Volume 41 (2022)

FY 2023 Spending Deal in Sight?

The federal government is scheduled to run out of money unless Congress acts by Friday, December 16 when the current continuing resolution (CR) will expire. Lawmakers have been working since returning from the midterm elections to strike a deal on top-line funding levels for fiscal year (FY) 2023. However, debates over how to divvy up limited resources between defense and non-defense accounts coupled with the incoming Republican takeover in the House come January have made progress slow. Still lawmakers could announce as early as today a framework that will allow them to proceed on a large omnibus spending package and…

“Why Social Science” Discusses the Science Behind Elections and Polling

This week’s Why Social Science? post comes from Kathy Frankovic, former Director of Surveys at CBS News and former President of the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR), who writes about the science behind public opinion polling and its role in predicting the outcome of elections.

COSSA Seeks Undergraduate Intern for Spring 2023

COSSA is now searching for candidates for a Spring intern. This internship would be of interest to undergraduate students wishing to learn about advocacy/government relations, federal science policy, and/or non-profit organizations. We are accepting applications on a rolling basis and preference will go towards applicants who are available to work hybrid to prepare for in-person activities for 2023 Social Science Advocacy Day. If you know an undergraduate student who may be interested in a COSSA internship for Spring semester, please email Ben Goodrich (bgoodrich@cossa.org). More information about the internship is available in the description.

Congress to Consider Standing Up Advanced Research Efforts in USDA

On December 6, the Senate Agriculture Committee held a hearing to discuss potential research related provisions that may become part of the upcoming 2023 Farm Bill ‚Äď the critical agriculture bill re-authorized every five years. Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics (REE) at the Department of Agriculture Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young was a witness for the hearing. Notably, Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Ranking Member John Boozman (R-AR), and several bipartisan Members of the Committee were particularly interested in discussing the possibility of appropriating funds for an Agriculture Advanced Research and Development Authority (AgARDA), a high-risk, high-reward research agency within…

The U.S. Global Change Research Program Releases their 2022‚Äď2031 Strategic Plan

The U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) released it’s 2022-2031 Strategic Plan on December 6. USGCRP is an interagency effort that works to identify and coordinate research activities related to global climate change and other issues across the federal government. The plan includes four pillars to guide it’s work over the next decade: The full strategic plan is available here. 

Federal Statistical Agencies Launch Standard Application Process for Accessing Restricted Federal Data

The National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES) within the National Science Foundation and the Interagency Council on Statistical Policy (ICSP) have launched a Standard Application Process (SAP) to improve access to restricted federal data. As previously reported, the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018 called for the development of a process to provide streamlined access to confidential federal data. The recently announced SAP was developed in response to this directive. The agencies released an Applicant Instruction Manual for the process and are available for questions or comments at singleportal@nsf.gov.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis Appoints Dr. Vipin Arora as Director

The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) has named Dr. Vipin Arora as their new Director, replacing Brian Moyer after he accepted the role of Director of the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Dr. Arora previously has served as Deputy Assistant Director of the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences Directorate at the National Science Foundation (NSF) and Deputy Director of the NSF’s National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics. Dr. Arora has a PhD in economics, a master’s degree in public administration, and a bachelor’s degree in chemistry.

National Academies Calls for Nominations for Study on Improving Economic and Social Mobility

The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine‚Äôs (NASEM) Committee on Population (CPOP) and Committee on National Statistics (CNSTAT) are leading a consensus study to identify gaps in knowledge on the influences on economic and social mobility in the U.S. Recognizing the prevalence of inequalities in income, wealth, health, and life across the U.S., the study will seek to understand how such inequalities are influenced by policy interventions and how they vary across different population groups. NASEM invites nominations for individuals to serve on the committee. Expertise is sought in the following areas: economics, sociology, demography, statistics/methodology, psychology, political science,…

Big Changes Coming in 118th Congress; Watch COSSA’s Post-Election Webinar

While some races still need to be called, notably, the Senate race in Georgia, there are some things we can be certain about now that we are past the November midterm elections. For example, come January 3 and the swearing-in of the 118th Congress: COSSA discussed some of these changes and possible committee and leadership shakeups during the November 17 post-election Headlines webinar. A recording is available here. COSSA will be closely monitoring the activities and appointments of the 118th Congress and will be calling on members to engage with elected officials early in 2023.

Congress Returns for Packed Lame Duck Session

Congress returned to Washington after the November midterm elections to a long list of year end to-dos. Two pieces of must-pass legislation still pending include the fiscal year (FY) 2023 appropriations bills and the FY 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). As is common, either bill could become the vehicle for other legislative priorities (such as aid to Ukraine) that Congress is hoping to enact before the end of the calendar year. However, the path to the finish line has not yet been made clear. Current funding for the federal government expires on December 16. While we expect lawmakers to…

Census Bureau and Bureau of Economic Analysis Request Comments on Data Collection Security

The U.S. Census Bureau and US Bureau of Economic Analysis have released a request for comments related to the collection of data from the public ‚Äúto fulfill their data security requirements when providing access to restricted use microdata related to evidence building.‚ÄĚ As part of the agencies‚Äô ongoing implementation of the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018 (or Evidence Act), the White House of Office Management and Budget (OMB) established a Standard Application Process (SAP) for researchers to use when requesting access to confidential government data assets. The request for comment related data security requirements seek to understand if…

Application Period Opens for Federal Evaluation Fellowships

The Office of Evaluation Sciences (OES) within the General Services Administration (GSA) has announced they are accepting applications for their 2023 Annual Fellowships. OES is a team comprised of social science researchers that helps federal agencies evaluate and use evidence in their practice. OES Fellows join the office for a minimum of one year in Washington, DC or remotely. Applications are being accepted for Fellowships and Federal Details and will be accepted through January 11, 2023. More information is available on the OES website.

National Academies Releases New Report on Reducing Racial Inequality in Crime and Justice

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) recently released a new report, Reducing Racial Inequality in Crime and Justice: Science, Practice, and Policy. The report addresses disparities faced by people of color in the criminal justice system that result from systemic racism and the policies and practices that reinforce it. It highlights evidence-based policy interventions, focusing on reforming the criminal justice system and developing strategies to strengthen community reforms. Recommendations for reforming the criminal justice system include eliminating cash bail, reducing drug incarceration and felony sentences, discarding the death penalty, and more, while community reforms include health and…

COSSA Welcomes Division for Research of the Council for Exceptional Children as New Member

COSSA is excited to welcome¬†the Division for Research of the Council for Exceptional Children¬†as its newest member! The CEC Division for Research (CEC-DR) is ‚Äúdedicated to the advancement of research related to the education of individuals with disabilities and/or who are gifted,‚ÄĚ and focuses on engaging and linking practitioners to research in special education. COSSA‚Äôs full membership list can be found¬†here. Information on how to join is on the¬†COSSA website.

NIH to Host 2022 Behavioral and Social Sciences Research Festival

The Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will be holding the 2022 NIH Behavioral and Social Sciences Research Festival next month on December 8 and 9. The festival, held annually by OBSSR and the NIH Behavioral and Social Sciences Research Coordinating Committee (BSSR-CC), features panel discussions on recent social science research results, growing areas, and innovations in the field of health-related BSSR.¬† This year, the festival will focus on social connection, mental and emotional health, social determinants of health, and measurement in BSSR. The keynote address will be delivered by Richard…

COSSA Featured in Practical Significance Podcast

COSSA Executive Director Wendy Naus was featured in the latest episode of the American Statistical Association (ASA) podcast, Practical Significance (the ASA is a COSSA governing member). Naus discusses COSSA’s efforts to promote the social, behavioral, and statistical sciences to policymakers and ways that researchers can engage in the advocacy process.¬†Check out the episode on the ASA website or wherever you get your podcasts.

NSF Announces Name Change of Education Directorate

On October 25, the National Science Foundation (NSF) announced that the Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR) had been renamed to the Directorate for STEM Education (EDU) in an effort to more accurately reflect the directorate‚Äôs portfolio and focus. In addition, the Division of Human Resource Development within the Directorate has been renamed the Division of Equity for Excellence in STEM (EES).The name changes were initially proposed in the President‚Äôs FY 2023 budget request to Congress. ¬†The newly named EDU Directorate, which funds education research grants and career development opportunities for scientists, reportedly will not have its portfolio or…

NSF to Consider Proposals on Reproducibility and Replicability in Science

On October 25, the National Science Foundation (NSF) released a Dear Colleague Letter reaffirming the agency‚Äôs commitment to the findings of a 2019 report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) titled Reproducibility and Replicability in Science. This report was aimed at providing clear research practices and guidelines to recreate scientific results through multiple research methods and to identify ways to improve public confidence in scientific findings (see previous COSSA coverage). In addition, the NSF letter notes that the agency may be interested in funding proposals for research addressing reproducibility and replicability in science. NSF is especially…

National Board for Education Sciences Appointments Announced

President Biden has announced 15 appointments to the National Board for Education Sciences (NBES) within the Institute of Education Sciences (IES). NBES is responsible for advising the Director of IES to ensure that the institutes priorities are consistent with it‚Äôs mission. NBES is also responsible for strengthening procedures for technical and scientific peer review, presenting recommendations to strengthen education research, soliciting advice and information from the field, and ensuring IES is compliant with the Education Sciences Reform Act. NBES has not held a meeting since the end of the Obama Administration in 2016. For more information on appointments, please refer…

DBASSE Celebrates 60 Years and Looks to the Future

On October 13, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine held a symposium celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education (DBASSE). During the two-day event, presenters revisited some of the Division‚Äôs most notable activities and reports, such as the Societal Experts Action Network (SEAN) and the report on Reproducibility and Replicability in Science, to name a few. Later, speakers explored some of the topics that could dominate in the years ahead and how social science can contribute. In the words of former Director of the National Science Foundation Rita Colwell, ‚ÄúThis is…

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