Issue 9 (May 10)


Biden Administration Names Nancy La Vigne, Criminologist & COSSA Board Member, to Lead National Institute of Justice

On May 4, it was announced that President Biden has appointed Dr. Nancy La Vigne to be the next Director of the National Institute of Justice (NIJ). La Vigne, a distinguished criminal justice researcher, brings a wealth of experience in criminal justice policy, research, and non-profit leadership. Formerly a senior fellow at the Council on Criminal Justice, La Vigne holds a Ph.D. in criminal justice from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, a master’s degree in public affairs from the University of Texas-Austin, and a bachelor’s degree in government and economics from Smith College. She has over a decade of experience in various roles at the Urban Institute, a DC-based social research organization, including as vice president of justice policy and as director of Urban’s Justice Policy Center. She also served a previous stint at NIJ as the founding director of the Crime Mapping Research Center and as special assistant to the Office of Justice Programs’ (OJP) Assistant Attorney General. Prior to her appointment as NIJ director, La Vigne held a seat on COSSA’s Board of Directors as a representative for the American Society for Criminology (ASC). The announcement is available on the OJP website.

May Headlines to Feature Deep Dive on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Science

COSSA members are encouraged to sign up for the monthly COSSA Headlines webinar on Thursday, May 12, in which COSSA staff will break down the most important social and behavioral science news from the past month. The May webinar will feature a deep dive discussion with the American Psychological Association’s Mitch Prinstein and Mia Bynum on diversity, equity, and inclusion in science. Individuals employed by or affiliated with a COSSA member organization or university can register for the webinar here.

Biden Administration Names DOD’s Karin Orvis as Chief Statistician

On April 29, it was announced that President Biden would name Karin Orvis as the permanent Chief Statistician of the United States at the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), a position that has been vacant for more than two years. Orvis comes to OMB with experience from the Department of Defense (DOD), having previously served as the director of DOD’s Defense Suicide Prevention Office, as acting principal director of military community and family policy, and as director of DOD’s Transition to Veterans Program Office.

The role of Chief Statistician has not had a permanent director since Nancy Potok retired from the role at the end of 2019. The Chief Statistician is responsible for coordinating policy across the network of agencies within the federal statistical system and is a leader in data policy and evidence-based policymaking. As Chief Statistician, Orvis will also serve on the White House Equitable Data Working Group that released a series of recommendations to promote equity in federal data a few weeks prior (see previous COSSA coverage). More information about the appointment is available here.

Biden Reappoints Two NSB Members, More Appointments yet to be Announced

On May 4, President Biden announced his intention to reappoint two members to the National Science Board (NSB) for the 2022-2028 term. Vice President for Research at the University of the District of Columbia and NSB Vice-Chair Dr. Victor McReary and Executive Emeritus of Sandia National Laboratories Dr. Julia Phillips are both sitting members of NSB and will now serve a second six-year term starting on May 10. Six other NSB members will have their terms expire on May 10 and President Biden has not indicated whom he intends to fill the vacancies. Of the departing members, three have served two terms and are not eligible for reappointment, opening positions for new membership on the board. COSSA will continue to watch for updates on NSB appointments in the future. The appointment announcement is available on the White House website.

NSF Launches Regional Innovation Engines Program at New Directorate

The National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Directorate for Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships (TIP) has announced the establishment of a new program and funding opportunity called the NSF Regional Innovation Engines, or NSF Engines. This new program – touting its three core functions as use-inspired research, translation of innovation results to society, and workforce development – aims to develop technology and innovation hubs throughout regions of the United States to bolster economic growth and address societal challenges. The NSF Engines program will provide up to $160 million for up to 10 years to establish each Engine and embed them within the ecosystem of local organizations, businesses, educational institutions, and coalitions. This program is the first of its kind being launched by the TIP Directorate, which currently houses popular, established NSF programs such as the SBIR/STTR program, the Convergence Accelerator, the NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps), and Partnerships for Innovation.

Concept Outlines for the first round of proposal submissions are due on June 30, 2022. More information on the program and submission instructions are available on the NSF website.

Office of Justice Programs Releases New Podcast

The Office of Justice Programs (OJP) within the Department of Justice has developed a new official podcast called Justice Today, which covers topics related to the criminal justice system and research, including preventing crime, assisting victims of crime, and disseminating criminal justice research and data. Some of the episodes that have been produced so far include:

  • April 22, 2022 – An Introduction to Justice Today
  • April 25, 2022 – Desistance: It’s a Process, Not an Event
  • April 27, 2022 – Making Second Chances Work; Reentry from Incarceration
  • April 28, 2022 – Chris Poulos: Making the Most of Second Chances

You can listen to the podcast episodes here.

National Academies to Hold Seminar on the Future of Work

On May 31, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) will hold a public seminar on the Future of Work during the meeting of the Board on Human-Systems Integration. This seminar, which will feature speakers from scientific societies and federal agencies, will focus on various systems-based issues related to the future of work such as building resilience to threats in the future workplace, understanding how human behavior influences algorithmic bias in workplace decision-making, and understanding how to develop diversity, equity, and inclusion in the future workplace. Registration for the event is available here.


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