Issue 21 (October 31)

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President Biden Issues Executive Order on Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Artificial Intelligence

On October 10, President Biden unveiled a groundbreaking Executive Order (EO), setting the stage for the United States to lead in harnessing the potential of artificial intelligence (AI) while effectively managing its risks. This EO builds upon existing commitments from 15 major companies, showcasing a united front in the pursuit of safe and trustworthy AI development that addresses 8 critical areas:

  • New Standards for AI Safety and Security
  • Protecting Americans‚Äô Privacy
  • Advancing Equity and Civil Rights
  • Standing Up for Consumers, Patients, and Students
  • Supporting Workers
  • Promoting Innovation and Competition
  • Advancing American Leadership Abroad
  • Ensuring Responsible Government Use of AI

This EO represents a significant stride toward ensuring that AI development and use are safe, secure, and beneficial for all Americans. It addresses critical aspects ranging from safety and security to privacy, equity, and leadership on both domestic and international fronts.

Stay tuned to COSSA for continued updates.

Newly Elected House Speaker Mike Johnson Releases Appropriations Schedule Amidst Risk Government Shutdown

On October 25, Mike Johnson (R-LA) stepped into the pivotal role of Speaker of the House, a position that demands immediate attention to pressing challenges, including a potential government shutdown in the coming weeks, and crucial decisions regarding U.S. financial support for Ukraine and Israel.

Throughout his career, Johnson has been known for his strong conservative stances on social issues, particularly anti-abortion policies and restrictions on LGBTQ+ rights. As a staunch conservative, he has also been an active participant in the House’s impeachment inquiry into President Biden.

What may further complicate funding agreements, President Biden has requested $106 billion in supplemental foreign aid and defense funding, including $61.4 billion for Ukraine and $14.3 billion for Israel, as well as an additional $56 billion for domestic programs like child care and broadband internet access. Speaker Johnson has indicated his preference to split the funding for Israel and Ukraine, which could pose a hurdle for the Ukraine aid, given opposition from many House Republicans.

One of the pressing questions surrounding Speaker Johnson’s tenure is whether he can find a way to compromise with Democrats, who hold control of the Senate. While he may garner support for Republican-approved legislation in the House, it still must pass a Democrat-controlled Senate, where aggressive spending cuts he has previously advocated for are unlikely to gain approval.

To navigate these challenges, Johnson has proposed an appropriations schedule that includes seeking consensus on the last two FY 2024 appropriations bills, creating a working group to address concerns with the Agriculture, Rural Development, and Food and Drug Administration appropriations bill, and working towards a stopgap measure that extend government funding beyond the November 17 deadline that instead would expire January 15 or April 15, if needed. In addition, he seeks to take up the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education appropriations bill on the House floor during the week of November 13.

The coming weeks will be a test of Speaker Mike Johnson’s leadership and his ability to balance the demands of a divided Congress, to deliver on his proposed stopgap measure that he plans to negotiate to extend funding into 2024.

Stay tuned to COSSA for updates.

NIH Director Nomination Progresses

On October 25, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) voted to advance Dr. Monica Bertagnolli‚Äôs confirmation as the next Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) (see previous COSSA coverage). Six Senators voted against her confirmation, including the Chair of the HELP Committee Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT), citing concerns about rising drug prices in the United States. If confirmed, Bertagnolli will replace the current Acting Director, Dr. Lawrence Tabak, who has been serving since the departure of Francis Collins in 2021.

During her nomination hearing, Bertagnolli spoke of the importance of the social and behavioral sciences stating, ‚ÄúWe must interrogate the broad range of behavioral and social science challenges we face today while laying the foundation to address new issues that will arise in the future.‚ÄĚ Bertagnolli is the Director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and previously served as the Richard E. Wilson Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School and as a surgeon at Brigham and Women‚Äôs Hospital. Bertagnolli holds a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from Princeton University and received her medical degree from the University of Utah.

Bertagnolli will require a full Senate vote prior to being confirmed as NIH Director. Stay tuned for continued coverage of the confirmation process.

NIH Releases RFI on Draft Scientific Integrity Policy 

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has released a request for information (RFI) on the draft of their new Scientific Integrity Policy. This policy is in response to the White House‚Äôs Office of Science and Technology Policy‚Äôs (OSTP) memorandum requiring federal agencies to develop scientific integrity policies to restore trust in science (see previous COSSA coverage). NIH expects the policy to ensure that research is trustworthy and available to the public, and that their policies and programs are transparent, and evidence based. The draft policy changes include a new definition of scientific integrity; roles and responsibilities of the new positions NIH Chief Scientist and NIH Scientific Integrity Official; and protections against potential political interference. NIH seeks to gain input from the public on these changes as well as any other comments the public may have.

Comments are requested by November 9 and can be submitted here.

HHS Requests Comments on Revision of Research Misconduct Policies 

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has released a request for information (RFI) on a proposed revision of the Public Health Service (PHS) Policies on Research Misconduct within the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH). This policy has not been updated since its creation in 2005 and HHS expects to update the policy to clarify confidentiality requirements and revise definitions of various terms that were not previously defined in the original policy.

Comments are requested by December 5 and can be submitted here.  

OBSSR Launches Two Funding Opportunities focused on Intimate Partner Violence Research

On October 4, the National Institutes of Health‚Äôs (NIH) Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) announced two Implementing a Maternal Health and Pregnancy Outcomes Visions for Everyone (IMPROVE) initiative funding opportunities focused on Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) research. NIH launched the IMPROVE initiative in 2019 to support research that aims to minimize preventable causes of maternal mortality and improve maternal health outcomes.

Within this initiative, the Career Enhancement Award to Advance the Study of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) in the Context of Maternal Morbidity and Mortality Research invites experienced researchers in maternal morbidity and mortality to enhance their skills and knowledge in intimate partner violence (IPV). The program offers research training, career development, and a small-scale research project to help experienced investigators acquire the necessary skills to incorporate intimate partner violence (IPV) and related concepts into their ongoing research.

The second funding opportunity is the R25 for Short Courses on Techniques for Measuring Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) in Different Populations, which aims to facilitate educational activities that enhance comprehension of biomedical, behavioral, and clinical research, as well as its implications.

Applications for both opportunities are due December 1 and you can find additional information here

NSF Press Conference: A Stride Towards Pandemic Prediction and Prevention

In an upcoming press conference, the National Science Foundation (NSF) is set to unveil the Phase II Centers Program of the Predictive Intelligence for Pandemic Prevention (PIPP) initiative, marking a significant stride towards understanding, predicting, and preventing infectious disease pandemics.

This event will provide an overview of the PIPP Phase II Centers Program, discuss the roles of NSF Directorates, and highlight the necessity of broad expertise and collaboration across various research communities. Attendees will have the opportunity to engage with NSF representatives, ask questions, and gain a deeper understanding of the community’s collective role in transforming society’s ability to forecast, detect, and respond to pandemic-scale events.

Confirm your attendance by November 9.

Biden Administration Designates Regional Innovation and Technology Hubs Program

On October 23, President Biden announced the designation of the inaugural 31 Tech Hubs program, as well as recipients of 29 Tech Hubs Strategy Development Grants.

As part of the CHIPS and Science Act (see previous COSSA coverage), this program aims to establish and support regional innovation centers, fostering growth and technological advancement across various regions. Each hub will utilize the unique strengths of its community and regional industry to build and scale their respective Innovation and Technology Hub.

Additionally, numerous organizations throughout the country will receive Strategy Development Grants to strengthen their capabilities, with potential for future hub designation. The program represents a comprehensive investment in regional economies, addressing the need for quality STEM education and investment in economically disadvantaged communities.

Office of Evaluation Sciences is Seeking a Division Director

The Office of Evaluation Sciences (OES) continues to expand their team. As previously reported by COSSA, the OES is the recently established evaluations team within the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA).

Recently, the job posting for a Division Director has gone live and is officially taking applications through November 3. Learn more about the position and application requirements here.

Any potential applicants for future OES positions should prepare a USAJOBS profile and continue to monitor the OES opportunities page and the OES LinkedIn profile page for announcements. 

National Academies Hosting Workshop Encouraging Greater Science Accessibility

On November 30 through December 1, the National Academies of of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine will be hosting a public workshop aiming to provide crucial insights and recommendations to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other agencies within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). This two-day event is set to address topics surrounding scholarly publications and key focus areas of the workshop include promoting equity in publication, enhancing accessibility, addressing publication and increasing transparency of research.

The National Academies invites all interested parties to participate and contribute to this vital conversation.

For more information and to register, please visit their website.

NASEM Seeks Experts for the Executive Committee of the Societal Experts Action Network

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s (NASEM) Societal Experts Action Network (SEAN) (see previous coverage) is seeking suggestions for experts to participate on their Executive Committee. SEAN is a network of leading individuals and institutions in the social, behavioral, and economic sciences that facilitates rapid responses to actionable questions from federal, state, and local decision makers.

The National Academies staff will be looking to fill open seats on the Executive Committee of approximately 12 total volunteer experts with expertise particularly in the following areas:

  • Psychology
  • Public Health
  • Public Policy
  • Mental Health
  • Substance Use
  • Climate Science
  • Economics
  • Communications
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  • Education

Submit nominations here by November 27. Follow COSSA’s continued coverage on the SEAN initiative.

UCLA Psychologist Dr. Shelley E. Taylor Awarded National Medal of Science

On October 24, President Biden announced the recipients of the annual National Medal of Science and National Medal of Technology and Innovation, the nation‚Äôs highest honors for discoveries and advancements in science and technology. Among the 2023 recipients is Dr. Shelley E. Taylor of the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), a COSSA university member, who received the National Medal of Science in Behavioral and Social Science. Taylor is a health and social psychologist, known best for her research in socioemotional resources and positive illusions.

The full list of award recipients can be found on the White House website.

Register for the 2023 Sage-CASBS Award Lecture

On November 16, the 2023 Sage and Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University (CASBS) Award Lecture will be taking place. Back in June, Sage and CASBS announced Elizabeth Anderson and Alondra Nelson as the winners of the 2023 Award (see previous coverage). Sage and CASBS are both COSSA members.

During the event, Elizabeth Anderson and Alondra Nelson will deliver their award talks, then join in a moderated conversation. The event will conclude with award presentations. Anyone interested in attending can watch the livestream here or register to attend in person here.

The event will be streamed live online and filmed. The recording will be posted on CASBS’s website and YouTube channel for later viewing.

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