Revisions #1 - 125397_washington update

A staple since COSSA’s earliest days, the biweekly COSSA Washington Update newsletter provides members and the public with comprehensive coverage of policy developments impacting social and behavioral science research. 

Bill Riley to Retire as Director of NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research

On September 30, William T. Riley, Associate Director for Behavioral and Social Science Research (BSSR) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Director of the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR), announced his retirement from NIH at the end of December 2021. OBSSR Deputy Director Christine Hunter will take over as Acting Director position until a permanent replacement is named. Riley, who has led BSSR efforts at NIH for the past seven years, has been a tremendous proponent of the social and behavioral sciences through his previous roles at NIH including in the National Cancer Institute (NCI),…

COSSA to Co-Sponsor University of Maryland Workshop on University-Industry Partnerships in the Social Sciences

The University of Maryland and UIDP, with support from COSSA, the National Science Foundation, MITRE, and Optimal Solutions Group, will be hosting a two-part Workshop on University-Industry Partnerships in the Social Sciences. This workshop, which will convene a virtual session on October 14, 2021, and an in-person main event on April 20-21, 2022, aims to bring together a wide variety of experts from within academia, government, non-profits, and the private sector to consider the potential of cross-sector partnerships to advance social and behavioral science and to benefit society. Three topics of focus have been identified for the sessions: Using Mission-Oriented Innovation…

October Headlines to Feature Deep Dive on Opportunities in the Basic Behavioral and Social Sciences at NIH with Outgoing OBSSR Director

COSSA members can sign up for our monthly Headlines webchat to catch up on the most important social and behavioral science news from the past month. October’s webinar will feature a deep dive discussion with Dr. William T. Riley, Director of the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), who will share findings from the recent NIH Advisory Committee Working Group report, Trans-NIH Research Opportunities in the Basic Behavioral and Social Sciences. Individuals employed by or affiliated with a COSSA member organization can register for the webchat here.

FROM THE ARCHIVES: Francis S. Collins Nominated to Lead the NIH (July 13, 2009)

In celebration of COSSA’s 40th anniversary, we are diving into the decades of Washington Update archives to share articles from years past that resonate with today’s news. On July 8, the White House announced the nomination of Francis S. Collins as director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Collins replaces Raynard S. Kington who was thanked by Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius for his service as Acting Director… The long-rumored nomination of the former director of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) has been expected by the scientific community. In the release announcing Collins’ nomination,…

Congress Puts Off Decisions on Spending, Debt Limit; Senate May Begin Working Through Appropriations Bills

Lawmakers kicked off fiscal year (FY) 2022 by enacting temporary measures to keep the government functioning while negotiations continue: a continuing resolution (CR) to fund government until December 3 and a short-term increase on the federal borrowing limit to avoid default, with plans to revisit the debt limit in December. Congressional leaders have also yet to make measurable progress on a spending package through the reconciliation process (see previous coverage of the House’s proposals). With immediate crises resolved until December, the Senate Appropriations Committee may begin to work through proposals for FY 2022 regular appropriations bills. The Senate committee has…

House Subcommittees Hold Hearing on Balancing Open Science and U.S. Research Security

On October 5, the Subcommittee on Investigations & Oversight and Subcommittee on Research & Technology within the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology (SST) held a joint hearing focused on maintaining the critical balance between securing the U.S. research enterprise and openness and international collaboration, especially concerning the requirements facing foreign scientists who perform research at U.S. institutions. Witnesses included Co-Chair of the National Science, Technology, and Security Roundtable at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) Dr. Maria Zuber; Director of Science, Technology Assessment, and Analytics at the Government Accountability Office (GAO) Candice Wright; Inspector General…

Biden’s PCAST Holds First Meeting

Just days after members were named to the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) (see previous coverage), the Council held its first meeting on September 28 and 29. The first meeting featured speakers who focused on two broad themes: (1) Strengthening US Science & Technology Global Leadership for the 21st Century and (2) The State of US Preparedness & Public Health as Revealed by the Pandemic. During discussions of US public health preparedness, both PCAST members and presenters alike emphasized the need for research in social and behavioral sciences to better shape how we respond to future…

Search for U.S. Chief Statistician Reopened

The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has reopened the vacancy announcement for the Chief Statistician of the United States. The post has been vacant since the retirement of former Chief Statistician Nancy Potok at the end of 2019. The Chief Statistician oversees OMB’s Statistical Policy and Science Branch and is responsible for implementing cross-agency data and statistics policies, including the Federal Data Strategy and the implementation of the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act. The window for applications closes on November 4.

Francis Collins Stepping Down as NIH Director

On October 5, Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Francis Collins announced his intent to step down from his position by the end of the year. Collins has indicated he would continue to work at NIH within the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) after his tenure ends. Collins, who took the helm of the agency in 2009 after 15 years of service as the director of NHGRI, is notable for being the longest serving presidentially appointed NIH director and for serving presidents from both major parties. In addition, Collins oversaw massive increases in the agency’s budget over…

Academies Panel on Advancing DEI in STEM Organizations Seeking Nominations

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) is accepting nominations for an interdisciplinary study committee to “review the literature on bias and systemic racism in STEM workplaces; approaches to increase racial and ethnic diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in STEM organizations (e.g., universities, non-profit organizations, and industry); and offer policies and best practices for anti-racism and DEI initiatives, as well as outline goals for relevant future research.” Nominations are sought with expertise in social psychology, industrial and organizational psychology, sociology, history, business, human resources, diversity science, public policy, and higher education. More information about the consensus study is…

University of Chicago Conference to Highlight Social Science Partnerships for Policymaking

The University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy will be hosting a hybrid virtual/in-person conference, “Creating Social Change Through Public-Private Partnerships.” The event will explore how a “new, more action-oriented social science can help solve social problems by partnering with government agencies, NGOs and private-sector firms.” The agenda will feature expert practitioners from Los Angeles, Baltimore, Washington DC, and Chicago who will speak to the ways they engaged research insights to advance policy changes related to housing, education, health care, criminal justice, and the environment. More details are available on the event’s website. The event is open to the…

Details of House Democrats’ Reconciliation Proposals Released; Road to Passage Still Unclear

As previously reported, House Democrats are currently working to pass their $3.5 billion “Build Back Better” plan through the fiscal year (FY) 2022 budget reconciliation process. As part of the process, authorizing committees have been tasked with making recommendations for how to allocate the funding in the plan. At this point, all committees have made and approved their recommendations, which have been compiled by the House Budget Committee into a final package to be approved by the full House. Negotiations are underway with various wings of the Democratic caucus to reach an agreement to pass the full bill in the…

CommuniVax Coalition Answers “Why Social Science”

The latest Why Social Science? post comes from a group of anthropologists on behalf of the CommuniVax Coalition, an alliance of social scientists, public health experts, and community advocates working to strengthen COVID-19 vaccination efforts in the United States, particularly in communities of color.

FROM THE ARCHIVES: Budget Deal Falls Through; Sequestration Probable (October 5, 1990)

In celebration of COSSA’s 40th anniversary, we are diving into the decades of Washington Update archives to share articles from years past that resonate with today’s news. Early in the morning of October 5, the House of Representatives rejected the budget deal negotiated by White House and congressional leaders. The compromise, which would have cut $40 billion from the FY 1991 deficit, failed by a vote of 197-254, reflecting a bipartisan rebuff of both President Bush and congressional leaders. Voting against the bill were 105 of the House’s 176 Republicans and 149 of the chamber’s 257 Democrats. Washington awakes this…

Fate of 2022 Spending Unknown as End of Fiscal Year Looms

On Monday, the Senate blocked the House-passed continuing resolution (CR) that would have kept the government funded through December 3. Senate Republicans opposed the bill because it includes a suspension of the debt limit through mid-December. The Senate will try to pass a “clean” CR later this week to avoid a government shutdown come October 1, the start of fiscal year (FY) 2022. In the meantime, the fate of the FY 2022 appropriations bills remains in limbo. As previously reported, the House has passed nine of its 13 annual spending bills over the summer, while the remaining bills have passed…

House Science Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Social Media Data Research

On September 28, the Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight within the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology (SST) held a hearing on social media platforms, data, and research focused on misinformation spread. Witnesses at the hearing included Professor and Interim Dean at Khoury College of Computer Sciences at Northeastern University Dr. Alan Mislove; Ph.D. Candidate and Co-Director of Cybersecurity for Democracy at New York University Laura Edelson; and Professor at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Department of Sociology Dr. Kevin Leicht. Subcommittee Chair Bill Foster (D-IL), Ranking Member Jay Obernolte (R-CA), and Full Committee Chair Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX)…

House Committee Holds Hearing on COVID-19 Impacts on Children, Highlights Mental Health Impacts

On September 22, the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the Committee on Energy and Commerce (E&C) held a hearing to address the public health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on children. Witnesses included President of the American Academy of Pediatrics Dr. Lee Savio Beers, President of Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt University Dr. Margaret G. Rush, Chief Executive Officer of the American Psychological Association (a COSSA governing member) Dr. Arthur Evans, founder of VaxTeen Kelly Danielpour, and Epidemiologist Dr. Tracy Beth Hoeg. Subcommittee Chair Diana DeGette (D-CO), Ranking Member Morgan Griffith (R-VA), and full Committee Chair…

Three Social Scientists Named to PCAST

On September 22, President Biden announced the appointment of 30 members to the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), the body of external advisors charged with making science, technology, and innovation policy recommendations to the President and the White House. The White House announcement notes that this is the most diverse group of PCAST members in U.S. history; it is led by its first female external co-chairs, Dr. Frances Arnold and Dr. Maria Zuber (in addition to Office of Science and Technology Policy Director Eric Lander) and is composed of over 50 percent women and one-third people…

AI Advisory Committee Seeks Nominations

Nominations are open for the inaugural National Artificial Intelligence (AI) Advisory Committee, which is being established in accordance with the National Artificial Intelligence Initiative Act of 2020 passed as part of the fiscal year (FY) 2021 defense authorization bill last year. That bill created the National Artificial Intelligence Initiative to coordinate AI research and policy across the federal government and a national network of AI research institutes and provided for the establishment of an advisory committee to inform this effort. According to the bill, committee members should represent “broad and interdisciplinary expertise and perspectives”—including in the social and behavioral sciences—with…

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