Issue 05 (March 3)
COSSA in Action
- March’s Headlines Webchat to Feature OSTP Assistant Director for Academic Engagement
- Advocacy Day Hotel Block Closing March 9
- Economist Amanda Gregg Answers “Why Social Science?”
- Letters & Statements
Federal Agency & Administration News
- NSF Releases Responses to JASON Research Security Report
- NSF Announces New Collaboration between SBE and Minority-Serving Institutions
- Nomination Opportunities
- Funding Opportunities
- Notices & Requests for Comment
- Fellowships & Professional Development
Community News & Reports
COSSA Member Spotlight
The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) released a request for information on the implications of open access to peer-reviewed publications and data resulting from federally funded research. The request is intended to follow up on a 2013 memorandum from OSTP titled Increasing Access to the Results of Federally Funded Scientific Research and a 2019 report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) providing recommendations for increasing public access of unclassified published research.
OSTP is most interested in hearing perspectives on the following topics:
- The existing limitations of communicating research outputs and how to improve communications;
- The role of federal agencies in making federally funded research freely accessible and in engaging with other sectors to achieve these goals;
- The benefits towards American science and competitiveness that are provided by immediate access to federally funded research and potential challenges in those areas; and
- Any additional information relevant to Federal policy on public access to research.
OSTP will accept comments through March 16, 2020. Lisa Nichols, OSTP’s Assistant Director for Academic Engagement, is leading this effort and will be the featured presenter during COSSA’s members-only Headlines webchat on March 12. COSSA members can RSVP here.
COSSA members are encouraged to sign up for the monthly Headlines webchat on Thursday, March 12. The COSSA team will break down the most important social and behavioral science news from the past month and answer your questions. The February chat will feature a deep dive discussion with Dr. Lisa Nichols, Assistant Director for Academic Engagement at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). Individuals employed by or affiliated with a COSSA member organization or university can register for the webchat here.
The hotel block for COSSA’s 2020 Social Science Advocacy Day closes on Friday, March 9. Participants may reserve a room at the block rate of $276 per night for the nights of March 29-31 at the Hilton Garden Inn Washington DC/U.S. Capitol (1225 First Street, NE), a nine-minute walk from our Advocacy Day training location and home base. Use this link when booking or book by phone using the group code C3 or Consortium of Social Science Associations.
COSSA members can sign up for Advocacy Day on COSSA’s website.
The latest Why Social Science? post continues an occasional series that gives social scientists whose research has been mischaracterized or misunderstood the opportunity to explain once and for all, “Why would you study that?” This entry comes from Amanda Gregg, Assistant Professor of Economics at Middlebury College, who is the Principal Investigator of a National Science Foundation grant “Corporate Law, Finance, and Productivity in Historical Perspective,” which supports the collection and analysis of firm-level data describing Russian corporations before the October Revolution of 1917. Read it here and subscribe.
On February 27, the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology held a hearing to review the Administration’s fiscal year (FY) 2021 budget request for research and development (see COSSA’s analysis of the President’s budget request). Dr. Kelvin Droegemeier, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), was the committee’s only witness and discussed the administration’s priorities across federal science agencies.
Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) expressed concern for proposed cuts to research funding at the National Science foundation (NSF), NASA, the Department of Energy, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). In her opening statement, she shared that the cuts appear to be driven by an ideology in the administration that “aggressively seeks to undermine faith in science and scientists and to discount expertise at all levels of government and society.” Her fellow Democrats echoed these concerns, particularly around cuts to the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA-E), the role of OSTP in federal rulemaking, and the prioritization of certain programs at the expense of others within agencies, including human space flight at NASA and computer science at NSF.
Committee Ranking Member Frank Lucas (R-OK) commended Dr. Droegemeier for prioritizing the security of U.S. research and research into so-called “industries of the future”— including artificial intelligence and 5G — in the FY 2021 research and development budget. Republicans inquired about the implementation of the Securing American Science and Technology Act and the activities of the Joint Committee on the Research Environment (JCORE). A recording of the hearing, along with Dr. Droegemeier and Chairwoman Johnson’s open statements are available on the Science Committee’s website. Ranking Member Lucas’ opening statement is available on the Science Committee Republican’s website.
On February 24, the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (SBE) Directorate at the National Science Foundation (NSF) released a Dear Colleague Letter announcing the new Build and Broaden initiative, a collaborative effort between the SBE Directorate and Minority-Serving Institutions. The initiative invites proposals for research conferences intended to promote ideas and partnerships in the social, behavioral, and economic sciences at Minority-Serving Institutions.
Conference proposals for Build and Broaden are due May 1, 2020. The Dear Colleague Letter and more information are found on the NSF website.
On March 2, the National Science Foundation (NSF) released the agency’s response to a December 2019 report providing recommendations and best practices for NSF and NSF’s awardee organizations to address research security concerns while maintaining openness and collaboration in research environments. The report, conducted by the independent scientific advisory group JASON, was commissioned by NSF in 2019 in the wake of concerns about foreign governments interfering with or stealing intellectual property and research findings from U.S. research institutions.
The most notable NSF response is the announcement of the appointment of Dr. Rebecca Spyke Keiser to the newly-created position of Chief of Research Security Strategy and Policy. Keiser had previously served as the leader of NSF’s Office of International Science and Engineering and begins her role as Chief of Research Security Strategy and Policy effective March 2020.
NSF also outlined several other agency actions addressing the JASON report’s recommendations:
- NSF has clarified the disclosure requirements of foreign and domestic research support in the revised Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) and now requires the submission of biographical sketches;
- NSF has investigated incidents related to improper affiliations with foreign talent recruitment programs and coordinated with the NSF Office of Inspector General (OIG);
- NSF has reached out to NSF awardee institutions to harmonize practices;
- NSF is using the Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) framework to identify potential risks in research security;
- NSF has initiated training programs in scientific ethics with the assistance from the Association of American Universities (AAU) and Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) and will pursue further training led by the new Chief of Research Security Strategy and Policy;
- The National Science Board has reaffirmed NSDD-189, a long-standing policy supporting openness and transparency in fundamental research and discouraging regulations;
- NSF has engaged with intelligence agencies to assess the risks of foreign influence in research while reaffirming the importance of foreign researchers to the U.S. research enterprise;
- NSF has met with colleagues from several foreign countries to discuss research partnerships and intends to engage with foreign research communities at the May 2020 Global Research Council annual meeting in South Africa to promote continued international collaboration; and
- NSF will continue to support programs that foster and develop research talent in the U.S. including Graduate Research Fellowships and the INCLUDES program.
The National Academy of Sciences, the Kavli Foundation, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation held a symposium “The Endless Frontier: The Next 75 Years in Science” on February 26. They symposium discussed the future development of science in the US, in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of Vannevar Bush’s landmark report Science: The Endless Frontier, which led to the creation of the National Science Foundation (which turned 70 this year).
Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN), as well as Director of the White House Office of Science of Technology Policy (OSTP) Kelvin K. Droegemeier, all reminded the audience of challenges from China and mentioned the importance of securing the US’s Global leadership in sciences by adopting long-term perspectives and a national comprehensive approach. Sen. Alexander expressed confidence in the US leadership in science for the next 75 years, citing the particularly robust increase in federal funding for National Institute of Health (NIH) as well as increased investments in other science agencies. Sen. Alexander also highlighted the importance of energy research and suggested doubling investments in this area.
Rafael Reif, President of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), suggested adopting competitive strategies, such as investing in science education even after formal education ends, stapling “green cards to the diplomas” of excellent international students, and integrating social science in research agendas from the very beginning.
During her address to attendees, France A. Córdova, Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF), shared that NSF has funded many scientific projects that might have seemed nonsensical at first but ultimately turned out to be successful and essential. Córdova also noted NSF’s history of supporting STEM students of all backgrounds and increasing the representation of diverse communities in STEM.
Other panels included focused on “The Evolving Scientific Research Enterprise,” featuring a discussion on how the scientific enterprise must adapt over the next 75 years; “Science Engagement with the Public,” featuring actor Alan Alda and a discussion of the value of science communication; “America’s Unique Advantage: The Role of Government and Philanthropy in Supporting Our Research Enterprise;” “Evolution of the Government-University Research Partnership;” and “From Basic Research to Innovation and Economic Growth, and the Next 75 Years.” The complete agenda and a recording of the event can be found on the National Academies’ website.
This article was contributed by COSSA’s spring intern, Tracey Lan of New York University Shanghai.