Issue 5 (March 15)


Congress Finally Agrees on FY 2022 Funding, Mixed Bag for Science

Nearly six months into the new fiscal year, Congress has finally completed its work on the fiscal year (FY) 2022 appropriations bills, securing funding for federal departments, agencies, and programs through September 30, 2022. After months of stalemate and rocky negotiations, House and Senate leaders agreed to an overall FY 2022 framework that includes roughly equal increases to defense and non-defense funding, delivering a major win to Republicans who were pushing for parity throughout the process. The eleventh hour increase in defense spending in the final package resulted in smaller-than-expected increases to nearly all agencies and programs important to the science community. In just about every instance, the final appropriation for federal science agencies came in less than the amounts originally proposed by the Biden Administration and in earlier versions of the House and Senate bills. Further, a select few agencies will see cuts in FY 2022 despite being slated for increases in the House and Senate bills advanced last year. You can read our full analysis of FY 2022 funding here.

The final omnibus package contains all 12 annual appropriations bills as well as emergency funding for Ukraine. It does not include funding for additional COVID-19 relief, which was pulled at the last minute. Lawmakers continue their negotiations on pandemic relief funding. Passage of the omnibus package officially closes the book on FY 2022 appropriations. Attention will now turn to the FY 2023 process, which is already behind schedule given that the White House has yet to send its budget request to Congress. This being an election year further complicates the outlook for consideration of the FY 2023 appropriations bills.

We are in store for a busy spring as lawmakers attempt to make as much progress as possible on FY 2023 before all attention turns to the midterm elections beginning this summer. Stay tuned to COSSA’s coverage for all the details.

Last Chance to Join us for Social Science Advocacy Day!

COSSA’s annual Social Science Advocacy is only two weeks away! There is still time to sign up to be part of the only annual, coordinated advocacy day in support of all disciplines of social and behavioral science. The first round of prep webinars begins on Wednesday, March 16. Thanks to the generous support of our sponsors, registration this year is only $25. We have 50+ advocates and counting, so don’t wait to reserve your spot. More information is available on the COSSA website. Register today!

NIH Seeks Next Leader of Behavioral and Social Science

The National Institutes of Health has initiated a search for the next Director of the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) and NIH Associate Director for Behavioral and Social Sciences Research. OBSSR and its team serve as the “NIH focal point for establishing agency-wide policies and goals in behavioral and social sciences research, and coordinates the activities undertaken in the performance of this research.” The position was most recently held by William T. Riley until his retirement at the end of 2021 (see previous coverage). Dr. Christine Hunter, OBSSR Deputy Director, is currently leading the office on an interim basis. Candidates should apply by May 14, 2022. Full details on the role are available on the NIH website.

NIH Issues Solicitations for Community-Level Solutions to Prevent Gun Violence

The National Institutes of Health (NIH), led by the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR), has issued a pair of funding opportunity announcements that will fund research related to preventing gun violence. These solicitations are enabled by Congressional funding for firearm violence prevention research first passed in fiscal year (FY) 2020 (see previous coverage). The first solicitation, Research on Community Level Interventions for Firearm and Related Violence, Injury and Mortality Prevention will “support a network of research projects to develop and test interventions at the community or community organization level that aim to prevent firearm and related violence, injury and mortality.” The second, Coordinating Center to Support Research on Community Level Interventions for Firearm and Related Violence, Injury and Mortality Prevention, will support a coordinating center that will “work collaboratively with the NIH to develop and test interventions at the community or community organization level that aim to prevent firearm and related violence, injury, and mortality.” More details can be found in the individual funding opportunity announcements.

NIH to Hold Webinar on Social and Behavioral Health Impacts of COVID

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Social, Behavioral, and Economic (SBE) Health Impacts of COVID-19 initiative will hold a webinar on April 27-28, 2022 to present findings from research funded by this program. Topics covered will include mitigation efforts, biological correlates, morbidity and mortality, social networks, disadvantaged populations, time use and families, and interventions. Full details about the webinar are available on the registration page.

OSTP Seeking Comments on Scientific Integrity Framework

On March 3, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) released a Request for Information (RFI) seeking comments on the development of a framework of Federal policies for protecting scientific integrity from political interference, suppression, or manipulation. This RFI builds upon an earlier report, “Protecting the Integrity of Government Science,” which was released in January 2022 (see previous coverage). The RFI seeks info on four key areas of scientific integrity policy:

  • How policies can address issues such as diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility;
  • Criteria to evaluate scientific integrity policies in the Executive Branch;
  • How to ensure that evaluation findings lead to effective improvement of scientific integrity policies;
  • Ensuring the long-term viability of scientific integrity policies through future Administrations.

Comments are due April 4. More information is available in the Federal Register.

National Academies Behavioral Economics Committee Holds First Meeting

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s (NASEM) Committee on Future Directions for Applying Behavioral Economics to Policy held its inaugural meeting in early March. The Committee will conduct a consensus study to “develop guiding principles for applying behavioral economics research to policy, as well as a research program to support future progress, including possible avenues for collaboration across disciplines that could advance theory and method.” The meeting’s open session on March 1 featured presentations from two of the study’s sponsors, Daniel Goroff, representing the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and Christine Hunter, representing the National Institutes of Health Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR). Goroff and Hunter each presented several areas of emerging interest within behavioral economics for the committee to consider as it does its work, including the relationship between behavioral economics and social welfare, regulatory applications, behavioral macroeconomics, the economics of attention, and the conceptual underpinnings of behavioral economics, rapid testing of behavioral interventions, dissemination and scaling up, crosscutting needs across behavioral economics, and physical and mental health. More details on the study are available on the National Academies website.


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