Executive Branch News

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…

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…

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…

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…

NIMH Releases RFI on Improving Research Frameworks on Studying Racism on Brain and Behavioral Health

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) released a request for information (RFI) seeking input on ways to improve research frameworks on studying racism on brain and behavioral health. The RFI seeks input on identifying and addressing gaps in the impact of structural racism on brain, cognitive, and behavioral function, and the role of structural and systemic racism on the conduct of brain and behavioral health research. Comments will be accepted through June 14, 2024. Submissions can be made here. 

NIH Releases Strategic Plan on Research on Health of Women

The National Institutes of Health (NIH), in partnership with the Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH) housed within the agency, has released a NIH-Wide Strategic Plan for the Research on the Health of Women. The strategic plan outlines five goals, including: Further, the report underscores the importance of utilizing behavioral and social sciences research (BSSR) when addressing women’s health by affirming that “continued and expanded support for BSSR can enhance understanding of factors that influence the health of women and can facilitate the development of actionable interventions that address health disparities and advance equity for women.” More information about the…

Senate HELP Ranking Member Cassidy Releases White Paper on Recommendations to Improve the NIH

On May 9, Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, released a white paper titled NIH in the 21 Century: Ensuring Transparency and American Biomedical Leadership. The white paper was released following the collection of comments from a request for information (RFI) from Cassidy’s office on reforming the National Institutes of Health (NIH) (see previous COSSA coverage). In the white paper, Cassidy underscored the importance of NIH-funded research, citing that “every dollar NIH spends on research generates $2.46 in economic activity” and the “FY 23 investments provided support for over 400,000 jobs and generated…

NIH Releases RFI on the Development of the FY 2026-2030 Strategic Plan for Sexual & Gender Minority Health Research

On May 9, the Sexual & Gender Minority Research Office (SGMRO) within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) issued a request for information (RFI). The RFI invites feedback from the community on the development of the Fiscal Years 2026-2030 NIH-Wide Strategic Plan for Sexual and Gender Minority Health Research. The plan will describe future directions in sexual and gender minority health and research to optimize NIH’s research investments. Comments must be received by June 26, 2024. All responses should be submitted here.

PCAST Releases Report on Supercharging Research: Harnessing AI to Meet Global Challenges

The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) announced a new report on Supercharging Research: Harnessing Artificial Intelligence (AI) to Meet Global Challenges. The report was developed in response to President Biden’s Executive Order on the Safe, Secure, Trustworthy Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence (see previous COSSA coverage) and explores the positive and negative impacts of AI technologies. PCAST emphasizes the importance of AI being used as a tool, not a replacement, for workers. PCAST included the following recommendations for the Biden Administration in the report:  The full report can be viewed here in addition to PCAST’s letter to the President and the Executive Summary of…

NIMH Workshop: Discrimination as a Social Determinant of Mental Health Disparities

On June 6, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), within the National Institutes of Health (NIH), will be hosting a one-day workshop with expert investigators, NIH staff, and the public to discuss the science of discrimination and mental health disparities, and to identify research gaps and opportunities in mental health disparities research.  Register to attend here. 

NSF Seeks Nominations for Advisory Committees

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has issued its annual call for recommendations for membership to its various advisory committees and technical boards. These committees advise NSF’s offices and directorates on program management, research direction, and policies impacting the agency.  Committees of particular interest to the COSSA community include the Advisory Committee for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE) and the Advisory Committee for STEM Education (EDU). Guidelines for recommendations and committee contact information can be found here. Recommendations for membership are maintained for 12 months.  

NIAID Accepting Comments on New Strategic Plan

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), within the National Institutes of Health, is accepting public feedback on proposed updates to its Strategic Plan. The Strategic Plan would prioritize five key research topics in biomedical research, but NIAID also invites comments and suggestions on other themes: diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA); Women’s Health; health disparities; research inclusivity; global health; infrastructure and research facilities; data science and sharing; and workforce training. Responses are due to NIAIDStrategicPlanRFI@niaid.nih.gov in Word or PDF form by May 27. A full listing of the Request for Information can be found here.

Request for Information on Mental Health Determinants and Disparities

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), within the National Institutes of Health, has issued a request for information (RFI) titled “Moving beyond individual-level determinants of mental health to address mental health disparities.” NIMH specifically wants to address gaps in knowledge on (a) the determinants of mental health disparities from social, systemic, and structural levels and (b) the development of culturally responsive, multilevel interventions to address such disparities. Submissions must be made electronically by May 30. A full listing of the RFI can be found here.

Request for Information on Advancing Mental Health Services Research

The Division of Services and Intervention Research (DSIR) at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has issued a Request for Information (RFI) titled “Regarding Strategies to Advance the Relevance and Impact of Mental Health Services Research.” This RFI seeks to gather input on how DSIR-supported research has impacted mental health practice and policy, specifically in the following areas: The deadline for submissions is September 1 to the RFI submission website. A full listing of the RFI can be found here which also includes background on mental health services research as a discipline.

NCSES Issues RFI on Use Cases to Inform a Future National Secure Data Service

The National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES), housed within the National Science Foundation (NSF), has issued a request for information (RFI) on Use Cases to Inform a Future National Secure Data Service (NSDS) (see previous COSSA coverage). NSDS is intended to inform the ongoing work to improve the governments’ data infrastructure system, including new ways of collecting and linking data. NCSES requests information on research, policy, program, and education use cases as well as challenges and barriers that could be addressed using an NSDS for the development of a future NSDS.  Comments are requested by June 14 and can be…

NIJ Issues RFI on the Uses of AI in the Criminal Justice System

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) housed within the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) in the Department of Justice (DOJ) has issued a request for information (RFI) on the future uses of artificial intelligence (AI) in the criminal justice system. In response to the Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence Executive Order released by the Biden Administration in October 2023 (see previous COSSA coverage), NIJ seeks to understand the potential impacts of AI use in the criminal justice system to potentially influence a future report on the topic. Comments are requested by May 28 and should be emailed to mark.greene2@usdoj.gov. 

Registration is Open for the 17th Matilda White Riley Honors

Registration is officially open for the 17th Matilda White Riley Behavioral and Social Sciences Honors. The event recognizes both emerging scientists and leaders in the field whose research reflects Dr. Matilda White Riley’s vision of research excellence in health-related behavioral and social sciences. Matilda White Riley was a celebrated scientist and member of the National Academy of Sciences whose work and leadership left a lasting impact on behavioral and social sciences across the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and beyond. Registration for the event is required and the Distinguished Lecturer will be Dr. Bernice Pescosolido, Distinguished Professor of Sociology at Indiana University….

OSTP Seeks Input for Safe STEM Environments

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) is inviting feedback to help the Interagency Working Group on Safe and Inclusive STEM Environments (IWG-SISE) develop policies aimed at reducing sex-based and sexual harassment in federally funded STEM research. This initiative, in response to the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022 (see previous COSSA coverage), focuses on improving safety for principal investigators, research staff, and students. The OSTP and IWG-SISE are looking for contributions from students, postdoctoral fellows, faculty, researchers, and administrators—anyone impacted by harassment in STEM spaces. The aim is to inform guidelines that address and mitigate harassment issues effectively….

Analyzing the Cost of Open Access for Federally Funded Research

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) is facing demands from Congress to provide a detailed cost estimate for its open access plan for federally funded research. Initiated by OSTP in August 2022, the plan requires that research funded by science agencies be freely accessible to the public upon publication. It mandates OSTP to complete a thorough financial analysis by June. Failure to meet this deadline will require OSTP to delay its plans until the report is submitted to Congress. OSTP has already explored the financial aspects of open access in two reports. The first report, released in…

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