Volume 40 (2021)

Infrastructure Bill Complete; Funding and Reconciliation Bills Remain

Congress has its work cut out for it as we head into the holiday season. With a limited number of working days left before the first session of the 117th Congress ends, time is short to pass a $2 trillion reconciliation package and complete work on the fiscal year (FY) 2022 appropriations bills. Of course, this is the time of year when deals are struck and efforts that appeared out of reach only months ago somehow find the finish line, as we saw last week with the passage of sweeping infrastructure legislation. On November 5, the House of Representatives passed…

NIH to Host 2021 Behavioral and Social Sciences Research Festival

On November 18 and 19, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) will host the 2021 NIH Behavioral and Social Sciences Research Festival. The virtual festival brings together researchers from around NIH and will feature four plenary sessions. Among other presenters, Director of the National Institute on Nursing Research (NINR) Shannon N. Zenk will serve as a keynote presenter and outgoing OBSSR Director Bill Riley will deliver remarks on ‚Äúthe State of Behavioral and Social Science Research at the NIH.‚ÄĚ Registration details and more information about the festival may be found on the…

Robert Santos Confirmed as Census Director

On November 4, the Senate voted 58-35 to confirm Robert Santos as the Director of the Census Bureau. Santos is currently the President of the American Statistical Association (ASA), a COSSA governing member. Upon his confirmation, Santos became the first person of color to lead the Census Bureau. Santos was nominated by President Biden in April to succeed Trump-appointee Steven Dillingham, who resigned in January after complaints from whistleblowers came to light (see previous coverage). Ron Jarmin has been Acting Director of the Bureau since Dillingham’s departure.

Census Bureau Seeking to Extend and Expand Business Pulse Survey

Building on the success of the Census Bureau‚Äôs Small Business Pulse Survey, a continuous, frequently-updated survey instituted to measure the impact of the pandemic on small businesses, the Census Bureau is seeking public comment on a plan to establish a new Business Pulse Survey that will extend the existing survey sample to include all businesses. The Bureau is asking for three-year approval for the Business Pulse Survey, which will be a ‚Äúcontinuous near real time data publication [that] will provide a baseline of the U.S. economy and will measure change as a result of current and future economic shocks.‚ÄĚ While…

New NASEM Panel on Assessing the Impact of Federal Policies on Health Equity Seeking Nominations

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) will convene a study committee to develop an ‚Äúevidence-based, non-partisan Review of Federal Policies that Contribute to Racial and Ethnic Health Inequities, including those policies that impact the social determinants of health, as well as potential solutions.‚ÄĚ NASEM is seeking volunteers to serve on the panel with expertise in health and social policy, social determinants of health (transportation, education, housing), health disparities, minority populations (racial and ethnic minorities), public health, health economics, health care, public health law, ethics, financing, criminal justice, environmental health, business, and urban planning. Nominations may be submitted…

Nominations Sought for 2022 Golden Goose Award

Nominations are now open for the 2022 Golden Goose Award. The Golden Goose Award 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 in the past 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 for the 2022 awards, nominations should be submitted by December 17, 2021. More information and the nomination form can be found on the Golden Goose website.

Senate Releases Remaining Draft Appropriations Bills, Setting Stage for FY 2022 Negotiations

Last week, the Senate Appropriations Committee released drafts of nine of its annual appropriations bills. While fiscal year (FY) 2022 officially began on October 1, the Senate Appropriations Committee has so far this year only completed work on three of its FY 2022 bills; none of the Senate bills have yet been voted on by the full Senate. Last month, Congress enacted a continuing resolution (CR) to keep the federal government open until December 3, providing additional time for both chambers to complete their work. Over in the House, the Appropriations Committee advanced all twelve of its annual spending bills…

‚ÄúWhy Social Science‚ÄĚ Matters for AI Research

The latest Why Social Science? post comes from Corinna Turbes, Policy Director for the Data Foundation, who writes about the need for better data to enable social scientists to conduct artificial intelligence (AI) research.

FROM THE ARCHIVES: Rep. Price Looks at 20 Years of Change in Congress (January 13, 1989)

In celebration of COSSA’s 40th anniversary, we are diving into the decades of Washington Update archives to share articles from years past that resonate with today’s news. The Consortium held its seventh annual meeting in Washington on December 13, with representatives of its member associations and many of its affiliates‚Ķ As luncheon speaker, Rep. David E. Price (D-NC), a political scientist elected to the House from North Carolina in 1986, noted that he has observed striking changes within Congress over the last 20 years. He said his comparative insights have developed from his days as a legislative aide in the…

ARPA-H Authorization Bill Introduced in the House

On October 15, Representative Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Chairwoman of the Health Subcommittee within the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, introduced the Advanced Research Project Agency-Health (ARPA-H) Act (H.R. 5585), a bill authorizing the agency that has been a key priority in the Biden Administration‚Äôs budget for fiscal year (FY) 2022 (see previous coverage). Notably, the bill would not establish ARPA-H within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as the White House and some appropriators in both chambers have proposed, but rather within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), setting up a potential conflict between appropriators and authorizers…

Rep. David Price, Longtime Social Science Champion, Announces Retirement

Representative David Price (D-NC), one of Congress‚Äôs only social scientists, announced that he will not seek reelection in 2022. Price was first elected to Congress in 1987 after serving as a professor of political science at Duke University and has been a vocal champion of federally funded research and the social and behavioral sciences in particular over the course of his more than 30 years in the House. He memorably rose to the defense of the National Science Foundation‚Äôs Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences Directorate (SBE) after attempts to defund it in 2014. Price‚Äôs retirement will leave open a seat…

OSTP Launches ‚ÄúChallenge‚ÄĚ for Advancing Equity in STEM

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) has announced an open invitation for ideas to improve equity in science and technology. Input is being gathered through an ‚ÄúIdeation Challenge,‚ÄĚ which allows anyone to offer insight into the central question, ‚ÄúHow can we guarantee all Americans can fully participate in, and contribute to, science and technology?‚ÄĚ While there is no winner or prize, ideas will be evaluated and refined by OSTP for potential incorporation into the White House‚Äôs strategy for advancing equity in science and technology. The challenge is open through November 19. More information is available on…

White House Releases 2021 Data Strategy Action Plan

The Federal Data Strategy, a government-wide plan to coordinate and accelerate the use of data in federal policymaking (see previous coverage), released its 2021 Action Plan in October. The plan lays out a set of aspirational milestones for data governance, planning, and infrastructure across federal agencies. Acknowledging the late-in-the-year release and the context of a presidential transition year, the document recognizes that agencies ‚Äúmay only begin‚ÄĚ working towards the targets described in the plan by the end of the year. The Action Plan describes successes and lessons learned in 2020 and sets out a set of 11 actions for 2021,…

PCAST Holds Meeting on Climate Change, Energy, and the Environment

On October 18 and 19, the President‚Äôs Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) held a public meeting focusing on climate, energy, and the environment, just weeks after the first PCAST meeting of the Biden Administration was held (see previous coverage). ¬†The meeting consisted of several presentations on various aspects of climate and energy policy including the current state of climate policy and research, the Biden Administration‚Äôs positions on climate policy, previous Federal activities addressing climate, the development of new climate and energy technologies, and the impact of climate change on national security. Speakers throughout the sessions highlighted the…

National Academies Convenes First Meeting of Strategic Council for Research Excellence, Integrity, and Trust

On October 25, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) held the inaugural meeting of the Strategic Council for Research Excellence, Integrity, and Trust. This new body, which was announced in July 2021, is comprised of leaders from academia, government, and the private sector and has been charged with identifying ways to promote the health and integrity of the U.S. research enterprise amid challenges such as administrative burden, conflicts of interest, and distrust in science. The featured speaker during the open meeting was Kei Koizumi, Principal Deputy Director for Policy at the White House Office of Science and…

National Academies Seeking Nominations for Study on Reducing Intergenerational Poverty

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine is accepting nominations for members to serve on a study committee on Policies and Programs to Reduce Intergenerational Poverty. The committee will ‚Äúanalyze the evidence on key determinants of entrenched poverty and the effectiveness of programs designed to address those determinants to identify policies and programs with the potential to reduce long-term, intergenerational poverty.‚ÄĚ Members are being sought with expertise in local, state, and federal policies related to safety net programs, early childhood, k-12 education, job training, and structural racism in the fields of public policy, public health, pediatrics, economics, education, developmental…

Michael A. Méndez Delivers 2021 David Lecture on Climate Justice

On October 14, Dr. Michael A. M√©ndez delivered the 2021 Henry and Bryna David Lecturer. The annual lecture is a program of National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine‚Äôs (NASEM) Division of Behavioral and Social Science and Education (DBASSE). A professor of Environmental Planning and Policy from the University of California-Irvine, Dr. M√©ndez spoke on the prevalence of climate-related disasters, specifically the wildfires affecting California. In his lecture, M√©ndez describes his research that finds the negative impacts of climate disasters to public health, housing, and employment disproportionately affect low-income and marginalized populations, citing some of the conditions endured by undocumented…

Bill Riley to Retire as Director of NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research

On September 30, William T. Riley, Associate Director for Behavioral and Social Science Research (BSSR) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Director of the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR), announced his retirement from NIH at the end of December 2021. OBSSR Deputy Director Christine Hunter will take over as Acting Director position until a permanent replacement is named. Riley, who has led BSSR efforts at NIH for the past seven years, has been a tremendous proponent of the social and behavioral sciences through his previous roles at NIH including in the National Cancer Institute (NCI),…

COSSA to Co-Sponsor University of Maryland Workshop on University-Industry Partnerships in the Social Sciences

The University of Maryland and UIDP, with support from COSSA, the National Science Foundation, MITRE, and Optimal Solutions Group, will be hosting a two-part Workshop on University-Industry Partnerships in the Social Sciences. This workshop, which will convene a virtual session on October 14, 2021, and an in-person main event on April 20-21, 2022, aims to bring together a wide variety of experts from within academia, government, non-profits, and the private sector to consider the potential of cross-sector partnerships to advance social and behavioral science and to benefit society. Three topics of focus have been identified for the sessions: Using Mission-Oriented Innovation…

October Headlines to Feature Deep Dive on Opportunities in the Basic Behavioral and Social Sciences at NIH with Outgoing OBSSR Director

COSSA members can sign up for our monthly Headlines webchat to catch up on the most important social and behavioral science news from the past month. October‚Äôs webinar will feature a deep dive discussion with Dr. William T. Riley, Director of the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), who will share findings from the recent NIH Advisory Committee Working Group report, Trans-NIH Research Opportunities in the Basic Behavioral and Social Sciences. Individuals employed by or affiliated with a COSSA member organization can register for the webchat here.

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