Issue 03 (February 6)


Senate Commerce Committee Hears Updates from NSF, NIST Leaders

The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation featured Dr. France Córdova, Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF), and Dr. Walter Copan, Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), in a hearing on January 30 to examine the implementation of the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act (AICA). AICA was signed into law during the final days of the Obama Administration in January 2017. AICA’s priorities included maximizing basic research, improving STEM education, and encouraging commercialization and technology transfer opportunities. Both NSF and NIST have taken many steps toward implementing the law including increasing oversight and accountability at both agencies and emphasizing the priorities of the act at their agencies. Dr. Córdova’s written testimony included a complete analysis of the steps NSF has taken to comply with the policy directives in the AICA.

During the hearing, Senators from both parties expressed concern about the U.S. being surpassed by China and other countries in terms of funding for science and innovation and called for continued diligence on the part of Congress and federal science agencies to maintain the U.S.’s position as the world’s leading innovator. Many Senators also discussed the importance of extending research opportunities and STEM education to diverse populations including community colleges, colleges and universities in EPSCoR states, minority communities, and women.

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COSSA Kicks Off the Second Year of “Why Social Science?”

why-social-scienceTo commemorate the beginning of a new year of Why Social Science?, Wendy Naus, COSSA Executive Director, shared some of the many ways the social and behavioral sciences inform the work of policymakers and other government officials. Read it here and subscribe.

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Catch Up on COSSA’s Advocacy Twitter Chat with MPSA

On January 23, COSSA co-hosted a Twitter chat with the Midwest Political Science Association (MPSA), a COSSA governing member, that shared tips for social scientists who would like to become more involved in advocacy. You can read a recap of the conversation here.

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Government Funding Remains Uncertain; Another Stopgap Likely

Four months after fiscal year (FY) 2018 began, Congress seems no closer to appropriating funds for the remainder of the fiscal year or agreeing on top-line spending levels. The government is currently operating under a short-term Continuing Resolution (CR) until February 8 and some Congressional leaders are considering a fifth CR that could fund the government into March. Larger policy debates, including immigration, have created a stalemate that must be resolved before spending levels or FY 2018 appropriations can be finalized. Further complicating this dynamic is the fact that Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ), Chair of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, announced that he will retire at the end of this Congress after leading the committee for only one year, injecting even more confusion into an already uncertain future of Congressional appropriations.

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OBSSR Soliciting Papers for 11th Annual Matilda White Riley Honors

The Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is seeking paper submissions for its Early Stage Investigator Paper Competition as part of the 11th Annual Matilda White Riley Behavioral and Social Science Honors. Early stage investigators are encouraged to submit one published article from 2017 that reflects social and behavioral science advancements helping to enhance life, lengthen life, reduce illness, and reduce disability. Honorees will present their findings on May 31, 2018 in a public event on the NIH campus. Submissions are due by February 18 and more information can be found on the OBSSR website.

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National Science Board Releases Policy Statement on U.S. STEM-Capable Workforce

On February 1, the National Science Board (NSB), the governing body of the National Science Foundation (NSF),  released a companion policy statement to the 2018 Science and Engineering Indicators entitled “Our Nation’s Future Competitiveness Relies on Building a STEM-Capable U.S. Workforce.” The statement highlights the Board’s view that growing the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workforce is critical to our economy and global competitiveness. The NSB also emphasized in its statement that STEM is not just for researchers with advanced degrees, but for all Americans and all segments of our population. More details can be found on the NSB website.

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ASA Launches New “Count on Stats” Initiative

The American Statistical Association (ASA), a COSSA governing member, has launched a new initiative called Count on Stats to “enhance awareness about the importance, reliability, and trustworthiness of government data” and defend the federal statistical system against political attacks. ASA’s partners in the initiative include COSSA governing members the American Association for Public Opinion Research, the American Educational Research Association, and the American Sociological Association. More information about the program is available on ASA’s website.

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