Issue 05 (March 6)


NSF Releases Additional Details of FY 2019 Budget Request

On February 28, full details of the President’s fiscal year (FY) 2019 budget request for the National Science Foundation (NSF) were released. Preliminary details were unveiled on February 12 with the rest of the President’s FY 2019 budget.

The President’s request includes a total of $7.5 billion for NSF in FY 2019, which is flat with the FY 2017 enacted level (Note: FY 2018 appropriations have not yet been completed, so comparisons are made to the last enacted level). As previously reported, prior to enactment last month of a bipartisan budget deal to raise discretionary spending caps, the Administration’s budget proposal for NSF was $5.3 billion, a nearly 30 percent cut to the agency. Unfortunately, the newly released details show that the additional funding associated with raising the caps would not be spread evenly across the foundation. Instead, the request seeks to reprioritize funds toward NSF’s Big Ideas initiatives at the expense of several existing programs and activities. Of particular concern is the disproportionate treatment of the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences Directorate (SBE) in the request, which would see a cut of 9.1 percent from FY 2017 (11.2 percent to its research and education activities). This is compared to the other directorates that would be held flat or cut by one or two percent.

Read on for COSSA’s full analysis of the NSF FY 2019 Budget Request.

Back to this issue’s table of contents.

The Council on Social Work Education and The Society for Social Work and Research Answer “Why Social Science?”

why-social-scienceThis month’s Why Social Science? guest post comes from Darla Spence Coffey, President & CEO of the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), and James Herbert Williams, Past President of the Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR), who kick of Social Work Month by writing about the contributions social work research has made to enhancing human well-being. Read it here and subscribe.

Back to this issue’s table of contents.

Sian Beilock, President of Barnard, to Keynote COSSA Conference; Other Speakers Announced

COSSA has announced that Sian Beilock will deliver the keynote address for the COSSA 2018 Science Policy Conference on April 30. Beilock is the 8th president of Barnard College and a psychologist who studies how children and adults learn and perform at their best, especially under stress. She is the author of Choke: What the Secrets of the Brain Reveal about Getting It Right When You Have To (2010) and How the Body Knows Its Mind: The Surprising Power of the Physical Environment to Influence How You Think and Feel (2015).

COSSA has also released information about some of the plenary sessions that will be held during the Conference. A panel entitled “Post Truth: Communicating Facts, Not Fiction” will feature Cary Funk, Director of Science and Society Research at the Pew Research Center, and Melanie Green, Associate Professor Communication at the University at Buffalo. Another panel, on “Reestablishing Trust in Social Science & Data” will feature Arthur “Skip” Lupia, Hal R. Varian Collegiate Professor of Political Science at the University of Michigan, and Brian Nosek, Professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia and Executive Director of the Center for Open Science.

With the Conference is less than two months away, register today to ensure your spot! Remember: All participants affiliated with COSSA member organizations and universities are eligible for a discount on Conference registration, and undergraduate and graduate students can register for only $50. Email for more information.

Back to this issue’s table of contents.

National Institute of Justice Seeking Peer Reviewers

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ), the research and evaluation agency of the Department of Justice, is seeking to expand its pool of peer reviewers. NIJ’s grant making process relies on scientists and criminal justice practitioners to provide expertise and feedback on the scientific rigor and merit of applications. NIJ is specifically seeking research and technical experts in the following areas: human trafficking, firearms violence, mass shootings, school safety, terrorism, gangs, persistently violent communities, and hate crime. More information about becoming a peer reviewer can be found on the NIJ website.

Back to this issue’s table of contents.

AAAS Accepting Nominations for Awards and Prizes

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has opened the nominations process for several of its annual awards and prizes that recognize significant contributions to science and the public’s understanding of science. The awards and prizes currently accepting nominations include:

  • AAAS Award for Public Engagement with Science – Recognizes scientists and engineers who have made outstanding contributions to the popularization of science (Nominations accepted through August 1, 2018)
  • AAAS Early Career Award for Public Engagement with Science – Recognizes early-career scientists and engineers who have demonstrated excellence in their contributions to public engagement with science activities (Nominations accepted through August 1, 2018)
  • AAAS Award for Science Diplomacy – Recognizes an individual, or team of individuals, in the scientific and engineering or foreign affairs communities making an outstanding contribution to furthering science diplomacy (Nominations accepted through August 1, 2018)
  • AAAS Award for Scientific Freedom and Responsibility – Honors scientists, engineers, and their organizations whose exemplary actions have served to foster scientific freedom and responsibility (Nominations accepted through August 31, 2018)
  • AAAS Mentor Award & Mentor Award for Lifetime Achievement – Honors individuals who during their careers demonstrate extraordinary leadership to increase the participation of underrepresented groups in science and engineering fields and careers (Nominations accepted through August 15, 2018)
  • AAAS Newcomb Cleveland Prize – Awarded to the author or authors of an outstanding paper published in the Research Articles or Reports sections of Science that includes original research data, theory, or synthesis; is a fundamental contribution to basic knowledge or is a technical achievement of far-reaching consequence; and is a first-time publication of the author’s own work (Nominations accepted through June 30, 2018)
  • AAAS Philip Hauge Abelson Prize – Recognizes an individual who has made exceptional contributions to the advancement of science as a public servant, or a scientist who has been distinguished for both scientific achievement and other notable services to the scientific community (Nominations accepted through August 1, 2018)

Back to this issue’s table of contents.

DC Social Science Team Highlights Research on Improving District Programs

On Tuesday, February 27, The Lab @ DC hosted its latest event, The Forum @ DC, at the University of the District of Columbia. The Lab @ DC is a team of social scientists within the District of Columbia government that conducts scientific evaluations and collects academic research related to the District to design policy interventions that help improve the quality of life for citizens of DC. During the event, researchers presented current studies that could have potential impacts on DC programs and policies. These researchers represented a variety of fields but emphasis was placed on social science and data science.

The first panel was on the topic of “World Class Education in All 8 Wards.” Some highlights of the panel included a study by Veronica Katz, a research associate at the University of Virginia, showing that teacher turnover rates do not always have negative effects on student achievement if the exiting teachers are low-performing. Afiya Mbilishaka, a researcher at the University of the District of Columbia, discussed her findings on the negative psychological effects of biased school rules against African American women’s hair. Panel two, “Healthy Living in All 8 Wards,” was related to health research in DC. This panel featured George Washington University’s Emily Morrison on the impact of broken sidewalks on older citizen’s health; Whitman-Walker Health’s Guillaume Rene Bagal III on the importance of legal assistance services for those living with HIV; and Georgetown University’s Kruti Vekaria on strategies to encourage positive behaviors like bone marrow donations using behavioral insights into future decision-making.

A panel on “Pathways to the Middle Class,” focused on economic inequality in DC. Sonya Grier from American University explained the negative impact gentrification has on community engagement. Sally Hudson from the University of Virginia studied the impact of the Susan Thompson Buffet Foundation’s financial aid packages on college enrollment, and found that awards for undergraduates cut the dropout rate by senior year in half, but there was no impact on bachelor’s degree completion for students who took more than four years to finish their studies. The final panel, “A Safer, Stronger DC,” provided information on crime and violence prevention. It included presentations by Michelle Chatman of the University of the District of Columbia on restorative justice, mindfulness, and equity education for youth, and by David Yokum, Director of The Lab @ DC, on the effects of police use of body-worn-cameras.

Learn more about the activities of The Lab @ DC on their website.

This article was contributed by COSSA’s spring intern, Dakota Leonard of Arizona State University.

 Back to this issue’s table of contents.


Past Newsletters



Browse 40 years of the COSSA Washington Update.