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. 

The CTSA Program at NIH: The NCATS Advisory Council Working Group Response to the IOM Report

Earlier this summer, the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) Working Group on the IOM (Institute of Medicine) released its report, The CTSA [Clinical and Translational Science Awards] Program at NIH. The report is the Working Group’s response to the recommendations in an IOM report regarding the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) CTSA Program. The response included the Working Group’s acknowledgement that the CTSA program is key to the goal of “accelerating the process of transforming discovery into application and to increase the rate of adoption.” The CTSA program supports a national consortium of medical research institutes working together…

William Sabol Named Acting NIJ Director

National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Acting Director Gregory K. Ridgeway left the agency on July 31 for the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Criminology. William Sabol, acting director of the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), was named this month to also serve as acting NIJ director until a permanent director is named by President Obama. You can learn more about the NIJ directorship here. Back to this issue’s table of contents.

ERS Presents on Local Impacts of Oil and Natural Gas Production

Although the expansion in production of shale-derived natural gas over the past decade or so has reshaped the U.S. energy landscape, until recently, the primary source of data on oil and natural gas production stopped at the state level. For researchers interested in the impacts of these shifts in energy production at the local level, this left the picture murky. However, a data set released this spring by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Economic Research Service (ERS) provides more granular data: County-level Oil and Gas Production in the U.S.Jeremy Weber, a research economist in ERS’ Resource and Rural Economics…

AAAS Seeks Nominations for 2014 Abelson Prize

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is inviting nominations for the 2014 Philip Hauge Abelson Prize. Established in 1985, the prize is awarded annually to an individual who has “made signal contributions to the advancement of science in the United States either as (1) a public servant, in recognition of sustained exceptional contributions to advancing science, or (2) a scientist, whose career has been distinguished both for scientific achievement and for other notable services to the scientific community.” The 2014 Abelson Prize will be presented at the AAAS Annual Meeting in San Jose, CA in February 2015….

Berkeley Law & Microsoft Seek Proposals to Study “Open Data” Issues

The Berkeley Center for Law and Technology and Microsoft have jointly issued a request for proposals (RFP) for projects studying the “civil rights, human rights, security and privacy issues that arise from recent initiatives to release large datasets of government information to the public for analysis and reuse.” The RFP, Exploring the Implications of Government Release of Large Datasets, seeks to fund up to six projects totaling $300,000. Scientific papers stemming from this support will be the focus of the 2015 Berkeley Journal for Law and Technology Symposium. The RFP explicitly encourages interdisciplinary approaches and was designed to be broad…

NIH: Enhancing Cross-National Research within the HRS Family of Studies

The National Institute on Aging (NIA) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has released a Funding Opportunity Announcement, Enhancing Cross-National Research within the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) Family of Studies(RFA-AG-15-015), designed to enhance the comparability among the NIA-supported HRS and the family of comparable longitudinal aging studies around the world to support cross-national behavioral and social science research in aging in high priority areas.

NIH: IDeA Program Infrastructure for Clinical Translational Research

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) established the Institutional Development Award (IDeA) program in 1993 to enhance biomedical research in states that have had historically low NIH grant funding success rates. The program currently supports competitive research in 23 states and Puerto Rico through the Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) and IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) initiatives.

GeoHumanities, New AAG Journal, Seeks Editorial Team

The American Association of Geographers (AAG), a COSSA member, has put out a call for applications and nominations for an editorial team to helm their new journal, GeoHumanities. The team should be comprised of one representative from geography and one representative from a humanities discipline. They will be appointed to a four-year term beginning in December 2014. The new journal will “draw on and further explore the multifaceted scholarly conversations between geography and the humanities that have been evolving over the past decade.” It will “serve as a home for the critical and creative interdisciplinary work of artists, authors, historians,…

COSSA Members Advocate for Disabilities Treaty Ratification

In late July, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 12-6 to move the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on to the full Senate for ratification. The scientific community is mobilizing in support of the Convention, which, among other things, affirms states’ responsibilities to ensure that persons with disabilities have equal opportunity to pursue and enjoy the benefits of scientific progress. COSSA endorsed a statement by the AAAS Board of Directors in support of ratification. In addition, several COSSA members are also urging the Senate to ratify the treaty: The American Statistical Association (ASA) released a…

Science Community Expresses Concern about Secret Science Reform Act

COSSA is among 43 organizations, led by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), who sent letters to the House and Senate expressing concern about the Secret Science Reform Act (H.R. 4012), which is legislation seeking to “prohibit the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from proposing, finalizing, or disseminating a covered action unless all scientific and technical information relied on to support such action is specifically identified and publicly available in a manner sufficient for independent analysis and substantial reproduction of research results.” While staying neutral on the political issues that surround EPA’s rule-making process, which…

COSSA Washington Update Returns September 8

The next edition of the COSSA Washington Update will be published on September 8, 2014. In the meantime, updates and news can be found at www.cossa.org. Back to this issue’s table of contents.

COSSA Analysis of FY 2015 Senate Labor-HHS Bill

On July 24, the Senate Appropriations Committee released bill language and the accompanying Committee report for the fiscal year (FY) 2015 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS) Appropriations bill. The Labor-HHS Subcommittee approved the bill via voice vote in June (see Update, June 12, 2014). It is still unclear when or if the measure will be considered by the full Senate Appropriations Committee. Instead, it is all but certain that Congress will enact a short-term continuing resolution (CR) to allow time to complete the FY 2015 appropriations process after the November elections. You can read…

COSSA Washington Update, Volume 33 Issue 14

In this issue… Congressional Activities & News Senate Appropriations Committee Releases Text of FY 2015 Labor-HHS Appropriations Bill Senate Commerce Committee Releases Draft COMPETES/NSF Bill Federal Agency & Administration Activities & News Cora Marrett to Leave NSF NIGMS Request for Information: Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award NIH Issues Challenge to Find Advances Tied to NIGMS Support SMRB Discusses Pre-College Engagement in Biomedical Science; NIH Director Reflects on Impact of the Sequester Rising Mortality Rates in Women in the U.S.: Role of Drug Abuse and Addiction National Humanities Council Meets as NEH Faces Budget Uncertainty, New Chairman NCHS Releases Data on Weight…

Senate Appropriations Committee Releases Text of FY 2015 Labor-HHS Appropriations Bill

On July 24, the Senate Appropriations Committee released bill language and the accompanying Committee report for the fiscal year (FY) 2015 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS) Appropriations bill. The Labor-HHS Subcommittee approved the bill via voice vote in June. It is still unclear when or if the measure will be considered by the full Appropriations Committee. Instead, it is all but certain that Congress will enact a short-term continuing resolution (CR) to allow time to complete the FY 2015 appropriations process after the November elections. The Senate Appropriations Committee also released draft bills and…

Draft COMPETES/NSF Bill Released in the Senate

Earlier this month, the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee released a draft of its America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2014 for public input. The America COMPETES Act is bipartisan legislation originally enacted in 2007 and reauthorized in 2010 to revitalize the U.S. scientific enterprise by making critical investments in U.S. basic science agencies. These investments were intended to ensure the U.S.’s continued standing as the global leader in science and technology innovation. COMPETES serves as authorizing legislation for the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and…

Cora Marrett to Leave NSF

Earlier this month, the National Science Foundation (NSF) announced that Cora B. Marrett, NSF Deputy Director, will resign her position effective August 24. Marrett was confirmed as Deputy Director in 2011 and has served previously as NSF’s acting director. More notably for the COSSA community, Marrett served as the first assistant director for the Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences Directorate, and is a former assistant director of the Education and Human Resources Directorate. She is a major voice for social and behavioral science, within NSF and publicly, and has been a familiar face at COSSA events over the years. Congresswoman…

NIGMS Request for Information: Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award

The National Institute of General Medical Science (NIGMS) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently issued a time-sensitive Request for Information (RFI) for input to assist in its planning for a potential new program tentatively called the Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA). According to NIGMS, MIRA is intended to be a grant in support of all of the research supported by the institute in an investigator’s laboratory. The Institute is planning to issue a Funding Opportunity Announcement to test the new program on a pilot scale. Accordingly, it is seeking feedback from the scientific community.

NIH Issues Challenge to Find Advances Tied to NIGMS Support

The National Institute of General Medical Science (NIGMS) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is seeking the public’s help in capturing the Institute’s progress toward its strategic goal: “to advance awareness and understanding of the basic biomedical research enterprise, including its value, requirements, and potential impact.” The Institute has issued a challenge to the scientific community with the goal of identifying past advances that are serving (or have served) to improve human health and well-being. It excludes ongoing studies that may, in the future, have a major impact. NIGMS intends to use the examples to help inform the historical context…

SMRB Discusses Pre-College Engagement in Biomedical Science; NIH Director Reflects on Impact of the Sequester

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Scientific Management Review Board (SMRB) held a two-day meeting on July 7-8, 2014. The SMRB was authorized by the NIH Reform Act of 2006. The statute provides certain organizational authorities to the Department of Health and Human Services and NIH on which the SMRB provides advice. The meeting’s agenda included reflections from NIH director Francis Collins, and a full day discussion of pre-college engagement in biomedical science led by the SMRB Working Group on Pre-college Engagement in Biomedical Science (PEBS).

Rising Mortality Rates in Women in the U.S.: Role of Drug Abuse and Addiction

National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) director Nora Volkow recently discussed the role of substance abuse in the “Rising Mortality Rates in Women in the U.S.,” the subject of a July 15 Women’s Policy, Inc.- sponsored congressional briefing. Susan Dentzer, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), moderated the session. According to Dentzer, the briefing was designed to address the data in the 2013 National Research Council (NRC) and Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, U.S. Health in International Perspective: Shorter Lives, Poorer Health (see Update, October 7, 2013), also the subject of an earlier congressional briefing sponsored by the Coalition for the…

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