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Registration Open for In-Person Social Science Advocacy Day on April 24-25

You will be teamed up with advocates from your home state and participate in a day of in-person meetings (Tuesday, April 25) with House and Senate offices on Capitol Hill. Through these meetings, you will share reasons why federal government support for social and behavioral science research is so critical and discuss how you and your institution can be helpful to your elected officials. Advocates will be given all the resources they need to have successful meetings. This fun, informative event is a must for anyone within the social and behavioral science community who cares about sustainable funding for our…

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…

ICYMI: Congress Finalizes FY 2023 Spending Deal, COSSA Releases Analysis for Science Agencies

At the end of last year, House and Senate Appropriations Committees released details of the massive fiscal year (FY) 2023 omnibus appropriations and supplemental spending package. The omnibus includes all twelve annual appropriations bills as well as one-time emergency funding for disaster relief and support to Ukraine. Congress took up the package before the December 23 continuing resolution was set to expire, thereby completing the FY 2023 appropriations process, albeit nearly three months late. As noted, the final package contains $27 billion in emergency supplemental funding to help respond to recent natural disasters and extreme weather events. Within the disaster…

FY 2023 Spending Deal in Sight?

The federal government is scheduled to run out of money unless Congress acts by Friday, December 16 when the current continuing resolution (CR) will expire. Lawmakers have been working since returning from the midterm elections to strike a deal on top-line funding levels for fiscal year (FY) 2023. However, debates over how to divvy up limited resources between defense and non-defense accounts coupled with the incoming Republican takeover in the House come January have made progress slow. Still lawmakers could announce as early as today a framework that will allow them to proceed on a large omnibus spending package and…

National Academies Calls for Nominations for Study on Improving Economic and Social Mobility

The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine’s (NASEM) Committee on Population (CPOP) and Committee on National Statistics (CNSTAT) are leading a consensus study to identify gaps in knowledge on the influences on economic and social mobility in the U.S. Recognizing the prevalence of inequalities in income, wealth, health, and life across the U.S., the study will seek to understand how such inequalities are influenced by policy interventions and how they vary across different population groups. NASEM invites nominations for individuals to serve on the committee. Expertise is sought in the following areas: economics, sociology, demography, statistics/methodology, psychology, political science,…

NIH to Host 2022 Behavioral and Social Sciences Research Festival

The Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will be holding the 2022 NIH Behavioral and Social Sciences Research Festival next month on December 8 and 9. The festival, held annually by OBSSR and the NIH Behavioral and Social Sciences Research Coordinating Committee (BSSR-CC), features panel discussions on recent social science research results, growing areas, and innovations in the field of health-related BSSR.  This year, the festival will focus on social connection, mental and emotional health, social determinants of health, and measurement in BSSR. The keynote address will be delivered by Richard…

OSTP Releases Artificial Intelligence Bill of Rights

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) recently released a Blueprint for an Artificial Intelligence Bill of Rights aimed at protecting diverse communities through identifying concerns, risks, and potential solutions to combat discrimination and biases with artificial intelligence systems. To combat the rise of inequity and biases with Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology, OSTP’s Bill of Rights blueprints identifies five practices: Safe and Effective Systems: Designers, developers, and deployers of automated systems should ensure systems have pre-deployment testing that identifies risks and determines the safety of the system. Algorithmic Discrimination Protections: Designers, developers, and deployers of automated systems…

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…

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