Issue 09 (April 30)


May 1 Is Social Science Advocacy Day!

Tomorrow, May 1, is Social Science Advocacy Day! COSSA will be supporting about 75 advocates who will head to Capitol Hill to discuss the importance of social science research and funding with policymakers. Watch COSSA’s Take Action page for an action alert to be released tomorrow that will allow you to join in from anywhere by writing to your Congressional representatives in support of social science. Join the action on Twitter by using #COSSA2019 and #whysocialscience.

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OBSSR Seeks Examples of Behavioral and Social Science Accomplishments

The Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is seeking contributions from the stakeholder community of examples of noteworthy advances in health that would not have been possible without the behavioral and social sciences. The project will be hosted on a crowdsourcing platform that will allow anyone to contribute an idea or vote on the best submissions. OBSSR is seeking as broad a list as possible—achievements do not need to have been funded by NIH or represent recent advances. More details are available in a blog post from OBSSR Director Bill Riley. Ideas can be submitted through the IdeaScale platform through July 31.

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COSSA Issues Statement Calling for Budget Deal

On April 25, COSSA issued a statement calling on Congress to reach a deal that will prevent the budget cuts scheduled to take effect during fiscal years (FY) 2020 and 2021. The statement highlights the potential impact of these cuts on federal research agencies, particularly those that fund social science research or produce data used by social scientists: “Almost every national priority—health, defense, agriculture and conservation, hazards and natural disasters—relies on science and engineering; the social and behavioral sciences play an important role in helping to address the complex human-centered challenges our nation faces. If America is to continue its global leadership in science and innovation and keep pace with other nations that are doubling-down on their investments in research, we cannot afford to let arbitrary, across-the-board cuts to science and research agencies—including the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, and data-producing statistical agencies—hinder scientific progress.” The full statement is available on COSSA’s website.

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Development Scholar Joseph Assan Answers “Why Social Science?”

why-social-scienceThe latest Why Social Science? guest post comes from Joseph Assan, Assistant Professor of International Political Economy of Sustainable Development at Brandeis University, who writes about how insights from the social sciences can help to address sub-Saharan Africa’s youth unemployment crisis. Read it here and subscribe.

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Congress Returns; Subcommittees Begin Marking Up Spending Legislation

After a two-week spring recess, Congress is back in session and is moving ahead on fiscal year (FY) 2020 spending. As COSSA has reported, many agency leaders have already testified in front of appropriations subcommittees, with more expected in the coming weeks. Additionally, agency leaders important to the social and behavioral science enterprise, including leaders from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) are expected to testify in front of committees with authorization jurisdiction over their agencies in the next month.

Appropriations subcommittees are also moving quickly on drafting spending bills, with the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education bill scheduled to be considered in subcommittee on April 30. This bill, the largest of the non-defense appropriations bills, is responsible for funding the NIH, Department of Education, Bureau of Labor Statistics, among many other agencies. Less controversial bills, including those that fund the Legislative Branch and the Department of Veterans Affairs will be marked up soon after.

Although Congress is moving swiftly on FY 2020 funding, leaders have yet to reach a compromise on raising the discretionary spending caps put in place by the Budget Control Act of 2011. These spending caps must be raised before FY 2020 spending can be finalized.

COSSA has issued an action alert urging members to write to their Members of Congress to tell them to prioritize a budget deal that gives fair treatment to vital non-defense discretionary (NDD) programs—including science and research agencies—which have disproportionately borne the brunt of federal spending cuts over the past several years.

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NSF Seeks Nominations for Advisory Committees

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has issued its annual call for recommendations for membership to its various advisory committees and technical boards. These committees advise NSF’s offices and directorates on program management, research direction, and policies impacting the agency.  Committees of particular interest to the COSSA community include the Advisory Committee for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences and the Advisory Committee for Education and Human Resources. Guidelines for recommendations and committee contact information can be found here. Recommendations for membership are maintained for 12 months.

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National Academies Seeking Community Input on First Phase of Alzheimer’s Decadal Survey

The National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine released a call for white papers from the scientific and stakeholder communities on the first phase of a decadal survey focused on reducing the burden of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) and Alzheimer’s Disease Related Dementias (ADRD). Individuals and organizations, especially those in the fields of behavioral and social science research and aging at large, are encouraged to submit white papers providing direct input into the initial work of the decadal. White paper submissions are due June 15, 2019. More information and submission guidelines can be found on the National Academies’ website.

The decadal survey on AD and ADRD is being led by the National Academies’ Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education (DBASSE) and is focused on assessing how research in the behavioral and social sciences can reduce the burden of individuals affected by AD and ADRD over the next decade. More information about the decadal survey can be found on the DBASSE website.

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