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. 

Senate Releases Remaining Draft Appropriations Bills, Setting Stage for FY 2022 Negotiations

Last week, the Senate Appropriations Committee released drafts of nine of its annual appropriations bills. While fiscal year (FY) 2022 officially began on October 1, the Senate Appropriations Committee has so far this year only completed work on three of its FY 2022 bills; none of the Senate bills have yet been voted on by the full Senate. Last month, Congress enacted a continuing resolution (CR) to keep the federal government open until December 3, providing additional time for both chambers to complete their work. Over in the House, the Appropriations Committee advanced all twelve of its annual spending bills…

“Why Social Science” Matters for AI Research

The latest Why Social Science? post comes from Corinna Turbes, Policy Director for the Data Foundation, who writes about the need for better data to enable social scientists to conduct artificial intelligence (AI) research.

FROM THE ARCHIVES: Rep. Price Looks at 20 Years of Change in Congress (January 13, 1989)

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. The Consortium held its seventh annual meeting in Washington on December 13, with representatives of its member associations and many of its affiliates… As luncheon speaker, Rep. David E. Price (D-NC), a political scientist elected to the House from North Carolina in 1986, noted that he has observed striking changes within Congress over the last 20 years. He said his comparative insights have developed from his days as a legislative aide in the…

ARPA-H Authorization Bill Introduced in the House

On October 15, Representative Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Chairwoman of the Health Subcommittee within the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, introduced the Advanced Research Project Agency-Health (ARPA-H) Act (H.R. 5585), a bill authorizing the agency that has been a key priority in the Biden Administration’s budget for fiscal year (FY) 2022 (see previous coverage). Notably, the bill would not establish ARPA-H within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as the White House and some appropriators in both chambers have proposed, but rather within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), setting up a potential conflict between appropriators and authorizers…

Rep. David Price, Longtime Social Science Champion, Announces Retirement

Representative David Price (D-NC), one of Congress’s only social scientists, announced that he will not seek reelection in 2022. Price was first elected to Congress in 1987 after serving as a professor of political science at Duke University and has been a vocal champion of federally funded research and the social and behavioral sciences in particular over the course of his more than 30 years in the House. He memorably rose to the defense of the National Science Foundation’s Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences Directorate (SBE) after attempts to defund it in 2014. Price’s retirement will leave open a seat…

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…

White House Releases 2021 Data Strategy Action Plan

The Federal Data Strategy, a government-wide plan to coordinate and accelerate the use of data in federal policymaking (see previous coverage), released its 2021 Action Plan in October. The plan lays out a set of aspirational milestones for data governance, planning, and infrastructure across federal agencies. Acknowledging the late-in-the-year release and the context of a presidential transition year, the document recognizes that agencies “may only begin” working towards the targets described in the plan by the end of the year. The Action Plan describes successes and lessons learned in 2020 and sets out a set of 11 actions for 2021,…

PCAST Holds Meeting on Climate Change, Energy, and the Environment

On October 18 and 19, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) held a public meeting focusing on climate, energy, and the environment, just weeks after the first PCAST meeting of the Biden Administration was held (see previous coverage).  The meeting consisted of several presentations on various aspects of climate and energy policy including the current state of climate policy and research, the Biden Administration’s positions on climate policy, previous Federal activities addressing climate, the development of new climate and energy technologies, and the impact of climate change on national security. Speakers throughout the sessions highlighted the…

National Academies Convenes First Meeting of Strategic Council for Research Excellence, Integrity, and Trust

On October 25, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) held the inaugural meeting of the Strategic Council for Research Excellence, Integrity, and Trust. This new body, which was announced in July 2021, is comprised of leaders from academia, government, and the private sector and has been charged with identifying ways to promote the health and integrity of the U.S. research enterprise amid challenges such as administrative burden, conflicts of interest, and distrust in science. The featured speaker during the open meeting was Kei Koizumi, Principal Deputy Director for Policy at the White House Office of Science and…

National Academies Seeking Nominations for Study on Reducing Intergenerational Poverty

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine is accepting nominations for members to serve on a study committee on Policies and Programs to Reduce Intergenerational Poverty. The committee will “analyze the evidence on key determinants of entrenched poverty and the effectiveness of programs designed to address those determinants to identify policies and programs with the potential to reduce long-term, intergenerational poverty.” Members are being sought with expertise in local, state, and federal policies related to safety net programs, early childhood, k-12 education, job training, and structural racism in the fields of public policy, public health, pediatrics, economics, education, developmental…

Michael A. Méndez Delivers 2021 David Lecture on Climate Justice

On October 14, Dr. Michael A. Méndez delivered the 2021 Henry and Bryna David Lecturer. The annual lecture is a program of National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s (NASEM) Division of Behavioral and Social Science and Education (DBASSE). A professor of Environmental Planning and Policy from the University of California-Irvine, Dr. Méndez spoke on the prevalence of climate-related disasters, specifically the wildfires affecting California. In his lecture, Méndez describes his research that finds the negative impacts of climate disasters to public health, housing, and employment disproportionately affect low-income and marginalized populations, citing some of the conditions endured by undocumented…

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…

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