Volume 41 (2022)

OBSSR Requesting Comments on Draft Priorities for 2023-2028 Strategic Plan

The Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has released a Request for Information aiming to gather stakeholder feedback on the draft priorities and strategic objectives for the Office in their 2023-2028 Strategic Plan. These draft priorities are the result of evaluation of the previous strategic plan, a previous Request for Information, and multiple listening sessions with internal and external NIH stakeholders. The draft strategic plan provides a framework with three major scientific priorities which each carry their own objectives: Improve the synergy between basic behavioral and social sciences research and research…

Justice Research and Statistics Agency Leaders Answer “Why Social Science”

This month’s Why Social Science post comes from National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Director Nancy La Vigne and Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) Director Alexis Piquero, who discuss what we know about ensuring school safety and what we can do to prevent mass shootings in schools. Read it here and subscribe.

Debate on FY 2022 CR Continues

With the end of the fiscal year looming on September 30, Congress continues to debate the contents of a stopgap measure to keep the government open. Votes are expected this week on a continuing resolution (CR) that would keep the federal government funded through December 16, thereby pushing decisions on final FY 2023 spending until after the November midterm elections. The current version of the CR contains a controversial energy permitting rider authored by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) that so far has prevented passage of the stopgap measure in the Senate. Should the permitting language be dropped, the House and…

House Committee Holds Hearing on Academic, Social, and Emotional Needs of Students

On September 20, the Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education Subcommittee within the House Education and Labor Committee held a hearing to discuss how to best meet students’ academic, social, and economic needs in the upcoming school year, especially after the disruption of online learning during the pandemic. The witnesses were Phyllis Jordan, Associate Director of FutureEd, Dr. Aaliyah Samuel, President and CEO of Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning, Dr. Penny Schwinn, Tennessee Commissioner of Education in the Tennessee Department of Education, and Dr. Matthew Blomstedt, Commissioner of Education in the Nebraska Department of Education. Committee Chair Gregorio…

White House Provides Updates on Social and Behavioral Sciences Subcommittee & Upcoming Framework

The White House has released a memo providing updates on the activities of the National Science and Technology Council’s (NSTC) Social and Behavioral Sciences (SBS) Subcommittee, including the development of a whole-of-government framework on the use of SBS research to advance evidence-based policymaking by April 30, 2023. The SBS Subcommittee was recently rechartered by the Biden Administration as part of a “Year of Evidence for Action” after being sidelined during the previous Administration. The Subcommittee has established interagency working groups on five policy priorities to assist with the development of the SBS framework. These working groups are tasked with applying…

National Science Foundation Launches Entrepreneurial Fellowships for Engineers and Scientists

The National Science Foundation has launched a new entrepreneurial fellowship program in partnership with Activate.org to support scientists and engineers engaging interested in translating their research into new products and services. NSF will invest $20 million to support the Activate fellows, which will provide extensive training and $350,000 over a two-year period. Fellows will develop leadership skills, turn their groundbreaking research into tangible products, and learn how to build a business. The fellowship program is the latest initiative to come out of NSF’s new Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships Directorate (TIP), which is bridging the gap between “lab and society.” The…

ICYMI: Department of Education Creates New Chief Economist Role, Appoints Jordan Matsudaira

In June, the Department of Education created a new Chief Economist position to work with the Chief Data Officer, the Institute for Education Sciences, the Budget Service, Financial Aid, and many other departments and organizations to streamline new innovations for students and borrowers, leading with evidence-based research to improve the education system. Specifically, the new position will work with partners to: 1. “Provide the best-possible analysis and advice to guide real-time policymaking. 2. Conduct rigorous research to further key elements of the Department’s learning agenda. 3. Build a culture of experimentation, including partnerships with leading social science researchers to pilot-test…

Renee Wegrzyn to be Named Inaugural Director of ARPA-H

On September 12, the Biden Administration released an announcement of the intent to appoint Renee Wegrzyn, Ph.D. as the inaugural director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H). The announcement for permanent leadership at the nascent agency has been anticipated since ARPA-H’s creation earlier this spring. Anthropologist Adam Russell has been leading the agency in the interim as Acting Deputy Director since May 2022 (see previous COSSA coverage). Dr. Wegrzyn comes to ARPA-H with a wealth of experience in biotechnology, including synthetic biology, gene editing, and biosecurity. She previously served in the private sector as vice president of…

Congress Working to Enact Stopgap Funding

With the start of fiscal year (FY) 2023 fast approaching on October 1, lawmakers are working to negotiate the terms of a continuing resolution (CR) to prevent a government shutdown at the end of the month. As previously reported, House and Senate appropriators have released the details of their respective proposals for FY 2023 funding; however, negotiations on a final FY 2023 funding package will not be completed before the start of the new fiscal year in less than three weeks. House and Senate leaders are proposing a CR that would fund the government through December 16. If enacted, the…

White House Releases Update on Research Security Measures, Calls for Public Feedback

On August 31, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) released a memo providing updates on the Federal government’s progress in implementing National Security Presidential Memorandum (NSPM)-33, the hallmark research security policy that has been in development since early 2021 (see previous COSSA coverage). According to the memo, the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) Subcommittee on Research Security within OSTP has been coordinating across the Federal science agencies to develop standardized research security rules (for example, guidelines for researchers to disclose potential conflicts of interest) and is now ready for public comment on the draft research…

Criminologist Alexis R. Piquero Sworn in as New Justice Statistics Director

On August 15, Alexis R. Piquero, Ph.D., was sworn in as Director of the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) within the Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs (OJP). Dr. Piquero, who takes the helm of the statistical agency primarily responsible for data related to crime and the justice system, was appointed by President Biden back in June. Piquero is a decorated criminologist, researcher, and author with over 25 years of experience and has been appointed to positions at organizations such as the National Academy of Sciences and OJP’s Science Advisory Board. Prior to his leadership at BJS, Piquero served…

OMB Launches New Public Listening Sessions on Federal Race and Ethnicity Standards Revision

The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) announced that it is working to improve race and ethnicity standards across the Federal government by revising their Standards for Maintaining, Collecting, and Presenting Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity. Specifically, OBM is seeking to understand whether current reporting standards should be changed to address detailed race and ethnic groups, whether formatting changes should be considered, and ways that the guidance for the collection and reporting of race and ethnicity data can be improved. OBM will be scheduling private listening sessions to hear from members of the public beginning on September…

Minerva Research Initiative Announces FY 2022 University Grant Opportunities

The Minerva Research Initiative, the signature social science research program within the Department of Defense (DOD), has announced university research grant opportunities for fiscal year (FY) 2022 and listed several target research topics for the program. Minerva aims to apply social science research to critical national security questions and inform broader DOD decision-making based on this research. DOD has stated they are particularly interested in applications that would support the goals of the soon-to-be-public 2022 National Defense Strategy. The following topics are listed as key areas of interest for applications to address: Socio-economic Vulnerability to Climate Change Deterrence in the Future Operating Environment…

National Academies to Host Seminar on The Future of Education Research at IES

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) will be hosting a  symposium, The Future is Now: Advancing and Sustaining an Equity-Oriented Science, on September 20. The event will discuss innovative ways to improve equity in education through research and feature highlights from the recent NASEM report, The Future of Education Research at IES: Advancing an Equity-Oriented Science (see previous COSSA coverage). This symposium will take place at the NASEM’s Keck Center in Washington, D.C. and will be available virtually. 

Linguistics Society of America Seeks Executive Director

The Linguistics Society of America (LSA), a governing member of COSSA, has announced they are searching for candidates for a full-time Executive Director. According to the announcement, the Executive Director will be responsible for supporting the LSA Executive Committee, strategic planning, financial administration, management of staff, membership retention and recruitment, events including LSA’s Annual Meeting, and other public facing activities. More information is available on the LSA website. Applications will be accepted through October 14.

PAA to Host Symposium on Demography and Rural Well-being

The Population Association of America (PAA), a COSSA governing member, is hosting a Rural Policy Symposium to discuss potential policy solutions to promote sustainability and well-being in rural populations. The symposium will also feature panel discussions by experts from the Rural Population Research Network (RPRN), an initiative supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to translate research into policy-relevant solutions for rural communities. The symposium will be held on Friday, September 16. Online registration is available here.

Midwest Political Science Association Call for Submissions

The Midwest Political Science Association (MPSA) is accepting proposal submissions for their 80th Annual Midwest Political Science Association Conference. The conference will take place April 13-16, 2023, in Chicago. Submissions will close on October 7, 2022.

White House Announces New Requirements for Public Access to Federally Funded Research

On August 25, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) announced new requirements on federal agencies to make peer-reviewed publications resulting from federal funding freely available to the public immediately following publication. Citing longstanding concerns around inequitable access to “the full benefits of scientific research” as well as recent success in the sharing of COVID-19 research and data, the memorandum directs federal agencies to eliminate the optional 12-month publication embargo period for federally funded peer reviewed research articles and to make data associated with peer reviewed research articles immediately available upon publication. Specifically, federal agencies are expected…

COSSA Seeking Nominations for At-Large Seat on Board of Directors

The Consortium of Social Science Associations (COSSA) is soliciting nominations to fill one (1) at-large director seat on the COSSA Board of Directors for the 2023-2025 term. For this year’s cycle, COSSA is specifically interested in nominations that would (1) enhance racial/ethnic diversity and representation on the Board, and (2) represent sectors or communities that would bring new perspectives and opportunities to COSSA, such as philanthropy, industry, or other sectors. The COSSA Board serves as the governing body of the organization and is responsible for setting policy and providing guidance and oversight for COSSA’s strategic directions. The Board of Directors…

COSSA Releases 2021 Annual Report

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