Hot Topics

HOT TOPIC: Competing Visions – The NSF for the Future Act and the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act

In June 2021, the House and Senate advanced separate versions of legislation to enhance U.S. innovation and global competitiveness. The approaches taken by the two bills, however, differ dramatically. The Senate bill focuses squarely on ways to harness and in some cases alter the nation‚Äôs scientific assets to better compete with China. The House bill, on the other hand, doubles down on the nation‚Äôs existing, proven scientific leadership and proposes additional investments to push the U.S. research enterprise‚ÄĒparticularly the National Science Foundation‚ÄĒinto new directions. Despite the many differences between them, some parallels can be found; for example, both propose establishing…

HOT TOPIC: Foreign Interference in the U.S. Research Enterprise & Policy Responses

COSSA has released the latest edition of our HOT TOPIC series, which are featured articles prepared by COSSA staff members offering insights into timely issues important to the social and behavioral science community.¬†This edition, titled Foreign Interference in the U.S. Research Enterprise & Policy Responses, was written by Ben Goodrich. In recent years, United States federal research agencies have faced growing concerns of reports of U.S. research and intellectual property being stolen, illegally transferred, or tampered with by foreign governments, notably the Chinese government. These agencies have employed a variety of methods to protect research from foreign interference, including commissioning…

HOT TOPIC: New NIH ‚ÄúClinical Trials‚ÄĚ Definition to Impact Basic Social and Behavioral Science Research

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has been working for the last few years to enhance its stewardship of and increase transparency over the clinical trials it funds. The agency, which is the largest funder of clinical trials in the U.S., issued a Notice of Revised NIH Definition of ‚ÄúClinical Trial‚ÄĚ (NOT-OD-15-015) in late 2014 laying out a new, expanded definition to govern which research projects are to be categorized as a ‚Äúclinical trial‚ÄĚ from here on out. While this change has been in process for the last few years, it wasn‚Äôt until more recently that the biomedical and behavioral…

HOT TOPIC: HHS Announces Final Changes to Human Subjects Research Regulations

During the final days of the Obama Administration, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released the final text for its changes to the Common Rule, the regulations that govern research with human subjects, completing a revision process started in 2011. The Common Rule, which was last updated in 1991, affects research supported by 16 federal departments and agencies, including the Departments of Health and Human Services, Agriculture, Defense, Education, Commerce, Labor, and Veterans Affairs, as well as the National Science Foundation. Overall, the changes look to be a positive development for the social and behavioral science research…

House Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Academic Research Regulatory Relief

The Subcommittee on Research and Technology of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology held a hearing on September 29 to review recommendations related to regulatory relief for academic research. Rep. Barbra Comstock (R-VA), the Subcommittee Chair, and Rep. Daniel Lipinski (D-IL), the Ranking Member, have both introduced legislation to help ease the administrative burden on federally-funded researchers. The hearing highlighted a report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) that provides recommendations to the Department of Energy, NASA, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the National Science Foundation on how to streamline administrative requirements. Witnesses included John…

HOT TOPIC: Reducing the Regulatory Burden on Federally-Funded Researchers

COSSA has released a new publication in its HOT TOPICS series, Reducing the Regulatory Burden on Federally-Funded Researchers. HOT TOPICS are periodic, featured articles prepared by COSSA staff members offering insights into timely issues important to the social and behavioral science community. This edition was written by Camille Hosman, who joined the COSSA team earlier this year. The report provides an overview of some of the major efforts made in recent years to better understand issues of¬†regulatory burden and to begin to develop roadmaps for addressing it. While there is no shortage¬†of ideas, given the complexity of the topic and…

HOT TOPIC: Scientific Organizations Reflect on Building ‚ÄúTrust in Science‚ÄĚ

By Julia Milton, COSSA The scientific community has been grappling with topics related to science communication and public trust in science¬†lately. This spring, several major scientific organizations met to focus on these issues. To name a few, the National Academy of Science‚Äôs 2015 Henry and Bryna David Lecture was held on ‚ÄúCommunicating the Value and Values of Science;‚ÄĚ the AAAS‚Äô annual Forum on Science and Technology Policy held not one, but two break-out sessions on ‚ÄúPublic Opinion and Policy Making,‚ÄĚ as well as an evening plenary lecture entitled ‚ÄúScience to Action: Thoughts on Convincing a Skeptical Public;‚ÄĚ and the Academies‚Äô…

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