Issue 18 (September 17)


OSTP Outlines Research Security Priorities

In a September 16 letter to the research community, Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) Director Kelvin Droegemeier described several of the office’s priorities and planned activities for protecting the security of the U.S. research enterprise. The letter expresses concern over recent efforts by some foreign powers to “exploit, influence, and undermine our research activities and environments,” and concludes that “United States policies and practices must evolve thoughtfully and appropriately” to guard against such attacks. In particular, the letter notes that talent-recruitment programs sponsored by foreign governments have been at the center of several attempts to exploit U.S. research.

OSTP is seeking to discourage and prevent breaches of research ethics, including: “failure to disclose required information such as foreign funding, unapproved parallel foreign laboratories (so-called shadow labs), affiliations and appointments, and conflicting financial interests,” as well as “conducting undisclosed research for foreign governments or companies on United States agency time or with United States agency funding, diversion of intellectual property or other legal rights, and breaches of contract and confidentiality in or surreptitious gaming of the peer-review process.”

The Joint Committee on the Research Environment (JCORE), a committee of the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) established in May 2019, plans to take up these issues. In addition to the Research Security subcommittee, which will focus on foreign-power interference in U.S. research, JCORE also contains subcommittees on Safe and Inclusive Research Environments, Research Rigor and Integrity, and Coordinating Administrative Requirements for Research.

JCORE’s Research Security work will focus on four areas: (1) Coordinating outreach and engagement with federal agencies and other stakeholders to increase awareness of foreign interference in research; (2) Establishing and coordinating disclosure requirements for participation in federally-funded research enterprise (such as the requirements recently circulated by NSF and NIH); (3) Developing best practices for academic research institutions; and (4) Developing methods for identification, assessment, and management of risk in the research enterprise.

OSTP plans to hold meetings at academic institutions over the coming months to further discuss this issue with stakeholders. COSSA will provide more details as they become available.

Back to this issue’s table of contents.

Senate Appropriations Efforts Slow to Start as End of Fiscal Year Looms

Both chambers of Congress returned to Washington following the annual August recess and, as COSSA has reported, they only have a few weeks to make progress on fiscal year (FY) 2020 appropriations bills before FY 2019 ends on September 30. At the time of this writing, the full House of Representatives has passed 10 of the 12 appropriations bills and the Senate has passed two bills out of the full Appropriations Committee.

While the Senate has jumped into appropriations upon returning from recess, with two bills approved in committee and consideration of 3 bills scheduled, there remains only about a handful of legislative days in the fiscal year. The Senate Appropriations Committee had scheduled a mark-up for the Labor, Health, and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies bill, which includes funding for the National Institutes of Health and Department of Education, among other programs, but after a disagreement on whether controversial amendments should be considered, the mark-up was postponed indefinitely. No further details have been released on when the bill will be considered.

Congress could face yet another government shutdown unless bills or a continuing resolution (CR) are passed by both chambers and signed by the President before the end of the month. Leadership in both chambers have publicly supported passing a CR to prevent a government shutdown, and the House is expected to vote this week on a measure to keep the government open until Thanksgiving. Senate leadership has not indicted when it plans to vote on stop-gap funding.

COSSA has been reporting on the status of the FY 2020 House appropriations bills over the last several months. Check out our consolidated analysis of the FY 2020 bills for details.

Back to this issue’s table of contents.


House Science Committee to Host Hearing on Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Work

The Research and Technology Subcommittee of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology will host a hearing on Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Work on September 24. The hearing will feature Dr. Arthur Lupia, Assistant Director for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences at the National Science Foundation; Dr. Erik Brynjolfsson, Professor of Management Science and Director at the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy; Ms. Rebekah Kowalski, Vice President of Manufacturing Services at the ManpowerGroup; and Dr. Sue Ellspermann, President of Ivy Tech Community College. Dr. Lupia is expected to discuss the NSF Ten Big Ideas, including Future of Work at the Human-Technology Frontier. The hearing can be watched live online at 2:00pm on September 24, and will be recorded on the Science Committee website.

Back to this issue’s table of contents.

National Science Board Releases Report on the Skilled Technical Workforce

On September 12, the National Science Board (NSB), the advisory body for the National Science Foundation (NSF),  held a briefing on Capitol Hill announcing the release of a report on the Skilled Technical Workforce (STW), the sector of working individuals in science and engineering fields who do not hold bachelor’s degrees. NSB Chair Diane Souvaine and NSB Member Victor McCrary hosted the briefing.

The report analyzes the current STW and offers policy recommendations to improve the well-being of the sector. The report recommends improving messaging about opportunities in the STW, fixing gaps and silos in data concerning the STW, analyzing federal investments in the workforce, and building  partnerships between STW stakeholders and academic institutions. More information about the report can be found on the NSB website.

Back to this issue’s table of contents.

Samantha Power to Receive 2019 Moynihan Prize & Deliver Lecture

The American Academy of Political and Social Science (AAPSS), a COSSA member, announced that Samantha Power, former Ambassador to the United Nations, will receive the 2019 Daniel Patrick Moynihan Prize and deliver a public lecture at a ceremony in Washington, DC on October 3, 2019. Ambassador Power currently is the Anna Lindh Professor of Practice of Global Leadership and Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School and the William D. Zabel Professor of Practice in Human Rights at Harvard Law School.

The Moynihan Prize was established in 2007 to “recognize social scientists, public officials, and civic leaders who champion the use of informed judgement to advance the public good.” More information about the Moynihan Prize can be found on the AAPSS website. Attendees of the Moynihan Lecture must register for the free, public event.

Back to this issue’s table of contents.


Past Newsletters



Browse 40 years of the COSSA Washington Update.