Executive Branch News

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…

SBE Releases Dear Colleague Letter Encouraging EPSCoR Submissions

The Directorate for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (SBE) housed within the National Science Foundation (NSF) has released a Dear Colleague Letter encouraging submissions to already established NSF funding opportunities from the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR). EPSCoR was developed to target specific areas in the U.S. with increased opportunity to study and join the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workforce to improve geographic and institutional diversity. As directed by the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022, NSF is in the process of dedicating more funding towards the EPSCoR jurisdictions. The letter reaffirms SBE’s commitment to support research in the social and…

President Biden Issues Executive Order to Advance Women’s Health Research

On March 18, President Joe Biden issued an Executive Order, titled “Advancing Women’s Health Research and Innovation.” This order directs specific advancements and improvements for research on women’s health, largely through the White House Initiative on Women’s Health Research, established by the Presidential Memorandum of November 13, 2023. The Initiative draws on interdisciplinary backgrounds to advance research on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of conditions that affect women uniquely, disproportionately, or differently. This order now names the following topics of interest: women’s midlife health, addressing current gaps in research, and integrating women’s health research into federal research programs. These directions align with…

New JASON Report Advocates for Project-by-Project Approach to Sensitive Research Security

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has commissioned a new report from JASON, an independent scientific advisory group, on the implications of imposing broad controls on sensitive research security. The report reaffirms a longstanding policy that fundamental research should remain largely unrestricted unless specific sensitivities require classification. JASON suggests the need for updated research security measures in ways that do not stifle innovation and openness. The report evaluates international collaborations, especially highlighting concerns with the Chinese government’s approach to fundamental research for military needs and restrictions on information flow. The report recommends a nuanced method where the NSF collaborates with Principal Investigators and…

NCSES Requests Responses to Data Tools Survey

The National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES), housed within the National Science Foundation (NSF), is requesting responses to a new survey intended to improve NCSES data tools. As previously reported by COSSA, NCSES has been working to expand accessibility to their collected data through developing new resources, including the Knowledge Base, in an effort to modernize their data tools. Responses to this survey are confidential and would be used to improve these efforts. Submit comments and feedback here.

OMB Publishes Revisions to Race and Ethnicity Standards for Federal Data Collection

On March 28, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released the updated standards for Statistical Policy Direction No. 15: Standards for Maintaining, Collecting, and Presenting Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity. The revisions come after months of seeking comments from the public, including through requests for public comments, public listening sessions, and town hall meetings on the topic. Effective immediately, based on the recommendations of the Federal Interagency Technical Working Group on Race and Ethnicity Standards, a Middle Eastern or North African (MENA) minimum category will be separated from the White category, a decision that has been widely requested by the community (see previous…

The State of U.S. Science and Engineering 2024 Released

The National Science Board recently released their The State of U.S. Science and Engineering 2024. The Science and Engineering Indicators report summarizes the status of the science and engineering enterprise within the United States, examining the country’s overall position in the global landscape. This is sourced from nine thematic reports, organized into three main sections—talent, discovery, and translation. These three components collectively support U.S. global competitiveness in science, technology, and innovation (STI), in that science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) talent contributes to scientific discovery, which in turn is translated to society and the economy through innovation. The report sheds light…

New Executive Order Targets Protection of Americans’ Data from Foreign Threats

On February 28, the White House issued an Executive Order (EO) titled “Preventing Access to Americans’ Bulk Sensitive Personal Data and United States Government-Related Data by Countries of Concern.” This EO seeks to safeguard the privacy of American citizens and the integrity of government data against foreign exploitation. Under this guidance, the Attorney General is mandated to formulate regulations that will restrict transactions involving sensitive American data and government-related information, particularly when transactions involve foreign countries or nationals identified as posing security threats. This regulatory framework is aimed at curbing the potential for adversaries to exploit personal and governmental data…

NSF selects Kaye Husbands Fealing to lead the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences Directorate

On February 29, the National Science Foundation (NSF) announced that Kaye Husbands Fealing has been selected to lead the Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE). Her appointment will begin on April 22. Husbands Fealing is dean of the Georgia Institute of Technology Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts and former chair of the Georgia Tech School of Public Policy. She specializes in the science of science and innovation policy, the public value of research expenditures and the underrepresentation of women and minorities in STEM fields and the workforce. Husbands Fealing developed and was the inaugural program director for NSF’s Science…

DOJ Announces Grant Funding Opportunities

The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced its fiscal year (FY) 2024 Program Plan outlining anticipated grant funding available for advancing public safety. Groups eligible for applying include community-based organizations; state, local, Tribal, and territorial government agencies; research institutions; and nonprofit entities. There are over 200 grant programs awarded across three grantmaking components: Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office), Office of Justice Programs (OJP), and Office on Violence Against Women (OVW). Within OJP, there are six program offices that offer funding opportunities: Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA); Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS); National Institute of Justice (NIJ); Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency…

Mental Health Director Dr. Joshua Gordon Departs from NIMH

On February 29, National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Dr. Monica Bertagnolli announced the departure of Director Dr. Joshua Gordon from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). As previously reported by COSSA, Director Gordon joined NIMH in August 2016 after previously serving as an associate professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University and as a research psychiatrist at New York State Psychiatric Institute (NYSPI). Dr. Gordon will return to Columbia as the Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and Psychiatrist-in-Chief of the New York-Presbyterian Hospital campus at Columbia University Irving Medical Center. He…

The National Medal of Science Nominations are Open

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has officially announced the Call for Nominations for the National Medal of Science. The National Medal of Science is the highest recognition the nation can bestow on scientists and engineers. The presidential award is given to individuals deserving of special recognition by reason of their outstanding contributions to knowledge in the physical, biological, mathematical, engineering, or social and behavioral sciences, in service to the Nation. Nominate colleagues and peers who have made extraordinary contributions that have advanced the scientific enterprise. Nominations are due by May 3. Learn more about the nomination and review process here.

NSF Releases Dear Colleague Letter Opportunity for Bias, Prejudice, and Discrimination

The Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (SBE) directorate within the National Science Foundation (NSF) has released a Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) encouraging research dedicated to understanding and mitigating issues of bias, prejudice, and discrimination (BPD). The DCL highlights three interests for SBE programs, including investigations of BPD in under-studied populations, the effects of environmental factors on BPD, and the development and origins of BPD. A list of participating NSF programs can be found here. Any questions about the DCL should be directed to bpd@nsf.gov.

Dept. of Ed Seeks Input on Mental and Behavioral Health of Students in Higher Education

The Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE) within the Department of Education (DOE) has issued a request for information (RFI) regarding support systems for the mental and behavioral health of students in higher education. Recognizing the rising rates of depression and anxiety over the past two decades, OPE seeks successful examples of addressing student mental health and substance use disorder needs, transforming campus cultures at institutions of higher education (IHEs), and receiving support from State higher education agencies. Further, OPE seeks to understand challenges that IHEs face in implementing solutions. Comments are requested by February 25 and can be submitted here. This article was…

NSF Launches New National AI Research Resource Pilot

On January 24, the National Science Foundation (NSF), in collaboration with various agencies, launched the National Artificial Intelligence Research Resource (NAIRR) pilot. This initiative takes a first step towards creating a research infrastructure aimed at both strengthening and democratizing access to the essential resources required for responsible AI discovery and innovation. The NAIRR pilot is designed to equip U.S.-based researchers and educators with access to advanced computing power, extensive datasets, sophisticated models, cutting-edge software, and comprehensive training and support. By fostering collaboration across academia, industry, the nonprofit sector, and government, the program intends to utilize cross-sector partnerships. According to NSF,…

EPA Seeks Public Comment on Draft Scientific Integrity Policy

On January 24, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a 30-day public comment period on the draft updates to its Scientific Integrity (SI) Policy. This policy is in response to the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy’s (OSTP) memorandum requiring federal agencies to develop scientific integrity policies to restore trust in science (see previous COSSA coverage). The updated SI Policy will adopt a new Federal definition of scientific integrity and meaningfully strengthen several policy elements that will help ensure a culture of scientific integrity at the Agency. It will incorporate the model scientific integrity policy from the National Science and Technology Council’s A…

Applications for NIJ’s Graduate Research Fellowship Open

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) is now accepting applications for their Graduate Research Fellowship (GRF) program. The program is looking for 20 new fellows and supports doctoral research with relevance to criminal or juvenile justice in the United States. This includes anthropology, sociology, public policy, information sciences, criminology, forensic science, technology for law enforcement, and more. Applications from all science and engineering fields are welcome. The fellowship provides up to three years of support within a five-year period and includes: The grants.gov deadline is April 10 and the JustGrants deadline is April 17. Students must be enrolled full time in a Ph.D….

2024 NIJ Research Conference: Advancing Justice Through Science

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) is inviting submissions for lightning talks and research posters for their 2024 Research Conference: Advancing Justice Through Science. The conference will take place September 16-18 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. NIJ is welcoming proposals for 10-minute lightning talks on emerging issues and pioneering methods in research on safety and justice. Submissions for the poster session must focus on current issues and/or innovative methods that have an impact on the criminal or juvenile justice system in the United States and may involve social, behavioral, or forensic sciences; technology; and/or engineering. Eligibility for both opportunities is open to both…

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