Issue 12 (June 21)
On June 16, the National Science Foundation (NSF) announced that Dr. Kellina Craig-Henderson has been selected to serve as the Assistant Director for the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (SBE) Directorate. Craig-Henderson, who has been serving as Acting Assistant Director of SBE since January, was the Deputy Assistant Director of SBE under Dr. Arthur “Skip” Lupia, the previous Assistant Director of SBE whose term expired last year. Craig-Henderson assumes the role with extensive experience as a professor of psychology and in other leadership roles at NSF. She was previously a Psychology and Afro-American Studies faculty member at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and also served in the Psychology Department at California State University, Long Beach. Prior to her service as the Deputy Assistant Director for SBE, she was the Deputy Director of the Social and Economic Sciences (SES) Division within the SBE Directorate.
In the press release announcing the selection, NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan stated that “For more than 16 years, Kellina Craig-Henderson’s intellect and expertise have helped guide our Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences Directorate, providing steady leadership in several important roles… I am delighted to have someone with her track record of excellence taking on this role.” The press release is available on the NSF website.
Last week, half of the subcommittees of the House Appropriations Committee marked up their respective spending bills for fiscal year (FY) 2023; the remaining bills—including those of particular interest to the research community—are scheduled for consideration this week. In the next couple of days, the House Commerce, Justice, Science and the House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education Subcommittees will consider their respective bills. The full House Appropriations Committee is expected to take up the bills individually in the coming weeks with a goal of bringing as many to the House floor as possible before the August month-long recess.
Despite the current rush to move spending legislation in House, the process remains far from the finish line. Last week, the Senate Armed Services Committee advanced a bipartisan proposal for defense spending for FY 2023 calling for significant boosts to defense funding over the amount requested by the Biden Administration. This move instantly puts the House and Senate at odds about how to balance defense and non-defense spending next year, a debate that regularly complicates, if not derails altogether, the annual appropriations process. It is unclear how far the Senate Appropriations Committee will get with their FY 2023 appropriations bills—which have not yet been introduced—before attention turns to the upcoming midterm elections.
COSSA will be reporting on all the details of the FY 2023 process in the coming weeks.
On June 21, President Biden is expected to nominate Dr. Arati Prabhakar as the next Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and Presidential Science Advisor. As previously reported, Dr. Alondra Nelson was named in February as the interim director of OSTP following the resignation of Eric Lander who stepped down after less than a year in the position amid allegations of workplace bullying. Dr. Francis Collins, former Director of the National Institutes of Health, has been serving as the interim science advisor to the President. Upon Prabahaker’s confirmation, which is required for the OSTP post but not to serve as the President’s Science Advisor, Nelson, a sociologist, will return to her position as OSTP Deputy Director for Science and Society where she is leading efforts around scientific integrity, research security, and diversity in the scientific workforce, among other initiatives.
Dr. Prabhakar is an applied physicist who is well versed in the U.S. federal research enterprise. She previously served as Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) under the Clinton Administration and as head of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) under the Obama Administration. If confirmed, she will be the first woman and person of color to secure Senate confirmation to lead the agency.
Dr. Nancy La Vigne, the newly appointed Director of the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), recently shared her strategic vision for research and programs at the agency. In the vision, La Vigne cites several key priorities for NIJ to consider including fostering rigorous and inclusive research, elevating studies that apply a lens of racial equity, using implementation science components in technology research, and encouraging interdisciplinary research when possible. La Vigne also cited the prevalence of disinformation and the lack of trust in scientific evidence, stating that “the onus is on us to be as clear as possible about the research we support and what it can (and cannot) say.” The full comments can be found on the NIJ website.
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently made updates to its Strategic Plan for Research, the planning document released every five years to outline the agency’s research priorities and strategize future agency activities. In addition to the development of a new strategic plan every five years, NIMH treats it as a “living document” by making routine updates as needed. The strategic plan incorporates updates into four high-level goals to guide the Institute:
- Define the Brain Mechanisms Underlying Complex Behaviors
- Examine Mental Illness Trajectories Across the Lifespan
- Strive for Prevention and Cures
- Strengthen the Public Health Impact of NIMH-Supported Research
The Strategic Plan can be read on the NIMH website.