Issue 05 (March 7)


COSSA Endorses March for Science

COSSA has announced that it that it will be partnering with the March for Science, joining more than 25 scientific societies and professional associations who have officially endorsed the March. We are excited to participate in the event in solidarity with other scientists and science enthusiasts as we showcase the important contributions that science, especially the social and behavioral sciences, make to our country and global community. The Washington, DC March is scheduled for April 22 and more than 300 satellite marches are planned in cities around the world.

Like science more generally, the March for Science is nonpartisan. It is not intended as a protest or demonstration against any one party or politician’s position. Instead, the event will be a celebration of science, promoting positive messages about the ways scientific research serves humankind. Those interested in following COSSA’s activities related to the March can sign up to receive periodic email updates.

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The Society for Personality and Social Psychology Answers “Why Social Science?”

why-social-scienceThis week’s Why Social Science? guest post comes from Lisa Sage, contributing writer for the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, with a profile of David Neal, a behavioral psychologist who has been working to improve health outcomes in the developing world. Read it here and subscribe.

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RSVP for COSSA’s Celebration of Social Science Congressional Reception: March 29

COSSA will be hosting a Celebration of Social Science reception on March 29 in conjunction with its 2017 Science Policy Conference. The reception will feature the presentation of the 2017 COSSA Distinguished Service Award to Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Gary Peters (D-MI). The event will take place in the Room 485 of the Russell Senate Office Building, from 6:00-8:00 pm. Please RSVP by March 23.

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COSSA Calls for Congress to Complete FY 2017 Appropriations Process

In a letter to House and Senate appropriators on the Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Subcommittees, COSSA called for speedy completion of the FY 2017 appropriations process. The letter also urges strong appropriations for the National Science Foundation, National Institute of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, and Census Bureau. The letter is available on the COSSA website.

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Archived Webinar Now Available: “Social Science in the Age of Trump: What We’d Like to See”

The archived video of a February 9 webinar, “Social Science in the Age of Trump: What We’d Like to See,” hosted by SAGE Publishing is now available. The webinar featured COSSA Executive Director Wendy Naus in a conversation with Michael Todd, editor of Social Science Space, and touched on the current state of affairs related to the social and behavioral sciences, areas of concern under the Trump Administration, and how researchers and academics can get involved in advocating on behalf of the social sciences. The complete webinar is available to watch here.

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NIA Issues RFIs for Alzheimer’s Disease Bypass Budget and on Enhancing Timely Sharing of Data

The National Institute on Aging (NIA) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has issued two requests for information (RFI). The first is a time-sensitive RFI, Planning for NIA’s FY 2019 Alzheimer’s Disease Bypass Budget (NOT-AG-17-005). The Institute is seeking comments and input for the Institute’s use in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 NIH Alzheimer’s Disease Bypass Budget (ADBB), particularly in identifying and establishing research priorities for the FY 2019 ADBB. The ADBB is congressionally mandated via the FY 2015 Consolidated and Furthering Continuing Appropriations Act. NIH is further mandated to update the ADBB annually through FY 2025. In addition to focusing on basic research on Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD), the FY 2019 ADBB budget will also “propose support for clinical trials and other translational research, including research initiatives focusing on caregivers/caregiving to patients with AD and ADRD.” NIA is further seeking recommendations for additional research areas of emphasis and emerging research needs and/or opportunities. Comments are due March 27, 2017. More information is available in the notice.

The second RFI seeks input on Enhancing Timely Data Sharing from NIA-Funded Studies (NOT-AG-17-001) for comments and recommendations on “ways to enhance the timely sharing of high-quality data generated by NIA-funded studies.” Specifically, the Institute is seeking views “on what, if any, unique considerations exist for sharing of data from NIA-funded research on aging,” including perspectives on obstacles to sharing data experienced by investigators who collect data; successful data sharing; and investigators’ experiences related to analyzing data collected in NIA grants. Comments are due April 15, 2017.

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NIFA Introduces New Behavioral Science Grants Program

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced a new grant program, Behavioral and Experimental Economic Applications for Agri-Environmental Policy Design, within the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Foundational Agriculture Economics and Rural Communities program. The new program is jointly funded with the USDA’s Economic Research Service. For its first round, the new program plans to offer two grants, totaling $500,000 to help “pinpoint motivators that drive farmers to adopt conservation practices and identify the roadblocks that may get in the way.”

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NIA Seeks Applicants for its 2017 Butler-Williams Scholars Program

The National Institute on Aging (NIA) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is accepting applications for its 2017 Butler-Williams Scholars Program. The Institute is particularly interested in receiving applications from emerging researchers, “including those who may have had limited previous involvement in research on aging.” An activity within the NIA Office of Special Populations, the program emphasizes its interest in researchers involved and/or interested in health disparities research related to aging.  Applications are due by March 24th, 2017.

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National Academies to Launch Study on the Future of Food and Agriculture Research; Nominations Sought for Executive Committee

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine announced a new study, Science Breakthroughs 2030: A Strategy for Food and Agriculture Research. The year-long study hopes to “identify ambitious scientific directions in food and agriculture made possible by incorporating knowledge and tools from across the science and engineering spectrum.” The study is sponsored by the Supporters of Agriculture Research (SoAR) Foundation, Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR), and the Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

Nominations are currently being sought for the study’s executive committee, which will author the project’s final consensus report, after seeking input from the broader community in the form of workshops, calls white papers, and online questionnaires. Candidates are being sought from all fields of science and engineering who are “big thinkers with the ability to envision the kind of breakthroughs made possible by interdisciplinary collaboration.” Nominations are due by March 22 and may be submitted here.

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DBASSE Seeks Deputy Executive Director

The Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education (DBASSE) of the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine is seeking a new Deputy Executive Director. More information on the position and application instructions are available here.

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National Academies Releases Report on Dual Language and English Learners

On February 28, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine released Promoting the Educational Success of Children and Youth Learning English: Promising Futures, a report by the Committee on Fostering School Success for English Learners. The report assesses the current state of English language education in the United States and offers recommendations on how to improve learning outcomes for dual language learners (DLLs) and English learners (ELs). Under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), states have a responsibility to address disparities in the educational outcomes of DLLs/ELs.

The report contains 14 recommendations designed to inform policy and offers a research agenda. The Committee recommends standardizing terminology across agencies, that state education agencies examine the relationships between students’ characteristics and English ability, and that the Institute of Educational Sciences within the U.S. Department of Education encourage research on the effects of state ESSA variation on DLLs/ELs. The report also highlights research gaps in understanding DLLs/ELs with disabilities.

This article was contributed by COSSA’s spring intern, Laila Rosenthal of American University.

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Academies Board on Environmental Change and Society Seeking New Members

The Board on Environmental Change and Society (BECS) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine is accepting nominations for new members. BECS focuses on research on interactions between humans and their environment. While members represent disciplines across the social and natural sciences, the Board is particularly interested in candidates with expertise on human-environment interactions, adaptive management, transformative change, and methods for integration of social and natural sciences. More information and instructions on submitting nominations are available on the National Academies website. Nominations are due by March 21.

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LSA Releases Annual Report on Linguistics in Higher Education

The Linguistic Society of America (LSA), a COSSA Governing Member, has issued its fourth Annual Report on the State of Linguistics in Higher Education. The report shows a growing popularity of the linguistics major at four-year colleges and universities, as well as a number of other interesting highlights such as career trends, demographics, and specializations.

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Bracing for a Tough Budget Cycle

The fiscal year (FY) 2017 appropriations process has yet to conclude, but interest is already turning to FY 2018. The Trump Administration has begun releasing limited details on what the President’s FY 2018 budget request could contain when released later this spring. A so-called “skinny budget,” or top-line, department-level outline, is expected to be released next week with full details provided in May.

The President has stated his intent to propose an additional $54 billion in defense spending. Such an increase coupled with promises of middle class tax cuts, corporate tax cuts, a $1 trillion infrastructure plan, and keeping Medicare and Social Security fully intact, leaves non-defense discretionary spending as the only logical target as an offset. Non-defense discretionary spending covers everything in the federal budget that is not defense-related or entitlement programs; it includes funding for scientific research at the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, and dozens of other agencies across the federal government. While funding for science may not be a direct target for cuts by the Administration (it is too soon to tell), the U.S. scientific enterprise would still be significantly harmed by such reductions in non-defense discretionary spending.

Complicating things further are the caps on discretionary spending under which appropriators are forced to operate. In 2015, lawmakers made a deal to raise the spending caps for 2016 and 2017, while maintaining equity between the defense and non-defense sides of the ledger. Without action from Congress this year, top-line budget levels will be even tighter in 2018. Further, it is clear that the Administration has no interest in maintaining balance between defense and non-defense discretionary spending.

Given the ever-increasing divisiveness in Washington and the need to get 60 votes to get most bills passed through the Senate, a possible outcome for funding in the year ahead is a series of continuing resolutions that keeps funding roughly flat and the government open. More will be known as we wade into FY 2018 funding negotiations later this year once the President’s budget is released.

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AAA&S Report Makes Recommendations for Improved U.S. Language Education

On February 28, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAA&S), a COSSA member, released, America’s Languages: Investing in Language Education for the 21st Century, the final report of the Commission on Language Learning. A bipartisan group of U.S. Members of Congress requested that AAA&S establish the Commission in order “to examine the current state of U.S. language education, to project what the nation’s education needs will be in the future, and to offer recommendations for ways to meet those needs.”

The Commission found that only 10 percent of the U.S. population speaks a second language proficiently, a number insufficient to meet either the nation’s current or future demand. At the report release event, Ambassador Nancy McEldowney, Director of the Foreign Service Institute and a Commission member, noted that it is far more cost effective for the U.S. government to hire people who already possess language skills, rather than teaching those skills to its employees. Individuals who can speak a second language exhibit improved cognitive skills and are faster at learning additional languages.

The Commission offered five recommendations for increasing language education, with the ultimate goal of exposing 100 percent of U.S. students to a second language. Paul LeClerc, the Commission’s Chairman and Director of the Columbia University Global Center in Paris, said that a lack of language teachers is the main obstacle to this goal. The report’s first recommendation is increasing the number of language teachers in U.S. schools, which would require considering language instruction as an education priority, equivalent to math education. The Commission suggested two research areas that would aid in this increase: an investigation of the state of language programs at a school district level and evaluation of using digital technology in language instruction. The report also suggests developing higher education consortia to encourage advanced language study and a student loan forgiveness program for language teachers.

The report also recommends increased support for heritage language speakers (those who grow up with a second language at home), Native American languages, study abroad opportunities, and partnerships between public and private language education stakeholders. The Commission released a companion report, The State of Languages in the U.S.: A Statistical Portrait, in December 2016, which contains data backing the final report.

This article was contributed by COSSA’s spring intern, Laila Rosenthal of American University.

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Funding Opportunity Announcements

NIH Opportunities:

  • NCI: Research Answers to NCI’s Provocative Questions (R01) (RFA-CA-17-017), (R21) (RFA-CA-17-018)
  • NIA: The Health and Retirement Study (U01) (RFA-AG-18-005)
  • NIAAA: Alcohol Research Resource Awards (R24) (PAR-17-170)
  • NICHD: NICHD Research Education Programs (R25) (PAR-17-183)
  • NIDA: Advancing Exceptional Research on HIV/AIDS and Substance Abuse (R01) (RFA-DA-18-002)
  • NIDDK: Evaluating Natural Experiments in Healthcare to Improve Diabetes Prevention and Treatment (R18) (PAR-17-178)
  • NIDDK: Planning Grants for Pragmatic Research in Healthcare Settings to Improve Diabetes and Obesity Prevention and Care (R34) (PAR-17-180)
  • NIDDK: Pragmatic Research in Healthcare Settings to Improve Diabetes and Obesity Prevention and Care (R18) (PAR-17-177)
  • NIGMS: Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award for Early Stage Investigators (R35) (PAR-17-190)
  • NIMH: Innovations in HIV Testing, Adherence, and Retention to Optimize HIV Care Continuum Outcomes (R21) (PA-17-181), (R01) (PA-17-182)
  • NIMH: Targeted Implementation Science to Achieve 90/90/90 Goals for HIV/AIDS Prevention and Treatment (R01) (PA-17-194), (R21) (PA-17-195)
  • NIMHD: Limited Competition: NIMHD Endowment Program for Increasing Research and Institutional Resources (S21) (RFA-MD-17-004)
  • NIMHD: NIMHD Specialized Centers of Excellence for Research on Minority Health and Health Disparities (U54) (RFA-MD-17-005)

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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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