request for information

White House Seeks Input on Update to AI R&D Plan

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) is seeking input on updates to the National Artificial Intelligence (AI) Research and Development Strategic Plan. The most recent update to the plan (2019) sets out 8 strategic aims for AI R&D: Make long-term investments in AI research. Develop effective methods for human-AI collaboration. Understand and address the ethical, legal, and societal implications of AI. Ensure the safety and security of AI systems. Develop shared public datasets and environments for AI training and testing. Measure and evaluate AI technologies through standards and benchmarks. Better understand the national AI R&D workforce…

OMB Requests Input on Standard Application Process for Accessing Federal Data

The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has issued a request for comments on the recommendations of the Interagency Council on Statistical Policy (ICSP) regarding the implementation of a standard application process for accessing confidential federal data (which may be downloaded here). The ICSP report, which was written in response to requirements in the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018 (“Evidence Act,” see previous coverage), outlines considerations for applying to access confidential statistical data, agency review of applications, and an appeals process for applications that are denied. OMB is particularly interested in receiving comments on the proposal…

Census Seeking Comment on New “Ask U.S.” Opinion Panel

The Census Bureau is seeking approval for a new nationally representative survey panel called “Ask U.S.,” to be used for “tracking public opinion on a variety of topics of interest to numerous federal agencies and their partners, and for conducting experimentation on alternative question wording and methodological approaches” as well as potentially collecting “nationwide rapid-response data to address emerging data needs.” Public comment is being accepted on the new activity, which will also be coordinated with the Economic Research Service, Bureau of Labor Statistics, National Center for Education Statistics, and the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, among other…

Census Bureau Seeking to Extend and Expand Business Pulse Survey

Building on the success of the Census Bureau’s Small Business Pulse Survey, a continuous, frequently-updated survey instituted to measure the impact of the pandemic on small businesses, the Census Bureau is seeking public comment on a plan to establish a new Business Pulse Survey that will extend the existing survey sample to include all businesses. The Bureau is asking for three-year approval for the Business Pulse Survey, which will be a “continuous near real time data publication [that] will provide a baseline of the U.S. economy and will measure change as a result of current and future economic shocks.” While…

OSTP Launches “Challenge” for Advancing Equity in STEM

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) has announced an open invitation for ideas to improve equity in science and technology. Input is being gathered through an “Ideation Challenge,” which allows anyone to offer insight into the central question, “How can we guarantee all Americans can fully participate in, and contribute to, science and technology?” While there is no winner or prize, ideas will be evaluated and refined by OSTP for potential incorporation into the White House’s strategy for advancing equity in science and technology. The challenge is open through November 19. More information is available on…

New House Social Determinants of Health Caucus Seeks Stakeholder Input

A newly formed Congressional Social Determinants of Health Caucus is seeking the public’s input on challenges and opportunities related to social determinants of health. The bipartisan caucus, which held a launch event on July 21, is co-chaired by Representatives Cheri Bustos (D-IL), Tom Cole (R-OK), G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), and Markwayne Mullin (R-OK). The caucus “will explore opportunities to improve the impact of services delivered to address social determinants with the support of federal funding” and “work to amplify evidence-based approaches to holistic well-being.” The request for information asks stakeholders to respond to a list of questions relating to how to…

NIAAA Requesting Input on 2022-2026 Strategic Plan Outline

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has issued a Request for Information inviting feedback from stakeholders on the outline of the upcoming NIAAA Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years (FY) 2022-2026. The strategic plan outline, which is included in the request, contains several cross-cutting themes including promoting health equity and diversity in alcohol research spaces, identifying unique risks for alcohol misuse, advancing research on co-occurring conditions with alcohol misuse, supporting new technologies on diagnosis of alcoholism, increasing the use of data science in alcohol research, and encouraging collaboration between alcohol research…

White House Seeks Input on Scientific Integrity Policies

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) has issued a request for information (RFI) on ways to improve the effectiveness of federal scientific integrity policies, in support of President Biden’s January 27 Memorandum on Restoring Trust in Government Through Scientific Integrity and Evidence-Based Policymaking (see previous coverage). OSTP has convened an interagency task force of the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) that will conduct a review of the government’s science integrity policies. To inform this effort, OSTP seeks information about: “(1) The effectiveness of federal scientific integrity policies and needed areas of improvement; (2) good practices federal…

ECHO Program Seeks Comments on Collecting Pre-Conception Data

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has issued a request for information (RFI) on improving the science of the Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) program (see COSSA’s previous coverage). NIH is interested in input from the external community on topics including (but not limited to) enhancing the program’s study origins of child health outcomes originating prior to conception, as well as more general strategies for maintaining scientific value while reducing the burden of primary data collection on participants and staff, addressing public health emergencies, enhancing recruitment and retention of diverse populations, and promoting diversity of the workforce related…

National Academies Study on COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation Releases Discussion Draft, Seeks Feedback (Short Turnaround)

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) has released a discussion draft of a Preliminary Framework for Equitable Allocation of COVID-19 Vaccine, part of a fast-track study initiated over the summer (see previous coverage). The discussion draft, released September 1, aims to identify priorities to inform allocation of a limited initial supply of COVID-19 vaccine, taking into account factors such as racial/ethnic inequities and groups at higher risk due to health status, occupation, or living conditions. Feedback will be collected during a public listening session on September 2 as well as through a written comment period closing on…

NIDA Seeking Comments on 2021-2025 Strategic Plan

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is seeking stakeholder feedback on the draft version of its upcoming 2021-2025 Strategic Plan. The strategic plan is intended to guide the agency’s research priorities for the next five years by outlining cross-cutting research topics and approaches. NIDA’s draft strategic plan highlights several research topics that are relevant to the social and behavioral science community, including: Identifying and developing approaches to reduce stigma, Identifying and developing approaches to reduce health disparities, Understanding differences based on sex and gender, and Understanding interactions between substance use, HIV, and…

National Institute of Mental Health Requests Information on Draft 2020 Strategic Plan

In December 2019, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) within the National Institutes of Health released a Request for Information (RFI) soliciting public feedback on its draft Strategic Plan for Research. NIMH publishes a strategic plan for research every five years with updates to the Institute’s stated research priorities. The deadline to submit feedback has been extended to January 15, 2020. The draft of the strategic plan and more information can be found on the NIH website. Back to this issue’s table of contents.

NIH Seeking Comments on Inclusion Across the Lifespan II Workshop

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) released a Request for Information (RFI) seeking stakeholder input on a planned workshop on Inclusion Across the Lifespan, a policy intended to encourage inclusion of underrepresented participants in clinical studies. The Inclusion Across the Lifespan II Workshop is a follow-up to a 2017 workshop mandated by Congress in the 21st Century Cures Act. Comments will remain open until February 15, 2020. More information can be found in the NIH guide notice. Back to this issue’s table of contents.

Census Bureau Releases “Demonstration” Decennial Data Products, Working with National Academies to Collect Public Input

On October 29, the Census Bureau released a set of demonstration data products that show how the privacy measures planned for 2020 Census data would have applied to data from the 2010 Census. In a blog post, Census Bureau Chief Scientist John Abowd and Associate Director for Demographic Programs Victoria Velkoff assert that the “methods we used to protect the 2010 Census and earlier statistics can no longer adequately defend against today’s privacy threats.” They describe the new disclosure avoidance techniques planned to protect 2020 Census data and invite researchers and data users to experiment with the new demonstration products…

OBSSR Seeks Examples of Behavioral and Social Science Accomplishments

The Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is seeking contributions from the stakeholder community of examples of noteworthy advances in health that would not have been possible without the behavioral and social sciences. The project will be hosted on a crowdsourcing platform that will allow anyone to contribute an idea or vote on the best submissions. OBSSR is seeking as broad a list as possible—achievements do not need to have been funded by NIH or represent recent advances. More details are available in a blog post from OBSSR Director Bill Riley….

National Academies Seeking Community Input on First Phase of Alzheimer’s Decadal Survey

The National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine released a call for white papers from the scientific and stakeholder communities on the first phase of a decadal survey focused on reducing the burden of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) and Alzheimer’s Disease Related Dementias (ADRD). Individuals and organizations, especially those in the fields of behavioral and social science research and aging at large, are encouraged to submit white papers providing direct input into the initial work of the decadal. White paper submissions are due June 15, 2019. More information and submission guidelines can be found on the National Academies’ website. The decadal…

IES Requests Comment on Proposed Priorities

The Institute of Education Sciences (IES), the statistics, research, and evaluation arm of the Department of Education, has released a request for comment on proposed priorities for IES. The Federal Register Notice explains that the request is part of the process required by the agency’s authorizing legislation to receive public comment on priorities the Director of IES recommends to the National Board for Education Sciences. Proposed priorities fall into two categories: A Focus on Outcomes and Increasing Dissemination and Use. The Outcomes priority includes specific outcomes at the preschool, K-12, and postsecondary levels of education. The Dissemination and Use priority…

NIH Requests Input on Updated Definition of “Behavioral and Social Sciences Research”

On January 14, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) issued a request for information (RFI): Request for Information (RFI): Input on Revised Definition of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research at NIH (NOT-OD-19-032). NIH’s Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) is in the process of updating the definition of “behavioral and social sciences research” (BSSSR) that it uses to assess and monitor NIH BSSR funding. The current definition was originally developed in 1996 but has been updated periodically since then. Like the current definition, the proposed definition is somewhat lengthy (the full definition is included in the RFI). It…

Census Reissues Request for Input on 2020 Data Products

The Census Bureau has reopened a request for comments published over the summer to encourage additional feedback on how data products from prior decennial censuses (including summary and detailed tables, national and state demographic profiles, and topical briefs) have been used. As part of the Bureau’s ongoing efforts to safeguard privacy, some data products released after previous decennial censuses may be eliminated. Stakeholder input is necessary to help the Bureau prioritize which data products are most important to maintain. More information, including specific questions of interest to the Bureau and a spreadsheet containing a complete list of data products and…

NIH Seeks Input on BRAIN Initiative

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is seeking feedback through November 15 on a Request for Information (RFI) on the next phase of the Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative (NOT-NS-18-075). The agency is requesting input on the vision, priorities and goals outlined in the 2014 strategic plan, specifically in the following areas: ideas for new tools and technologies that have the potential to transform brain circuit research, questions about brain circuit function in humans or animal models that could be addressed with new technologies, considerations for data sharing infrastructure and policies, questions about ethical implications of BRAIN-supported…

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