Issue 06 (March 21)


Trump Administration Releases Preliminary Details on FY 2018 Budget

On March 16, the Trump Administration released preliminary, high-level details of its fiscal year (FY) 2018 budget request, referred to as a “skinny budget.” Full budget details are expected sometime in May.

There are few surprises in the President’s “safety and security” budget blueprint. Major reductions are proposed for nondefense discretionary programs (including research accounts) in order to finance $54 billion in increases for the Department of Defense. Of course, to achieve such a reallocation, Congress would need to act to adjust the budget caps that are currently governing defense and nondefense discretionary spending; the President cannot unilaterally shift funds from nondefense accounts to defense under current law.

For now, the budget only includes proposals for Cabinet-level departments and a handful of other “major” agencies. For example, it includes preliminary details for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) (which would take a $6 billion hit) but not for the National Science Foundation (NSF). Instead, NSF appears to be lumped in with “Other Agencies,” which collectively would receive a 10 percent cut in FY 2018 (see the chart below). This DOES NOT necessarily mean that NSF is slated for a 10 percent cut; we will have to wait to see the details in May.

Read on for COSSA’s analysis of the FY 2018 proposal as known so far.

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NAS President Marcia McNutt Answers “Why Social Science?”

why-social-scienceThis week’s Why Social Science guest post comes from Marcia McNutt, President of the National Academy of Sciences, who writes about how social science has helped us learn how to respond to natural disasters. Read it here and subscribe.

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Last Chance to Attend the 2017 COSSA Science Policy Conference

With the COSSA 2017 Science Policy Conference & Social Science Advocacy Day just over a week away, now is your last chance to register. Don’t miss this important opportunity to learn about social science in the Trump Administration, engage with colleagues from across the science and higher education community, and take action in support social and behavioral science! Check the Conference website for the most up-to-date information on Conference speakers, sessions, and logistics.

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COSSA Testimony Calls for Funding for NIH, AHRQ, CDC, Education Programs

On March 8, COSSA submitted testimony to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies for fiscal year (FY) 2018. The testimony calls for increased funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), Institute for Education Sciences (IES), and International Education and Foreign Language Programs (Title VI and Fulbright-Hays).

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OBSSR Director Comments on 2017-2021 Strategic Plan

National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research Director William (Bill) Riley recently released commentaries on the office’s 2017-2021 Strategic Plan three scientific priorities.

  • Priority One: Improve the synergy of basic and applied behavioral and social sciences research
  • Priority Two: Enhance and promote the research infrastructure, methods, and measures needed to support a more cumulative and integrated approach to behavioral and social sciences research
  • Priority Three: Facilitate the adoption of behavioral and social sciences research findings in health research and in practice.

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National Medal of Science, National Medal of Technology and Innovation Nominations Open

Nominations are being accepted for potential recipients of the National Medal of Science and the National Medal of Technology and Innovation. The National Medal of Science recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to knowledge in the physical, biological, mathematical, engineering, or behavioral or social sciences. The National Medal of Technology and Innovation is awarded to individuals, teams, companies, or divisions of companies for contributions to America’s economic, environmental, and social well-being. Nominations for both Medals are due by April 7, 2017. Medal of Science nominations may be submitted here. Medal of Technology and Innovation nominations may be submitted here.

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Ad Hoc Group Issues Statement Responding to the President’s FY 2018 Budget for NIH

COSSA, as a member of the steering committee of the Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research, joined a statement responding to the President’s FY 2018 budget request proposing a 18 percent cut to the NIH’s budget (see related article). The statement calls on “Congress to reject the inexplicable and impractical proposed cuts to NIH and to continue its tradition of investment in medical science.” The Group also stated that it looks “forward to working with lawmakers to finalize an FY 2017 spending package with $34.1 billion for NIH – as approved nearly unanimously by the Senate Appropriations Committee in June 2016. We also urge Congress to continue this budget trajectory with a $2 billion increase over FY 2017 for NIH in FY 2018, in addition to funds included in the 21st Century Cures Act for targeted initiatives.”

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IES Coalition Sends Letter to Appropriations Subcommittee Leadership in Support of Agency

On March 10, COSSA joined the Friends of the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), a coalition of organizations committed to supporting the essential role of IES, on a letter to the Labor, Health, and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee (Labor-HHS) in support of IES. The letter urges the Subcommittee to provide $670 million in funding for IES in fiscal year (FY) 2018. The letter also states that the request, consistent with other scientific coalitions, “builds on the FY 2016 final appropriations, accounting for inflation over the past two years as well as four-percent growth.”

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Friends of NIH Behavioral and Social Sciences Research Submit Statement in Support of OBSSR

On March 9, COSSA, as co-chair of the Friends of NIH Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (Friends of NIH BSSR) with the American Psychological Association (a COSSA founding member), submitted a statement for the record in support of the National Institutes of Health and its Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR). The statement emphasizes that the behavioral and social sciences are integral to the NIH mission and highlights the fact NIH supports behavioral and social science research throughout its 27 institutes and centers. The Friends of NIH BSSR is a coalition of professional organizations, scientific societies, and research institutions concerned with the promotion of and funding for research in the social and behavioral sciences.

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COSSA Members Join March for Science

Several COSSA member organizations, including the American Anthropological Association, American Association of Geographers, American Educational Research Association, American Psychological Association, American Sociological Association, Linguistic Society of America, Society for Social Work and Research, and the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues have partnered with the March for Science. COSSA had previously announced its partnership with the March in February (a complete list of partner organizations is available here). The March will take place on April 22 in Washington, DC and at more than 300 satellite locations 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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House Science Committee Begins Conversation on NSF’s Future

On March 9, the Research and Technology Subcommittee of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee held an oversight hearing to discuss the National Science Foundation (NSF). Witnesses included NSF Director France Córdova and Allison Lerner, NSF’s Inspector General.

Subcommittee Chair Barbara Comstock (R-VA) presided over the hearing, stating that its purpose is to hear an overview of NSF’s activities and priorities in light of the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act (P.L. 114-329), which was signed into law earlier this year and reauthorized a number of NSF functions, including STEM education programs (additional background on the AICA is available by following the above link). (more…)

Senate Committee Holds Hearing: “Saving Lives Through Medical Research”

While Congress has not yet completed its work on fiscal year (FY) 2017 appropriations, Congressional committees have begun holding hearing on agencies’ FY 2018 budgets. On March 8, the Senate Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS) held a hearing, “Saving Lives Through Medical Research,” to discuss the budget of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Hearing witnesses included Thomas J. Grabowski, Jr., University of Washington School of Medicine; Timothy J. Eberlein, Washington University, St. Louis; Jennifer M. Sasser, University of Mississippi Medical Center; and Stacey Schultz-Cherry, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. (more…)

House Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Lawmakers’ Priorities

Reviving the Appropriations Committee’s tradition of holding hearings to allow members of Congress to testify on their priorities within a subcommittee’s jurisdiction, on March 1, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS) heard testimony from Members of Congress on their priorities for fiscal year (FY) 2018. Throughout the course of the hearing, Subcommittee Chairman Tom Cole (R-OK) and Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) continually urged members to “continue to advocate for their priorities.” Otherwise, Cole cautioned, the Subcommittee would have to “live within the allocation” it is given by the budget committee. If the Subcommittee has to adjust to an $18 to $20 billion reduction in its allocation as a result of $54 billion increase in funding allotted to fund the Department of Defense under the President’s proposed FY 2018 budget (see related article), “no part of this budget can escape unscathed,” Cole declared. (more…)

Funding Opportunity Announcements

  • FDA: Advancing Conformance with the Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards (VNRFRPS) (U18) (RFA-FD-17-007)

NIH opportunities: 

  • NCI: Revision Applications to NCI-supported R01 Awards to Include Research on the NCI’s Provocative Questions (R01) (RFA-CA-17-019), (U01) (RFA-CA-17-020), (P01) (RFA-CA-17-021), (P50) (RFA-CA-17-022)
  • NHLBI: Sleep Health and Circadian Biology in HIV-Related Comorbidities (R01) (RFA-HL-18-005)
  • NIBIB: Enhancing Science, Technology, EnginEering, and Math Educational Diversity (ESTEEMED) Research Education Experiences (R25) (PAR-17-221)
  • NIH/FDA: Center for Coordination of Analytics, Science, Enhancement , and Logistics (CASEL) in Tobacco Regulatory Science (U54) (RFA-OD-17-002) [FDA Center for Tobacco Products, NIH: National Institute on Drug Abuse and Office of Disease Prevention]
  • NIH/FDA: Tobacco Centers of Regulatory Science for Research Relevant to the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (U54) (RFA-OD-17-003) [NIH: NCI, NHLBI, NIDA, NIEHS, ODP; FDA: Center for Tobacco Products]

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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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