Featured News

OBSSR Requesting Comments on Draft Priorities for 2023-2028 Strategic Plan

The Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has released a Request for Information aiming to gather stakeholder feedback on the draft priorities and strategic objectives for the Office in their 2023-2028 Strategic Plan. These draft priorities are the result of evaluation of the previous strategic plan, a previous Request for Information, and multiple listening sessions with internal and external NIH stakeholders. The draft strategic plan provides a framework with three major scientific priorities which each carry their own objectives: Improve the synergy between basic behavioral and social sciences research and research…

Renee Wegrzyn to be Named Inaugural Director of ARPA-H

On September 12, the Biden Administration released an announcement of the intent to appoint Renee Wegrzyn, Ph.D. as the inaugural director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H). The announcement for permanent leadership at the nascent agency has been anticipated since ARPA-H’s creation earlier this spring. Anthropologist Adam Russell has been leading the agency in the interim as Acting Deputy Director since May 2022 (see previous COSSA coverage). Dr. Wegrzyn comes to ARPA-H with a wealth of experience in biotechnology, including synthetic biology, gene editing, and biosecurity. She previously served in the private sector as vice president of…

White House Announces New Requirements for Public Access to Federally Funded Research

On August 25, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) announced new requirements on federal agencies to make peer-reviewed publications resulting from federal funding freely available to the public immediately following publication. Citing longstanding concerns around inequitable access to “the full benefits of scientific research” as well as recent success in the sharing of COVID-19 research and data, the memorandum directs federal agencies to eliminate the optional 12-month publication embargo period for federally funded peer reviewed research articles and to make data associated with peer reviewed research articles immediately available upon publication. Specifically, federal agencies are expected…

Sweeping Innovation Bill Crosses the Finish Line

Before recessing for the remainder of summer, Congress passed the CHIPS and Science Act (H.R. 4346) in late July. This collection of bills has taken many forms over the last two years and has gone by many different names, including the Endless Frontier Act, America COMPETES Act, and U.S. Innovation and Competition Act). The final version gained traction over the last few months following significant disruption to the global microelectronics supply chain resulting from the ongoing pandemic. These concerns reinvigorated Congressional interest in innovation and competitiveness legislation, which led to the CHIPS and Science Act that also incorporates ambitious funding…

COSSA Releases Analysis of FY 2023 House Appropriations Bills

Over the last few weeks, the House Appropriations Committee began considering its annual spending bills for fiscal year (FY) 2023, including the bills that fund federal science, research, and data activities. In some cases, the House proposals mirror priorities laid out in the President’s FY 2023 budget request. However, in most cases, funding allocations did not allow House appropriators to include the sizeable increases sought by the Biden Administration. Still, achieving increases in a funding environment that continues to be impacted by a global pandemic is an important feat.  Lawmakers have just three more weeks of work in July before…

COSSA Running “Why Social Science” Series Spotlighting Research on Gun Violence

Friends, The statistics surrounding gun violence in America are staggering and the policy solutions varied. Recent tragedies in Uvalde, TX and at a grocery store in my hometown of Buffalo, NY—not to mention the countless other shootings that have occurred since then—underscore just how pervasive this crisis is, regardless of where you live. The institutions long-considered “safe spaces”—schools, hospitals, houses of worship—are no longer safe from the scourge of gun violence. Mass shooting events are just one piece of this social and public health crisis. Everyday across the country families and communities are being rocked by gun violence, from suicide…

Kellina Craig-Henderson Tapped to Lead Social Science Directorate at NSF

On June 16, the National Science Foundation (NSF) announced that Dr. Kellina Craig-Henderson has been selected to serve as the Assistant Director for the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (SBE) Directorate. Craig-Henderson, who has been serving as Acting Assistant Director of SBE since January, was the Deputy Assistant Director of SBE under Dr. Arthur “Skip” Lupia, the previous Assistant Director of SBE whose term expired last year. Craig-Henderson assumes the role with extensive experience as a professor of psychology and in other leadership roles at NSF. She was previously a Psychology and Afro-American Studies faculty member at the University of…

National Academies Release New Report on Ontologies in the Behavioral Sciences

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) has released a new consensus study report titled Ontologies in the Behavioral Sciences: Accelerating Research and the Spread of Knowledge. The report offers a description of ontologies, or frameworks for organizing existing knowledge, and ways they can be used to support behavioral science. In addition, the report offers several recommendations for science stakeholders to best use ontologies to advance behavioral science research, including federal agencies and professional organizations. Some of these recommendations include: The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Science Foundation (NSF) should create agendas for advancing behavioral science…

Congress Begins Marathon of Conferencing Work for Innovation & Competitiveness Package

On May 12, 107 members of the House and Senate comprising the conference committee for U.S. innovation legislation held their first meeting to begin work on reconciling their bills. As previously reported, 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) in February. The nearly 3,000-page package is comprised of several bills and other provisions related to advancing the U.S. STEM enterprise and shoring up U.S. scientific competitiveness, especially with respect to China. The COMPETES bill is the House’s response to the U.S. Innovation and Competition…

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.

Subscribe

Past Newsletters

Browse

Archive

Browse 40 years of the COSSA Washington Update.