Issue 16 (September 13)


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 business development at Ginkgo Bioworks and Head of Innovation at Concentric by Ginkgo. Prior to her work at Ginkgo, Wegrzyn was a program manager at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in the Biological Technologies Office and has also worked with the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA). She served on scientific advisory boards from both the private and public sectors including for the National Academies of Science Board on Army Research and Development, the Air Force Research Labs, and the Nuclear Threat Initiative. She received her bachelor’s and doctorate degrees in applied biology from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

More information is available on the White House website.

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 House and Senate will table their work on the annual spending bills until after the midterm elections in November. However, the outlook for completing the FY 2023 appropriations process remains unclear as the bills’ futures depend heavily on the outcome of the elections and whether the balance of power shifts in the House and Senate next year. Stay tuned to COSSA’s coverage of the FY 2023 appropriations process.

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 security measures.

The White House memo provides updates on the steps taken to get to this point, including the many engagement sessions with various stakeholders from across the U.S. research community to incorporate their feedback. In addition, the memo states that the NSTC Subcommittee on Research Security will be releasing a public report in the Fall to include recommendations and findings from these engagement sessions and that more sessions will be scheduled in the future. The memo also provides updates on other research security items including the development of standardized disclosure requirements across the Federal research enterprise, the use of virtual identification to verify research applications, and guidelines for institutional research security programs as required by the newly passed CHIPS and Science Act of 2022 (see COSSA’s analysis).

Stakeholder feedback on the research security provisions is now being accepted and coordinated between the White House and the National Science Foundation (NSF). Comments will be accepted through October 31, 2022 through the Federal Register. More information is available on the White House website.

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 as Professor and Chair of the Department of Sociology and Criminology at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. He holds a bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. in criminology and criminal justice from the University of Maryland, College Park. More information about Dr. Piquero is available on the BJS website.

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 15, 2022. To schedule a session, email

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
  • Russian Speakers in Online Spaces
  • Power and Influence in the Era of Strategic Competition
  • The Arctic as a Polar Crossroads
  • Management and Information in the Defense Environment

White paper submissions are due October 14. More information is available here.

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.


Past Newsletters



Browse 40 years of the COSSA Washington Update.