Issue 12 (June 11)


John T. Jost and Daniela Goya-Tocchetto Answer “Why Social Science?”

This month’s Why Social Science? post comes from Dr. John T. Jost (New York University) and Dr. Daniela Goya-Tocchetto (University of Buffalo) who discuss political polarization and the future of American democracy.

Read on for more.

Congress Works to Complete Appropriations as Scheduled; House-CJS Bill Postponed to Late June

As August recess and the looming November elections rapidly approach, Congress is working on the appropriations process as scheduled. While there has been no movement in the Senate on appropriations bills beyond budget hearings, the House Appropriations committee released a preliminary schedule in May that they have been following closely (see previous COSSA coverage). As expected, the House Appropriations subcommittees for the Legislative Branch, State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs, and Defense bills have progressed as expected with mark-ups. Further, the House has already passed the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Bill in full-committee. As previously reported, the House intended to mark-up the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) Bill in subcommittee on June 12 but have since postponed the review to June 26 due to a scheduling conflict, but the full-committee mark-up is still scheduled for July 9. The House still expects to mark-up the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS) Bill June 27 with full-committee mark-ups scheduled for July 10. The schedule can be found here and is routinely updated by House Appropriations staff.

Stay tuned to COSSA’s continued coverage of the FY 2025 budget process.

Reps. DeGette, Bucshon Seek Stakeholder Input on Next-Generation Cures Bill

On June 6, Representative Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Representative Larry Bucshon (R-IN) announced a request for input (RFI) from stakeholders on the next-generation Cures bill. As previously reported by COSSA, the bipartisan 21st Century Cures Act provided an increase of funding for biomedical research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), directed the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to approve drugs and devices with greater urgency, provided resources to states to assist in fighting the opioid epidemic, and provided a boost for mental health care. In 2021, Rep. DeGette introduced the Cures 2.0 Act to build upon the first but the legislation was never fully passed (see previous COSSA coverage). However, notable objectives from the bill were passed separately, including the development of the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) (see previous COSSA coverage).

In reference to the potential development of further legislation, Reps. DeGette and Bucshon said the following: “The 21st Century Cures Act has been tremendously successful in accelerating scientific understanding, spurring innovation, and bringing new treatments to patients. Today, we are beginning a new chapter in the legacy of 21st Century Cures, and we look forward to hearing ideas on how Congress can help power our research infrastructure and deliver treatments to the patients who need them.” To this end, Rep. DeGette and Bucshon have released a letter detailing the importance of the Cures Act and requested stakeholder input to the following questions:

  1. Do the policies included in Cures 2.0 that were passed separate from the bill meet the needs that the original Cures 2.0 bill aimed to address?
  2. What components might be missing from the original bills that are essential for further progress?
  3. What additional actions are needed to enhance or improve the effectiveness of the passed legislation?

Responses should be submitted by August 2 to

OSTP Releases RFI on Disability Equity for Data Collection

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) has released a request for information (RFI) on the Federal Evidence Agenda of Disability Equity. The RFI is a part of the ongoing efforts outlined in the Presidential Executive Order Further Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government (see previous COSSA coverage). The RFI is intended to influence the Federal Agenda of Disability Equity on topics such as disparities faced by individuals with disabilities as well as areas for improvement and the development of safeguards within federal data collection for individuals with disabilities. A list of the questions asked by OSTP can be found here.

The deadline for comments is July 15 and can be submitted here.  

White House Issues Blueprint for Use of Social and Behavioral Science in Policymaking

Last month, the White House released a report promoting better use of social and behavioral science research in evidence-based policymaking across the federal government. This document places a long-overdue spotlight on the social and behavioral sciences and their utility in addressing some of the country’s most pressing challenges.

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) released the Blueprint for the Use of Social and Behavioral Science to Advance Evidence-Based Policymaking in May. The blueprint is the product of nearly two years of work by social and behavioral science experts from across federal agencies and departments. 

The development of a framework for social and behavioral science use in policymaking was first announced in 2022 when the Biden Administration rechartered the National Science and Technology Council’s (NSTC) Social and Behavioral Sciences (SBS) Subcommittee, an interagency group of social and behavioral science experts tasked with coordinating the social and behavioral sciences research agendas across agencies and departments to contribute to evidence-based policymaking. In addition, the blueprint responds to directives included in the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018, President Biden’s Executive Order on Advancing Racial Equity and Support of Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government (EO 13985), and the 2021 Presidential Memorandum on Restoring Trust in Government Through Scientific Integrity and Evidence-Based Policymaking.

The document released last month takes a whole-of-government approach to assist agencies and departments with leveraging social and behavioral science insights to improve federal policies, programs, and services to the American people. It makes six recommendations for better incorporating social and behavioral science research into the work of federal agencies and outlines five immediate actions.

Read the full report here.

NCSES To Include Questions about Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity for Survey of Earned Doctorates

The National Science Foundation (NSF) announced its intention to include questions about sexual orientation and gender identity in their annual Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED). The survey collects data on Ph.D. recipients, including gender, race, disability status, educational background, and career plans, and allows researchers and policymakers to track diversity in the U.S. STEM pipeline. NSF released a report, 2024 Survey of Earned Doctorates SOGI Data Collection Experiment Summary, which outlines the process the agency took to come to the conclusion to include questions on sexual orientation and gender identity to modernize the survey. The data collection for SED is expected to begin shortly with expectations for the report to be released in July 2025. 

NIMH Seeks Feedback on Current Strategic Plan for Research

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is seeking feedback on its current Strategic Plan for Research to improve the potential usability, effectiveness, and impact of future strategic plans. The Strategic Plan for Research guides the NIMH and outlines the institute’s priorities, spanning fundamental science to public health impact.

The deadline for feedback is July 24 and responses can be submitted here.

New Resources Detail Successes of DOJ Research Investments

In 2023, the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) within the Department of Justice (DOJ) launched a new website where visitors can obtain information on awards OJP has made to grantees. The main feature is a database that allows one to search for projects dating back to 2021. OJP is the organizational home for the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), both of whose grants can also be found in the database. 

More recently, OJP produced a video to help visitors navigate the new award site. Additional features of the site include a compilation of success stories stemming from OJP investment and a Grantee Communication Toolkit, which awardees can use when promoting their findings.

DBASSE Hosts First Webinar in 2024 Spring Hauser Webinar Series

On May 23, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education (DBASSE) hosted the first of two webinars in their Hauser 2024 Spring Webinar Series titled, “Navigating the Era of Artificial Intelligence: Achieving Human-AI Harmony.” The webinar focused on the 2022 report titled Human-AI Teaming: State of the Art and Research Needs. The panel consisted of a diverse group of researchers from varying universities and organizations focused on artificial intelligence (AI).

The panelists discussed changes in AI, including increased communication between real AI and humans, advancements in ethics of human-AI teaming, and ongoing research to fill the gap in AI trust research. With heightened initiative for long-term AI research, panelists assert that further studies should address societal and behavioral challenges related to human-AI teaming. The report claimed that humans and AI both have biases that, if unaddressed in development, could lead to the creation of new types of biases. Another panelist claimed that although many aspects of human-human teams are effective for human-AI teams, some aspects of teaming must be changed for human-AI teams to be as effective as possible. The report recommended that humans and AI develop a shared situational awareness, but this is met with the challenge of incongruent cognitive models among humans and AI. In addition, a co-author, Dr. Erin Chiou, stated that trust among humans and AI is critical for their success in teams as AI becomes more autonomous. The panelists collectively called for further social and behavioral research on human-AI teaming.

A video recording of the Hauser webinar is available here. Stay tuned for the second webinar in this series, scheduled for July 25.

Sage Launches Free Collection of Social Science Resources on Global Democracy and Elections

On May 30, Sage launched a free-to-read hub of social and behavioral science resources focused on global democracy and elections. The hub contains a selection of free resources to help foster evidence-based discussions about the 2024 elections and democracy as a whole.

The collection is accessible to students, librarians, faculty, researchers, and policymakers. It will help educators encourage critical thinking on key subjects shaping politics in a significant election year. The resources available include articles, reports, videos, and more, grouping resources into four key subject areas: Democracy, Elections, Teaching and Politics, and International Politics.

Explore the free resources on the democracy and elections hub now. Sage is a COSSA affiliate member.


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