurisdiction. Rep. Diane Black (R-TN) has been named interim chair of the House Budget Committee.

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NSF Director’s Monthly Message Outlines Big Ideas, Highlights Antarctic Program

In her January Monthly Message, Dr. France Cordova, Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF), shared a video outlining the Six Big Ideas for Future NSF Investment and an update on the status of research in these areas. The six “Big Ideas” serve as bold and broad questions to help direct NSF’s long-term research agenda and ensure that future generations will reap the benefits of fundamental scientific research.

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Date Change: 10th Matilda White Riley Behavioral and Social Sciences Honors

The date for the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) 10th Matilda White Riley Behavioral and Social Sciences Honors has been changed to April 25 on the NIH campus. The Honors program pays tribute to the “research trajectory and continuing influence of Dr. Matilda White Riley in the behavioral and social sciences across and beyond” the NIH. For more information about the program see the NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research’s website.

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National Academies’ Global Change Research Advisory Committee Accepting Nominations

The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine’s Committee to Advise the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) is soliciting nominations for new members. The Committee, whose expertise spans the physical, ecological, and social science of global change, advises the USGCRP and supports climate communication activities across the Academies. Members serve three-year terms, with an option to reappoint after the first term. The Academies are particularly interested in candidates with expertise in extreme event risk and human dimensions of global change, among other fields. Nominations are due on March 15, 2017 and can be submitted by filling out this form.

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Funding Opportunity Announcements

  • NICHD/NINR: Research to Address Sleep Disorders in the Context of Medical Rehabilitation (R01) (PAR-17-163)
  • NIMH: Formative and Pilot Intervention Research for Prevention and Treatment of HIV/AIDS (R34) (PA-17-166)
  • NIMH: Research to Support the Reduction and Elimination of Mental Health Disparities (Admin Supp) (PA-17-165)

NIH Concept Clearances:

  • NIDCR: Interdisciplinary Collaborations to Promote Research in Oral Health and Aging: This initiative is designed accelerate “research that will improve the oral health of older adults by addressing knowledge gaps in the etiology and management of dental, oral, and craniofacial disease associated with aging.”
  • NIGMS: NIGMS-Specific Predoctoral T32 Training Program: The new FOA is an effort by NIGMS to “improve the Institute’s ability to promote and monitor the modernization of biomedical graduate training and to enhance the diversity of the biomedical research enterprise.” The FOA will be published in the NIH Guide in September 2017.
  • NIGMS: Collaborative Program Grant: NIGMS is developing a mechanism designed to support research that cannot be accomplished using individual, multiple principle investigators, or maximizing investigators’ research award (MIRA) awards, which will “address research questions of significant complexity, scope, and biomedical impact; foster integrated and collaborative research teams; train and mentor new scientists in team science approaches; and strengthen scientific communities and advance scientific problems through coordinated research effort.”
  • NIGMS: Science Policy Collaboration with NSF SciSIP Program: NIGMS plans to develop a joint program of NIGMS’ Scientific Workforce Analysis and Modeling (SWAM) program and the National Science Foundation’s Science of Science & Innovation Policy (SciSIP) program, which will include the NSF solicitation in the NIH Guide Notice and a joint review with program directors from both agencies assessing reviewed applications. The first awards would be due in October 2017.

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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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