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Biden Administration Names Nancy La Vigne, Criminologist & COSSA Board Member, to Lead National Institute of Justice

On May 4, it was announced that President Biden has appointed Dr. Nancy La Vigne to be the next Director of the National Institute of Justice (NIJ). La Vigne, a distinguished criminal justice researcher, brings a wealth of experience in criminal justice policy, research, and non-profit leadership. Formerly a senior fellow at the Council on Criminal Justice, La Vigne holds a Ph.D. in criminal justice from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, a master’s degree in public affairs from the University of Texas-Austin, and a bachelor’s degree in government and economics from Smith College. She has over a decade…

White House Compiles Federal Equity Action Plans

The White House has published a list of equity action plans that have been developed by various federal agencies in order to comply with President Biden’s Executive Order on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government (E.O. 13985) issued on the first day of his term (see previous coverage for more details). According to the White House announcement, more than 90 federal agencies across the government were consulted to contribute to the equity action plans to address where barriers to accessing federal programs may exist and identify changes to federal policy that could be made….

President’s FY 2023 Budget Request for Social and Behavioral Science

As previously reported, the Biden Administration released its fiscal year (FY) 2023 budget request to Congress on March 28. The FY 2023 budget prioritizes investment in areas of central importance to the Biden Administration, such as innovation and competitiveness, cancer research, and technological advancement. In addition, like we saw in last year’s budget request, the Administration’s budget underscores the President’s commitment to science as a means for addressing large societal challenges, such as climate change, racism, and, of course, pandemic recovery. However, the budget seeks to achieve these ends through targeted investments that could potentially come at the expense of…

Biden Administration Begins Rollout of FY 2023 Budget, Some Details Yet to be Published

On March 28, the Biden Administration began releasing details of its fiscal year (FY) 2023 budget request to Congress. At the time of this writing, details for all federal agencies and departments important to the social science research community have not yet been published; however, topline budget levels are available: The budget request proposes increases for much of the federal research enterprise with some exceptions; however, the devil is in the details. For example, more than half of the proposed increase for the National Institutes of Health would go toward the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) which was…

Congress Finally Agrees on FY 2022 Funding, Mixed Bag for Science

Nearly six months into the new fiscal year, Congress has finally completed its work on the fiscal year (FY) 2022 appropriations bills, securing funding for federal departments, agencies, and programs through September 30, 2022. After months of stalemate and rocky negotiations, House and Senate leaders agreed to an overall FY 2022 framework that includes roughly equal increases to defense and non-defense funding, delivering a major win to Republicans who were pushing for parity throughout the process. The eleventh hour increase in defense spending in the final package resulted in smaller-than-expected increases to nearly all agencies and programs important to the…

Nelson, Collins Step in to Lead White House Science Efforts

On February 16, the White House announced the appointment of Dr. Alondra Nelson as the interim director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) effective immediately, replacing Eric Lander who stepped down last month amid allegations of workplace bullying. Dr. Nelson, a sociologist, is currently serving as OSTP Deputy Director for Science and Society. In addition, Dr. Francis Collins, who recently retired as Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has been asked to step in as the President’s Science Advisor and Co-Chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. Both Nelson and Collins…

House Passes Innovation, NSF Legislation, Setting Stage for Negotiations with Senate

On February 4, the House of Representatives passed the America Creating Opportunities for Manufacturing Pre-Eminence in Technology and Economic Strength (COMPETES) Act of 2022 (H.R. 4521). The nearly 3,000-page package is the product of months of work across several House Committees on a suite of bills related to advancing the U.S. STEM enterprise and shoring up U.S. scientific competitiveness, especially with respect to China. The bill includes a range of provisions, including a reauthorization of the National Science Foundation (NSF), research security directives, initiatives aimed at broadening participation in science, and combatting sexual and other forms of harassment. COSSA has…

House Introduces New Version of Sweeping Research and Innovation Bill; Vote Expected 

On January 25, Democrats in the House of Representatives introduced the America COMPETES Act of 2022 (H.R. 4521). As previously reported, House and Senate leaders have been working on innovation and competitiveness legislation for more than two years now. While the House’s approach has been to focus on shoring up the U.S. scientific enterprise through targeted investments in the National Science Foundation and other science agencies, the Senate’s focus has been more squarely on competing with China through investments in key technologies. This has made negotiations between the House and Senate challenging. The new House bill appears to be the…

OSTP Releases Guidance for NSPM-33, Long Awaited Research Security Roadmap

On January 4, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) announced the publication of the implementation guidance for National Security Presidential Memorandum (NSPM)-33, the guidelines released in early 2021 intended to improve research security efforts at federal agencies (see previous COSSA coverage for more details). This long-awaited guidance, which was released as a report by OSTP’s National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) Joint Committee on the Research Environment (JCORE), aims to clarify requirements for federally funded researchers and set best practices at federal agencies to strengthen research security. The guidance offers direction on five major areas of…

Larry Tabak Named Acting Director for NIH, Questions Remain Regarding Presidential Nomination

On December 9, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra announced that Larry Tabak, current principal deputy director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), would take leadership of NIH as acting director beginning on December 20. Current NIH director Francis Collins announced his intent to step down earlier this year after 15 years of service in the role as the agency’s director (see previous coverage for more details). Tabak has been a mainstay at NIH, serving as director of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) for a decade prior to his naming as principal deputy…

NIH to Hold Series of Listening Sessions on UNITE Initiative and Racial Equity

Throughout the end of 2021 and early 2022, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will be holding a series of listening sessions to gather stakeholder feedback on achieving racial equity as part of the agency’s UNITE Initiative. The UNITE Initiative, which was launched by NIH in March 2021, is intended to analyze and address the agency’s practices to better foster diversity, equity, and inclusion in the biomedical research enterprise (see previous COSSA coverage for more details). A full list of the upcoming sessions and registration information is available here.

Evidence Advisory Committee Recommends Establishment of a National Data Service

The Advisory Committee on Data for Evidence Building (ACDEB) released its first report on October 29. The Committee was created by the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act (“Evidence Act,” see previous coverage) and given two years to make recommendations for promoting evidence-building in the federal government, including evaluating the need for and value of a potential National Secure Data Service (NSDS) to facilitate linking data from across the federal government. The ACDEB report affirms the need for the establishment of a NSDS and outlines a broad vision for such a service as a “quasi- or non-governmental entity that is sponsored…

Infrastructure Bill Complete; Funding and Reconciliation Bills Remain

Congress has its work cut out for it as we head into the holiday season. With a limited number of working days left before the first session of the 117th Congress ends, time is short to pass a $2 trillion reconciliation package and complete work on the fiscal year (FY) 2022 appropriations bills. Of course, this is the time of year when deals are struck and efforts that appeared out of reach only months ago somehow find the finish line, as we saw last week with the passage of sweeping infrastructure legislation. On November 5, the House of Representatives passed…

Senate Releases Remaining Draft Appropriations Bills, Setting Stage for FY 2022 Negotiations

Last week, the Senate Appropriations Committee released drafts of nine of its annual appropriations bills. While fiscal year (FY) 2022 officially began on October 1, the Senate Appropriations Committee has so far this year only completed work on three of its FY 2022 bills; none of the Senate bills have yet been voted on by the full Senate. Last month, Congress enacted a continuing resolution (CR) to keep the federal government open until December 3, providing additional time for both chambers to complete their work. Over in the House, the Appropriations Committee advanced all twelve of its annual spending bills…

Bill Riley to Retire as Director of NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research

On September 30, William T. Riley, Associate Director for Behavioral and Social Science Research (BSSR) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Director of the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR), announced his retirement from NIH at the end of December 2021. OBSSR Deputy Director Christine Hunter will take over as Acting Director position until a permanent replacement is named. Riley, who has led BSSR efforts at NIH for the past seven years, has been a tremendous proponent of the social and behavioral sciences through his previous roles at NIH including in the National Cancer Institute (NCI),…

Details of House Democrats’ Reconciliation Proposals Released; Road to Passage Still Unclear

As previously reported, House Democrats are currently working to pass their $3.5 billion “Build Back Better” plan through the fiscal year (FY) 2022 budget reconciliation process. As part of the process, authorizing committees have been tasked with making recommendations for how to allocate the funding in the plan. At this point, all committees have made and approved their recommendations, which have been compiled by the House Budget Committee into a final package to be approved by the full House. Negotiations are underway with various wings of the Democratic caucus to reach an agreement to pass the full bill in the…

Three Social Scientists Named to PCAST

On September 22, President Biden announced the appointment of 30 members to the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), the body of external advisors charged with making science, technology, and innovation policy recommendations to the President and the White House. The White House announcement notes that this is the most diverse group of PCAST members in U.S. history; it is led by its first female external co-chairs, Dr. Frances Arnold and Dr. Maria Zuber (in addition to Office of Science and Technology Policy Director Eric Lander) and is composed of over 50 percent women and one-third people…

White House Outlines R&D Budget Priorities for FY 2023

The White House has published a memorandum on Research & Development Priorities for the fiscal year (FY) 2023 Budget, a document that lays out the Administration’s priorities for federal research agencies to consider when drafting their budget requests. This memo, which is traditionally released annually by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), is the first such memo released by the Biden Administration. It outlines five cross-cutting themes for agencies to consider for their budgets: pandemic readiness and prevention; tackling climate change; research and innovation in emerging technologies; innovation in…

OSTP Prepares Upcoming Research Security Guidance

On August 10, Dr. Eric Lander, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) announced the Biden Administration’s intent to develop guidance for federal agencies to implement research security provisions over the following 90 days. The guidance would provide clear rules for federal agencies to comply with the National Security Presidential Memorandum (NSPM-33), issued in the final days of the Trump Administration. Among other provisions, NSPM-33 recommends standard research security measures across federal research agencies and clarifies disclosure requirements of foreign support for federally-funded scientists (see previous COSSA coverage for more details). In addition, on August…

NSF Seeks Candidates for SBE Leadership Positions

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has initiated a national search for its next Assistant Director for the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (SBE) Directorate. Dr. Arthur Lupia has served in this position since 2018. The Assistant Director for SBE oversees the directorate, which includes the Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences, the Division of Social and Economic Sciences, the SBE Office of Multidisciplinary Activities, and the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics. The search committee will be led by Robert Groves, Executive Vice President and Provost at Georgetown University, and is seeking candidates with outstanding leadership capabilities; a deep…

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