Executive Branch News

DOD Announces Awards for Social Science Research Under the Defense Education and Civilian University Partnership

The Department of Defense (DOD) has announced a $2 million award for partnerships between six university and Defense Professional Military Education (PME) institution faculty teams in an effort to facilitate connections between faculty who share complementary research interests. These Defense Education and Civilian University Research (DECUR) Partnerships exist under DoD’s Minerva Research Initiative, which strengthens the DOD’s connections with the social science community and helps DoD better understand and prepare for future challenges. Each DECUR partnership is set to pursue one of the following research projects: Read more about the awards and partnerships here.

NIH Seeking Feedback on Plan to Enhance Public Access to Research

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has released a Plan to Enhance Public Access to the Results of NIH-Supported Research, a direct response to the August 2022 memorandum from the White House directing federal research agencies to make publications and data from federally funded research publicly accessible (see previous COSSA coverage). The plan outlines the agency’s proposed actions to make NIH research more publicly accessible, especially in regard to research data and scholarly publications. In addition, NIH will be accepting feedback on the public access plan, with particular interest on the following topics: Comments will be accepted through April 24,…

OSTP to Host Listening Sessions to Inform the Federal STEM Strategic Plan

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) is hosting virtual listening sessions throughout March to inform development of the 2023-2028 Federal STEM Strategic Plan. The Strategic Plan was first introduced in 2013 by the National Science and Technology Committee (NSTC) during the Obama Administration, and was continued by the Trump Administration in 2018 (previous COSSA coverage). The Strategic Plan is a five-year plan that seeks to improve STEM education and the workforce and is required by the America COMPETES Re-authorization Act of 2010. The listening sessions will be facilitated by the IDA Science and Technology Policy Institute…

OMB, Stakeholders Preparing for Changes to Race and Ethnicity Standards

As previously reported by COSSA, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is in the process of revising and modernizing their race and ethnicity standards that were last updated in 1997. The Interagency Technical Working Group on Race and Ethnicity Statistical Standards is hosting a series of Town Halls to receive feedback from the public on the initial proposals. The Town Halls are scheduled for Tuesday, March 14 at 2pm ET, Friday, March 17 at 2pm ET, and Saturday, March 18, at 2pm ET. Registration has not yet opened but will be available here. OMB will also record the sessions…

OSTP and BJS Requesting Feedback on Criminal Justice Statistics

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) within the Department of Justice have released a request for information regarding the collection of criminal justice data and statistics. The request seeks to inform the Biden Administration’s practices on data collection, use, and transparency and will aim to identify how to provide guidance to law enforcement agencies. The request builds off of a previous Executive Order (E.O. 14074) on Advancing Effective, Accountable Policing and Criminal Justice Practices to Enhance Public Trust and Public Safety. Comments will be accepted through March 30, 2023….

Penn State and OSTP Host Final Evidence Forum

Penn State University’s Evidence-to-Impact Collaborative held an Evidence Forum alongside the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) on February 22. As a part of a series of events, the Evidence Forums were held to foster communication between federal agencies and the public to share evidence-based research strategies. At the final of ten Evidence Forums, Penn State focused on the need to improve equity within research. The forum concluded that affected populations should be central to identifying solutions and that researchers must consider societal impacts. Neeli Bendapudi, the President of Penn State, emphasized the importance of disciplines working…

ICYMI: President Biden’s State of the Union Address

On February 7, President Biden held the annual State of the Union Address. Biden celebrated his Administration’s success during the previous term and signaled the Administration’s future goals. These goals include advancing gun safety laws, while also recognizing the historical Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, and reforming law enforcement through providing more training for police officers, with an emphasis on equity and violence prevention training, and more resources to programs that handle mental health issues and drug addiction. President Biden also recognized the passage of the CHIPS and Science Act and the creation of the Advanced Projects Research Agency for Health…

NIJ To Host National Research Conference Focused on Research Evidence

The National Institute of Justice has opened registration for a national research conference, From Evidence to Action: Harnessing Research to Promote Safety and Evidence, which will take place May 23-25 in Arlington, Virginia. NIJ is welcoming poster abstract proposals for the conference that detail how research evidence has influenced policy and practice. Expected topics include law enforcement, corrections, forensic science, courts, juvenile justice, victims of crime, and equitable research strategies. NIJ will also educate attendees on the process of securing NIJ grant awards. The conference is available to all participants for free and registration is open here.

NSF Introduces New Accelerating Research Translation Program

The Directorate for Technology, Innovation and Partnerships (TIP) at the National Science Foundation (NSF) has introduced a brand new research program called Accelerating Research Translation (ART), which aims to advance research capacity to translate academic findings into public impacts. Through the ART program, the NSF is seeking to enlarge the capacity and pace of translational research at U.S. institutions of higher education which will transform research discoveries into tangible solutions benefitting the public. Rather than supporting institutions whose translational research activity is already in full swing, the ART program is intended to fund research which would build infrastructure, provide training…

Nelson to Depart OSTP Post

Dr. Alondra Nelson, Deputy Director for Science and Society at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) is stepping down from her position and returning to academia effective February 10, according to reports. Nelson was appointed to the newly-created position by then-President-elect Biden in January 2021. A large focus of her work has been on advancing equity in science and using science to inform more equitable policies for the public good. She also served as acting director of OSTP for several months following the departure of Eric Lander in February 2022 amid reports of workplace bullying. In…

National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics Releases Biennial Diversity and STEM Report

The National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES) within the National Science Foundation (NSF) recently released the 2023 edition of the report, Diversity and STEM: Women, Minorities and Persons with Disabilities. This biennial report provides data and insights into the demographics of the STEM workforce, including wage and STEM unemployment among underrepresented groups. With the report, NCSES seeks to understand how representation within STEM continues to change. The report found that women comprise 35 percent of the STEM workforce, underrepresented minorities comprise 24 percent, and persons with disabilities comprise 3 percent. The report also found that the number of…

OMB Requests Comments on Initial Proposals for Modernizing Race and Ethnicity Collection

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has requested comments on their initial proposal for modernizing the collection of race and ethnicity data across the Federal government. The request is a part of a series of ongoing revisions that were announced in June 2022, and were informed by OMB listening sessions to gain public input on the process (previously reported by COSSA). The comment request, coordinated by the Federal Interagency Technical Working Group on Race and Ethnicity Standards within OMB, is intended as a response to calls for expanding options within race and ethnicity data collection to account for diversity,…

NIJ Seeking Applicants for W.E.B. Du Bois Research Program

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) within the Department of Justice (DOJ) has solicited applications for the 2023 W.E.B. Du Bois Program of Research on Reducing Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Justice System. The research program aims to identify public policy interventions to address racial and ethnic disparities in the criminal justice system. NIJ has supported funding for the W.E.B. Du Bois Program since 2000, although the program was halted between 2018 and 2021. Two categories of researchers will be selected: Applications are due April 24. More information is available on the NIJ website.

Biden Announces 2023 Class of the National Science Board

The Biden Administration has announced the appointment of the new class of members to the National Science Board (NSB). NSB is the policy-making body of the National Science Foundation (NSF) that also advises the President and Congress on federal science policy. The new members will each serve a six-year term. The new members include: With terms ending for departed NSB members Emilio Moran and Bob Groves, Deborah Ball and Wanda Ward will be the only two social and behavioral scientists serving on the 30-person Board. Ball previously served on the NSB during the Obama Administration and Ward was previously a…

OSTP Announces “Year of Open Science,” Doubles Up with Scientific Integrity Policies

On January 11, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) released a fact sheet detailing several actions aiming to advance open science and research while dubbing this year the “Year of Open Science.” The announcement comes in the wake of the recent guidance aiming to increase public access to federally funded research (see previous COSSA coverage). Some of the notable actions include developing an official definition of “open science,” requiring federal agencies to update their public access plans, and publishing a new online resource for the public to learn about engaging in open science programs. A few…

National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics to Release Biennial Diversity and STEM Report

The National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES), within the National Science Foundation (NSF), will release its biennial report, Diversity and STEM: Women, Minorities and Persons with Disabilities, on January 30. The report was last released in 2021 under the title, Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering (WMPD), and provides statistical information on women, minorities, and persons with disabilities in science and engineering education and employment. NCSES will host an informational webinar on the results of the Diversity and STEM report on January 31. Register for the event here.

Congress Tacks ARPA-H Authorization onto FY 2023 Spending Deal

The finalization of appropriations for fiscal year (FY) 2023 received plenty of attention by the research community for its investments in federal research agencies. However, another important provision was the authorization of the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H). Touted as a major priority for the Biden Administration, ARPA-H is a “high-risk, high-reward” advanced biomedical research agency established in 2022 after receiving initial funding in the FY 2022 appropriations bill. Despite receiving funds, it had not yet been authorized through legislation until it was attached to the FY 2023 appropriations omnibus last month (see COSSA’s analysis). The long-awaited authorization…

National Science and Technology Council Releases Roadmap on Information Integrity Research and Development

The White House’s National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) has released The Roadmap for Researchers on Priorities Related to Information Integrity Research and Development. The report identifies combating misinformation as a high priority target for researchers, citing the harmful nature it can have on the public. According to the roadmap, the NSTC will focus its efforts on the following areas: The roadmap is intended to guide research in understanding and combating corrupted and manipulated information while protecting freedom of expression and speech. Notably, the roadmap includes an action plan that details different actions that could be taken by different actors…

The White House Releases Its Fifth Open Government National Action Plan

The White House released its Fifth Open Government National Action Plan on December 28. 2022. The first such report was released during the Obama administration in 2011, citing government initiatives that would improve government accountability. These reports are an effort to improve the government’s relationship with the public and elevate their voices. In the most recent report, the Biden Administration has developed various initiatives dedicated to advancing equity through improving access to government information, increasing public engagement, improving the efficiency and effectiveness of government programs, combatting corruption, and promoting social justice. Many of the initiatives are already well underway, including…

NIJ and BJS Directors Call for Reliable Research and Data on Crime

Nancy La Vigne, Ph.D., Director of the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), and Alexis Piquero, Ph.D., Director of the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), called for an emphasis on scientific evidence in criminal justice policies in a January 4 opinion piece in The Hill. The commentary, which makes a case for continued support for the missions of NIJ and BJS, highlights public confusion regarding crime rates and the role of research and data collection in guiding crime reduction policies. It also cites crime forecasting algorithms and forensic science methodologies as evidence-based tools that research and data have shown to be…

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