Issue 01 (January 8)


Government Shutdown Continues into Third Week, Leaving Uncertainty for FY 2019

The partial government shutdown has stretched into its third week, leaving many government agencies, including the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Department of the Interior, and the Census Bureau, shuttered. Unlike government shutdowns of the recent past, this shutdown is not related to disputed funding levels, but rather policy disagreements and political maneuvering. This means that we already have an idea of what the final funding numbers will be once the policy impasse has cleared, as Congress has already negotiated most of its appropriations bills. Once funding is finalized, COSSA will release an analysis reviewing the fiscal year (FY) 2019 outcomes for programs and agencies important to the social and behavioral sciences.

On January 3, the new Democratic leadership in the House proposed, and easily passed, an omnibus spending bill for the unfunded agencies that also allowed another month of debate on border security funding. It seems unlikely that the Senate will vote on the proposal and even more unlikely to receive a signature from the President. Read more about the appropriations bills important to social and behavioral science and the already finalized FY 2019 appropriations on the COSSA website.

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Early Bird Registration Opens for Social Science Advocacy Day

Early bird registration is now underway for COSSA’s 2019 Social Science Advocacy Day. COSSA’s annual spring event will be dedicated entirely to Social Science Advocacy Day in 2019. This year’s Social Science Advocacy Day will include a kickoff session featuring a special guest speaker (to be announced in the coming weeks), a half-day of intensive context setting and advocacy preparation, COSSA’s annual Celebration of Social Science Rooftop Reception, and a full day of meetings on Capitol Hill.

Take advantage of our Early Bird discount and register by February 1 for only $75! Graduate and undergraduate students are eligible to register for a reduced rate of $25.  Advocacy Day is open exclusively to individuals employed by or affiliated with COSSA member organizations. Individuals from non-member organizations can learn more about how their organization can join COSSA here.

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Register for January’s Headlines Webchat Featuring a Deep Dive on Advocacy Resources

headlines bannerCOSSA members are encouraged to sign up for the monthly Headlines webchat on January 10 at 2:00 pm Eastern, in which COSSA staff will recap the most important social and behavioral science news from the past month and answer participants’ questions. The January chat will feature a deep dive discussion on COSSA’s legislative agenda for 2019 and resources for advocates. Individuals employed by or affiliated with a COSSA member organization or university can register for the webchat here.

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Evidence-Based Policymaking Bill Awaiting President’s Signature

After languishing in the Senate for over a year, the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act (H.R. 4174) was passed by both chambers in the last days of 2018 and is currently awaiting the President’s signature. The President has until January 14 to sign the bill into law. The legislation, which is intended to be a “down-payment” enacting some of the less complicated (and less controversial) recommendations of the report from the Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking (see COSSA’s coverage and statement), contains some minor changes from the version passed by the House in November 2017 but generally conforms to the recommendations of the Commission. It contains four titles: (I) enhancing federal evidence-building activities; (II) enacting the OPEN Government Data Act introduced by Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA) and Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI); (III) reauthorizing and enhancing the Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act (CIPSEA); and (IV) general provisions to ensure that the directions in the bill comport with existing laws and requirements. The Bipartisan Policy Center has published a summary of the Act and a crosswalk between its provisions and the recommendations of the Commission.

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Droegemeier and Dillingham Confirmed in Final Hours of 115th Congress

In the final hours of the 115th Congress on January 2, the Senate confirmed nearly 80 presidential nominations, including Kelvin Droegemeier to lead the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and Steven Dillingham to lead the U.S. Census Bureau. Dr. Droegemeier holds a Ph.D. in atmospheric science, has served on the faculty of the University of Oklahoma, as the university’s vice president for research, and as Vice Chair of the National Science Board. Dr. Dillingham holds a Ph.D. in political science and has served as the Director for the Office of Strategic Information, Research, and Planning for the Peace Corps; the Director of the Bureau of Transportation Statistics; and the Director of the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Both nominations were welcomed by the scientific and statistical communities as non-controversial choices for these two important roles.

William Beach, who was nominated to lead the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and William Bryan, who was nominated to direct Science and Technology efforts at the Department of Homeland Security were not confirmed and now must have their nominations resubmitted by the President.

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Science Committee Leadership Finalized; First Bills Introduced

On January 4, Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) was elected the chair of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, after announcing her intention to seek the gavel following the 2018 midterm elections. Representative Frank Lucas (R-OK) was named Ranking Member of the Committee in December. Representatives Johnson and Lucas announced on the first day of the 116th Congress that they had jointly introduced two bills, one to combat sexual harassment in science, and one to integrate energy and water research at the Department of Energy. The two bills, H.R. 36, the Combatting Sexual Harassment in Science Act of 2019 and H.R. 34, the Energy and Water Research Integration Act of 2019, with their bipartisan co-sponsorship, represent what many in the scientific community hope to be a new era of bipartisanship on the House Science Committee. COSSA has endorsed the Combatting Sexual Harassment in Science Act of 2019.

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NSF Releases Solicitation for “Ideas Labs” for Data-Intensive Research in Science and Engineering

As part of the ongoing 10 Big Ideas for Future Investment at the National Science Foundation (NSF), NSF has released a solicitation on the Harnessing the Data Revolution big idea. The solicitation, for participation in NSF Ideas Labs, which are intensive workshops focused on finding innovative and bold transdisciplinary solutions to grand challenge problems, is part of NSF’s support for data-intensive research in science and engineering. The Ideas Labs will be intensive, interactive, and free-thinking environments in which a diverse group of participants from a range of disciplines and backgrounds will meet for five days and immerse themselves in collaborative thinking processes with a goal of constructing innovative approaches for solving significant science and engineering challenges through data-intensive research. Preliminary proposals for participation are being accepted through January 28, 2019. More information can be found on the NSF website.

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Golden Goose Awards Solicits Nominations

Nominations are now open for the 2019 Golden Goose Awards. The Golden Goose Awards honor federally funded research that may sound odd, obscure, or serendipitous, but ends up having a major impact on society.  Many social and behavioral scientists have been award recipients and honored at the annual ceremony and reception in Washington, DC. Nominations are accepted on a rolling basis throughout the year, but for the best chance for consideration, nominations are encouraged to be submitted by January 21, 2019. More information and the nomination form can be found on the Golden Goose website.

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Gun Violence Research Collaborative Releases First Request for Proposals

The National Collaborative on Gun Violence Research (NCGVR), a private research effort backed by philanthropic donors (see previous coverage), has released its first request for proposals. NCGVR plans to fund research across seven broad topics: (1) characterizing firearm use, violence, and crime; (2) characterizing firearm suicide; (3) characterizing officer-involved shootings; (4) community law enforcement, and service systems interventions to reduce gun violence; (5) effects of gun regulation within and across state; (6) collection of data needed for understanding gun violence and evaluating programs and policies; and (7) collection of state-level prosecution and enforcement data. Interested researcher should submit a letter of interest by February 4, 2019. Selected researchers will be invited to submit full proposals. Full details can be found in the NCGVR request for proposals.

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