NSF

Biden’s Infrastructure Proposal Includes $250 Billion in Research Funding

On March 31, the White House issued a fact sheet detailing many of the spending priorities in President Joe Biden’s proposed infrastructure initiative, the American Jobs Plan. The proposed $2.3 trillion infrastructure bill addresses a wide range of pressing needs related to infrastructure and economic revitalization. Included is $180 billion to “Invest in R&D and Technologies of the Future” and an extra $70 billion for research-related priorities such as pandemic preparedness and innovation in rural communities, totaling $250 billion specifically for the U.S. research enterprise. Many of the details are still unclear, although the fact sheet names where much of…

NSF Webinar Will Highlight Cross-Agency Funding Opportunities for Social Scientists

The National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences Directorate (SBE) will hold a webinar on April 15 to highlight the opportunity for social scientists to participate in several major NSF-wide initiatives, including Trust and Authenticity in Communications Systems, Understanding the Rules of Life: Emergent Networks, mid-scale research infrastructure and others. Featured speakers will include NSF Assistant Director Arthur Lupia, head of the Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences Directorate, and Douglas Maughan, head of NSF’s Convergence Accelerator Program. Information on registering is available here. Additional information about the webinar is available on the NSF website.

Science Committee Releases NSF Reauthorization Proposal

On March 26, the House Science Committee on Science, Space, and Technology released the text of the National Science Foundation for the Future Act, its proposed reauthorization legislation for the National Science Foundation (NSF). The bipartisan bill was introduced by Science Committee Chair Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) and Ranking Member Frank Lucas (R-OK), along with Reps. Haley Stevens (D-MI) and Michael Waltz (R-FL), the Chair and Ranking Member respectively of the Subcommittee on Research and Technology. Although Rep. Lucas had previously introduced a competing bill, the Securing American Leadership in Science and Technology Act, in the press release accompanying the…

NSF Issues New Framework for Identifying Broader Impacts; NSB Seeks Additional Guidance

On March 18, the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences Directorate (SBE) released a Dear Colleague Letter (NSF 21-059) offering guidance to proposal writers for shaping their broader impacts arguments. The notice makes no changes to NSF’s existing merit review criteria, which currently considers a project’s intellectual merit and broader impacts potential. Rather, it offers a framework for SBE researchers to consider “to develop and communicate their projects’ broader impacts more effectively” and “for connecting fundamental research outcomes to quality of life improvements for others.” The framework includes three guiding questions for principal investigators to consider: Who…

NSF Releases Annual Call for Advisory Committee Nominations

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has issued its annual call for recommendations for membership to its various advisory committees and technical boards. These committees advise NSF’s offices and directorates on program management, research direction, and policies impacting the agency.  Committees of particular interest to the COSSA community include the Advisory Committee for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences and the Advisory Committee for Education and Human Resources. Guidelines for recommendations and committee contact information can be found in the Federal Register. Recommendations for membership are maintained for 12 months.

Biden Signs American Rescue Plan, with Funding for NSF, IES, Universities

On March 11, President Biden signed into law the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (H.R. 1319). As previously reported, the $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill includes $600 million in funding to support research related to the pandemic at the National Science Foundation (NSF) and $100 million to support research related to K-12 learning loss at the Institute of Education Sciences (IES). The bill also includes $39.9 billion in funding to support colleges and universities. Now that this major piece of legislation has been enacted, lawmakers’ attention will turn to appropriations for the coming fiscal year. In addition, discussions will…

House Passes Funding for NSF, Higher Ed, and IES in $1.9 trillion COVID-19 Relief Bill

The House of Representatives passed a massive relief bill on February 27 that aims to bring financial support to those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act (H.R. 1319, committee report) includes direct payments to individuals, expansion of unemployment assistance, and an increase to the national minimum wage, among many other provisions. It also includes several notable provisions of interest to the science community, including $39.9 billion in funding for colleges and universities, with half to be used for student aid, as laid out in the CARES Act (see COSSA’s previous coverage). The bill also…

Lawmakers Reintroduce RISE Act

On February 5, a bipartisan group of lawmakers reintroduced the Research Investment to Spark the Economy (RISE) Act. As previously reported, the RISE Act seeks to provide funding relief to federal science agencies impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill would authorize $25 billion in emergency relief, including $10 billion for the National Institutes of Health and $3 billion for the National Science Foundation. Funding would be used to support non-COVID-related research that has been impacted or shuttered by the closure of labs resulting from the pandemic. This legislation is different from the $1.9 trillion COVID package discussed elsewhere in…

NSF Releases New “Understanding the Rules of Life” Solicitation

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is accepting applications for a new program within the Understanding the Rules of Life (URoL) Big Idea. The new program, Understanding the Rules of Life: Emergent Networks, seeks to support convergent research to understand the “’rules of emergence’ for networks of living systems and their environments,” described as the “interactions among organismal, environmental, social, and human-engineered systems that are complex and often unexpected given the behaviors of these systems when observed in isolation.” More information is available in the full solicitation. The deadline for proposals is May 20, 2021.

NSF Solicitation on “Future of Work” Encourages Social Science Proposals

The National Science Foundation has released a solicitation related to its Future of Work at the Human-Technology Frontier (FW-HTF) Big Idea. The solicitation invites proposals for multidisciplinary research investigating the evolving technological, human and societal aspects of work. Researchers from the social, behavioral and economic sciences are asked to collaborate with researchers in computer science, engineering and learning sciences to investigate the potential impacts of technological innovations and disruptions. More information is available in the full solicitation. Proposals are due on March 23, 2021.

NSF’s Kellina Craig-Henderson Answers “Why Social Science?”

The latest Why Social Science? post comes from Kellina Craig-Henderson, Deputy Assistant Director of the Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences Directorate (SBE) at the National Science Foundation (NSF). Dr. Craig-Henderson wrote for NSF’s Science Matters blog about her experiences confronting stereotypes as an African American female scientist and about SBE’s new Build and Broaden program, which directs resources to researchers at minority-serving institutions. Read it here and subscribe.

NSF Seeking Interdisciplinary Project Ideas on Understanding the Brain

On December 14, the National Science Foundation (NSF) released a Dear Colleague Letter requesting suggestions for potential interdisciplinary projects on brain research. In the letter, NSF states that these submissions should shed light on untapped research areas that may depend on collaboration between neuroscience and other fields such as behavioral science which may lead to future funding opportunities. The letter asks for input on recent scientific advances in the brain sciences that impact multiple disciplines as well as the perspectives needed to pursue research opportunities more effectively. A survey collecting submissions is available on the NSF website.

White House Announces Final Appointments for National Science Board

On November 24, the White House announced nominations and appointments for several key federal positions including the final two appointments filling out the National Science Board (NSB), the advisory body for the National Science Foundation (NSF). These appointments mark the first time since May that the NSB has had all seats filled and will be the last opportunity for the Trump White House to submit appointments to the NSB before the Presidential transition. The two NSB appointees are: Matthew Malkan, Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of California, Los Angeles Scott Stanley, Vice President of Technology and Co-Founder…

NSF Invites Proposals for New SBE-Led Initiatives on Strengthening Infrastructure, Broadening Participation in Entrepreneurship, and Enhancing Social Science Capacity at Minority-Serving Institutions

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has released a pair of Dear Colleague Letters (DCL) soliciting applications from the research community on two new crosscutting initiatives led by the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences Directorate (SBE). The first letter, Strengthening American Infrastructure (SAI), signed by the Assistant Directors of all seven research directorates and the head of the Office of Integrative Activities, seeks Early Concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER) proposals that “incorporate scientific insights about human behavior and social dynamics to better develop, design, build, rehabilitate, and maintain strong and effective American infrastructure” (which can include cyber, economic, educational, physical,…

NSF Accepting Career-Life Balance Supplemental Funding Requests

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has announced that it is accepting supplemental funding requests for current NSF grantees and research fellows under its Career-Life Balance (CLB) initiative. This initiative, which began in 2012, gives financial support to early-career researchers with the goal of preventing leaving the STEM workforce due to sudden increases in family care responsibilities and costs. The award requests may be for funding for up to six months of salary or up to a $30,000 stipend plus indirect costs. More information about the CLB initiative and instructions on submitting supplemental funding requests are available on the NSF website.

NSF Seeks Input on Future Convergence Accelerator Topics, Midscale STEM Education Infrastructure

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has released a request for information (RFI) on future topics for the NSF Convergence Accelerator. The Convergence Accelerator is a capability within NSF to accelerate use-inspired convergence research in areas of national importance via partnerships between academic and non-academic stakeholders. The Convergence Accelerator is entering its third funding cycle and has previously featured tracks related to NSF’s Industries of the Future (IotF) initiative and Big Ideas related to Future of Work at the Human-Technology Frontier (FW-HTF), Harnessing the Data Revolution (HDR), Quantum Leap (QL). The RFI is seeking ideas for new topics that build upon…

CNSF Hosts Congressional Briefing on Undergraduate Learning During COVID-19

On October 22, the Coalition for National Science Funding (CNSF), of which COSSA is a member, hosted a virtual briefing for Congressional staffers on undergraduate learning during COVID-19 and how funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) can address gaps in learning. The briefing featured presentations from Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology at North Carolina A&T State University Adrienne Aiken Morgan and Assistant Vice Chancellor for Digital Innovation and Enterprise Learning at Northeastern University Kemi Jona. In addition, brief remarks were offered by Representatives G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) and Katherine Clark (D-CA). The briefing was moderated by Associate Executive Director of…

NSF Seeking Comments on STEM Education Strategic Plan

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has announced it is accepting stakeholder comments on an upcoming Federal STEM Education Strategic Plan. This strategic plan, which is released roughly every five years, serves as a guide for developing STEM education programs at federal agencies as well as identifying areas for future improvement. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is a stated focus in this round of the Federal STEM Education Strategic Plan. NSF is seeking comments on the following issues: Future opportunities in STEM education; Developing STEM education digital resources; Increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion in STEM; Engaging students where disciplines converge;…

Federal Research Agencies Release Guidance on OMB’s Administrative Flexibility Changes

In response to a June 18 memo (M 20-26) issued by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) extending certain administrative flexibilities to federal grant recipients as relief for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, federal research agencies have released guidance statements clarifying the memo’s implications for recipients of research grants. On June 25, both the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) released nearly identical sets of guidance in response to the OMB memo explaining how the changes to the flexibilities will specifically affect recipients of their grants. The flexibilities include an allowance to continue…

Sethuraman Panchanathan Confirmed as Next NSF Director

On June 18, the Senate confirmed Sethuraman Panchanathan to be the 15th Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF), an agency that had been without a Senate-confirmed director since France Córdova’s term expired in March. Panchanathan, who was nominated to lead the agency in January, holds a doctorate in electrical and computer engineering and serves as the Executive Vice President of Knowledge Enterprise Development and as Chief Research and Innovation Officer at Arizona State University. He has also served on the National Science Board since 2014. The timeline for the Senate to consider Panchanathan’s nomination was delayed significantly by the…

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