Issue 7 (April 12)
As previously reported, the Biden Administration released its fiscal year (FY) 2023 budget request to Congress on March 28. The FY 2023 budget prioritizes investment in areas of central importance to the Biden Administration, such as innovation and competitiveness, cancer research, and technological advancement.
In addition, like we saw in last year’s budget request, the Administration’s budget underscores the President’s commitment to science as a means for addressing large societal challenges, such as climate change, racism, and, of course, pandemic recovery. However, the budget seeks to achieve these ends through targeted investments that could potentially come at the expense of other programs and agencies; some of the proposals may be viewed as controversial by some in the research community.
The FY 2023 budget request also reflects, for the first time in decades, funding for two new research entities that were requested last year by the Administration and officially established in the FY 2022 omnibus appropriations bill: the new Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships Directorate at the National Science Foundation and ARPA-H at the National Institutes of Health. There are likely to be growing pains in FY 2023 as those entities take shape and as resources as allocated.
The release of the FY 2023 budget request is the official kick-off of “appropriations season.” Congressional committees have begun their oversight hearings for departments and agencies under their purview featuring testimony by Administration officials. House Appropriations Committees typically try to introduce and mark up their versions of the bills in early summer with the Senate often lagging several weeks behind. The start of the month-long August recess in which lawmakers return home to engage with constituents is a typical target for Appropriations Committees to complete their work on the bills and bring them to the floor for consideration. However, 2022 is a mid-term election year, which will all but guarantee that the work of Congress will grind to a halt by late summer or early fall. As always, Congress will aim to make as much progress as possible on FY 2023 appropriations before leaving Washington for the elections; however, it is common, if not likely, that Congress will delay final passage of FY 2023 funding legislation at least until after the November elections, if not until next calendar year, depending on the outcome of the midterms.
Read COSSA’s in-depth analysis of the FY 2023 budget request.
COSSA members are encouraged to sign up for the monthly COSSA Headlines webinar on Thursday April 10, in which COSSA staff will break down the most important social and behavioral science news from the past month. Individuals employed by or affiliated with a COSSA member organization or university can register for the webinar here.
On March 29, 70 social science advocates participated in COSSA’s eighth annual Social Science Advocacy Day, a members-only event bringing together social and behavioral scientists from across the country to meet with Members of Congress and their staff to advocate for increased funding for federal agencies and programs important the research community. This year, advocates from 22 states met virtually with 88 Congressional offices in the House of Representatives and Senate to discuss the value of the social and behavioral sciences to issues of importance to policymakers.
It is not too late to get in on the action. Check out COSSA’s Action Alert and send a quick note to your elected officials today to voice your support for federal science agencies that advance the social and behavioral sciences.
On April 5, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health met to discuss legislation to support American mental health and well-being. The hearing, overseen by Subcommittee Chair Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Ranking Member Brett Guthrie (R-KY), is one of many Congressional hearings held in the past few months focused on potential policy solutions related to mental health (see previous coverage for more details). The hearing included two panels of experts. The first panel featured Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Dr. Miriam E. Delphin-Rittmon, and Administrator at the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Carole Johnson. The second panel included the President-Elect of the American Psychiatric Association Dr. Rebecca W. Brendel, the President-Elect of the American Academy of Pediatrics Dr. Sandy L. Chung, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Director at the Center for Youth Mental Health and Wellbeing at Stanford University School of Medicine and Stanford Children’s Health Dr. Steven Adelsheim, Medical Director of Behavioral Health and Forensic Programs at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Dr. Debra Pinals, Director of the Office of Addictive Diseases at the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities Cassandra Price, and Peer Support Specialist Instructor and Mentor LeVail W. Smith.
Subcommittee Chair Eshoo focused her opening statement on the devastating increase in mental health concerns in the U.S. and expressed particular concern for American youths experiencing mental illnesses. Ranking Member Guthrie focused his opening statement on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in exacerbating the mental health crisis in the U.S. and issues affecting rural Americans. The witness opening statements focused on what their respective agencies are doing to address these issues and ways in which the Subcommittee can continue to support their missions. Many of the Subcommittee members’ questions for the witnesses revolved around how to best support marginalized groups and pregnant individuals, how the President’s Budget Request was received by the federal agencies (see related article), and progress on SAMHSA’s National Helpline for mental health crises. Throughout the hearing, Chairwoman Eshoo and various members of the committee expressed their support for bipartisan federal legislation aimed at addressing the mental health crisis. A recording of the hearing can be found on the Committee website.
This article was contributed by COSSA’s Spring Intern Sofi Cavenaile of the University of Texas, San Antonio.
As part of its budget request for fiscal year (FY) 2023 (see related article), the National Science Foundation (NSF) announced its intent to commission a JASON study this year, during FY 2022, “to provide guidance on the establishment of a Research on Research Security funding program” that would begin in FY 2023. According to the budget materials, NSF would conduct several activities related to research security in 2023, including:
- Work with other federal research agencies “to establish uniform mechanisms for research investigators to provide agencies with consistent information on their appointments, activities, and sources of financial support.”
- Stand up the aforementioned Research on Research Security funding program guided by the results of this year’s JASON study. The goals of the program would be to assess the characteristics that distinguish research security from research integrity, improve the quantitative understanding of the scale and scope of research security risks, and develop methodologies to assess the potential impact of research security threats, among others.
- Working with other federal agencies, issue a solicitation to develop training resources for the research community to more clearly understand research security issues and disclosure requirements.
You can follow all of COSSA’s coverage on research security issues on our website.
Recently, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) have released prepublications of reports evaluating education research and statistics activities within the Department of Education’s Institute for Education Sciences (IES). The first of which, titled The Future of Education Research at IES: Advancing an Equity-Oriented Science, analyzes the National Center for Education Research (NCER) and the National Center for Special Education Research (NCSER) within IES to identify pressing issues facing the centers and developing approaches for future education research programs. The report identifies several areas for future focus, including:
- Adopting new categories for types of research that reflect the needs, structures, and constraints typically found in educational institutions;
- Emphasizing research focused on equity in education, including civil rights policy, teacher education, workforce development, and technology;
- Offering new research awards within NCSER on teaching practices to improve outcomes for students with disabilities, access and inclusion to those practices, and other issues;
- The need for IES to periodically add and remove research topics from its portfolio when appropriate to reflect the state of the field of education research.
The report also offers recommendations on its methodology, training programs, grant application, and review process. Most notably, the report recommends that Congress re-examine the IES budget, claiming that funding for IES pales in comparison to other scientific funding agencies and that IES currently would not be able to fully implement all the recommendations included in this report.
The second report, titled A Vision and Roadmap for Education Statistics, focuses on the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) within IES and offers recommendations for the future of statistical programs and priorities for NCES and for the Department of Education as a whole. The report presents themed recommendations for NCES including the following:
- Developing a strong strategic plan for NCES that incentivizes innovation and partnerships within and outside of the federal government;
- Maintaining NCES’ independence in setting its own priorities and products;
- Fulfilling the needs of the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act, and supporting the evidence base across the Department of Education;
- Embedding diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) into the work of NCES;
- Expanding data acquisition strategies and exploring alternative data sources for NCES products.
A third National Academies report analyzing the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) was released a few weeks prior (see previous COSSA coverage). All three of these reports were commissioned in partnership between the Department of Education and the National Academies.
Last Chance to Register for UIDP Workshop on University-Industry Partnerships in the Social Sciences!
The University of Maryland and UIDP, in collaboration with COSSA, the National Science Foundation, MITRE, the Optimal Solutions Group, SAGE Publishing, and the Federation of Associations in the Behavioral and Brain Sciences, will be hosting the second part of the Workshop on U-I Partnerships in the Social Sciences. The in-person workshop will be held April 20-21 at The Hotel at the University of Maryland. The event will bring together “a group of experts and leaders from academia, industry, and government to consider how academic-corporate partnerships can advance social, behavioral, and organizational science research to positively impact science and society.” Learn more and register here.