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. 

NSF Updates Transparency and Accountability Practices

The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently announced revisions to its guidelines for program officers and principle investigators (PIs) intended to better communicate the value of the research it funds. According to an NSF press release, language added to the guidelines for program officers require that non-technical project descriptions “serve as a public justification for NSF funding by articulating how the project serves the national interest, as stated by NSF’s mission: to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity and welfare; or to secure the national defense.” Training and guidelines will also assist program staff in writing…

New Releases from NCHS: Health Insurance Coverage, Contraception, Nut Consumption

The National Center for Health Statistics has released several new reports covering a variety of health-related topics: Health Insurance Coverage: Early Release of Estimates from the National Health Interview Survey, January–June 2014 – In the first six months of 2014, the uninsured rate dropped from 26.5 percent in 2013 to 20.4 percent, with a larger drop among young adults aged 19-25. Current Contraceptive Status Among Women Aged 15–44: United States, 2011–2013 – During the survey period, 61.7 percent of women were currently using contraception, with the pill, female sterilization, condoms, and long-acting reversible contraceptives being the most common methods. Nut…

NIJ: Social Science Research on Forensic Science

In a recently issued Dear Colleague letter, Acting National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Director William Sabol emphasized NIJ’s interested in receiving proposals “that examine the social science questions related to the effective use of forensic evidence to identify and process criminal offenders and to explore the impact of these advances on the criminal justice system.” Particular areas of interest for fiscal year 2015 include digital forensics, ballistics forensics, and crime scene scanning technology. See the full letter for more details. Back to this issue’s table of contents.

Events Calendar

American Historical Association Annual Meeting, New York, NY, January 2-5, 2015 Association of American Law Schools Annual Meeting, Washington, DC, January 2-5, 2015 American Economic Association Annual Meeting, Boston, MA, January 3-5, 2015 Linguistic Society of America Annual Meeting, Portland, OR, January 8-11, 2015 COSSA Annual Meeting & Advocacy Day, Washington, DC, March 9-10, 2015 A list of COSSA member annual meetings and other events can be found on the COSSA web page. Back to this issue’s table of contents.

NIH Discontinues the National Children’s Study

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has decided to discontinue the National Children’s Study (NCS). At the December 12 meeting of the NIH Advisory Committee to the Director (ACD), a working group charged by NIH director Francis Collins to evaluate whether the NCS “as currently outlined is feasible, especially in light of increasing and significant budget constraints,” concluded that the NCS as currently designed is not. The working group further recommended “that the NIH champion and support new study designs, informed by advances in technology and basic and applied research, that could make the original goals of the NCS more…

SMRB Accepts Working Group Report on Pre-college Engagement in Biomedical Science

On December 15, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Scientific Management Review Board (SMRB) unanimously approved the Report of the SMRB Working Group on Pre-college Engagement in Biomedical Science. Chaired by Clyde Yancy, Northwestern University, the working group was charged by NIH director Francis Collins “to recommend ways to optimize NIH’s pre-college programs and initiatives that both align with the NIH mission and ensure a continued pipeline of biomedical science students and professionals.” The group released preliminary findings at its October meeting (see Update, October 28, 2014).

Gilbert White Lecture Focuses on Reducing Losses from Natural Hazards

The National Academies’ Board on Earth Sciences and Resources held its annual Gilbert F. White Lecture in the Geographical Sciences on December 4. Susan Cutter, Distinguished Carolina Professor at the University of South Carolina (and a past president of COSSA), delivered the lecture, which focused on “Why More Knowledge Is Not Reducing Natural Hazard Losses.” She explained that despite huge increases in our knowledge of the physical processes and social forces that interact during natural disasters, losses from such events have only grown.

NIH: Cancer Institute Releases Series of Funding Announcements

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) recently released a series of funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) designed to enhance the diversity of the NCI-funded cancer research workforce. The awards support individuals from groups that have been shown to be underrepresented in the biomedical, behavioral, social, and clinical sciences. The Institute notes that a major obstacle to developing a stronger national health disparities cancer research effort has been the lack of significant strategic training programs for students and scientists. It further notes, “Greater involvement of students and scientists from underrepresented backgrounds is integral to a successful national cancer research effort involving more underserved…

COSSA Washington Update, Volume 33 Issue 22

Featured News SAVE THE DATE: COSSA Annual Meeting & Advocacy Day COSSA in Action Scientific Community Expresses Support for NIH and Its Peer Review Process COSSA and Partners Urge Support for International and Foreign Language Education for FY 2015 Congressional News FY 2015 Funding Bills Approaching December 11 Deadline Federal Agency & Administration News Deadline Extended for Applications to SBE Leadership Posts NIH to Use Single IRB to Speed the Initiation of Clinical Research, Seeks Comments NIH Seeks Comments on Draft NIH Policy on Dissemination of NIH-Funded Clinical Trial Information OMB Finalizes New Statistical Policy Directive Reminder: Comments on Proposed…

SAVE THE DATE: COSSA Annual Meeting & Advocacy Day

The COSSA Annual Meeting and inaugural Social and Behavioral Science Advocacy Day will be held in Washington, DC on March 9-10, 2015. The meeting will feature presentations from federal agency leaders and other officials and will provide an excellent opportunity to network with others from throughout the social and behavioral science research community. New in 2015 will be the first-ever Social and Behavioral Science Advocacy Day in which COSSA members will have an opportunity to educate their elected officials about the value of social and behavioral science research and the importance of federal funding. Additional details, including registration information, will…

Scientific Community Expresses Support for NIH and Its Peer Review Process

On December 2, the Coalition to Promote Research (CPR) sent letters to Congress expressing its “continued and strong support for the competitive peer review process used by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).” The letter, signed by 128 diverse organizations, noted that the scientific community is “extremely concerned about the recent criticism of the NIH’s funding decisions and the accompanying mischaracterization of NIH-supported research in the media and by some in Congress. The ongoing targeting of specific grants produces a chilling effect across the entire scientific community. These attacks inhibit the very scientific progress the critics claim to support. Our…

COSSA and Partners Urge Support for International and Foreign Language Education for FY 2015

On November 19, COSSA joined a Coalition for International Education letter to House and Senate appropriators in support of strong funding levels for the Department of Education’s international and foreign language education programs (Title VI and Fulbright-Hays) as Congress attempts to wrap up funding for fiscal year (FY) 2015. As the letter notes, “Title VI and Fulbright-Hays are the nation’s longest-serving, most comprehensive programs that develop and maintain a strong, world-class foundation for international education and foreign language studies.” Back to this issue’s table of contents.

FY 2015 Funding Bills Approaching December 11 Deadline

As previously reported, the 113th Congress still has more work to do to complete the fiscal year (FY) 2015 appropriations process before adjourning at the end of the month. At the time of this writing, negotiations between House and Senate appropriators and leadership continue, all working toward some form of final agreement to fund the federal government before the current temporary spending measure expires on December 11. Latest reports suggest that an omnibus appropriations bill that consolidates most of the 12 appropriations bills is still the preferred option, but a hybrid approach that includes an omnibus for some bills and…

Deadline Extended for Applications to SBE Leadership Posts

As previously reported, the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences Directorate (SBE) is seeking to fill a number of leadership positions. Deadlines for applications have been extended through December 31. The open positions include: Deputy Assistant Director Division Director, Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences (BCS) Division Director, Social and Economic Sciences (SES) Back to this issue’s table of contents.

NIH to Use Single IRB to Speed the Initiation of Clinical Research, Seeks Comments

On December 3, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) issued a draft policy to promote the use of single institutional review boards (IRB) in multi-site clinical research studies. The draft policy proposes that all NIH-funded multi-site studies carried out in the U.S. utilize a single IRB regardless of the funding mechanism. Hence, the agency is seeking public comments on the draft policy through a 60 day comment period closing January 29, 2015. According to the release announcing the draft policy, exceptions would be allowed if local IRB review is necessary to meet the needs of special populations or where it…

NIH Seeks Comments on Draft NIH Policy on Dissemination of NIH-Funded Clinical Trial Information

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is seeking comments on its draft policy “to promote broad and responsible dissemination of information on clinical trials funded by the NIH” through registration and submission of summary results information to NIH has a number of policies designed to promote the distribution of research results and guide funding recipients in disseminating their results, including the NIH Data Sharing Policy, the NIH Public Access Policy, the NIH Research Tools Policy, and the NIH Genomic Data Sharing Policy. According to the NIH, a recent study found that the results of less than half of NIH-funded…

OMB Finalizes New Statistical Policy Directive

On December 2, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued Statistical Policy Directive No. 1, “Fundamental Responsibilities of Federal Statistical Agencies and Recognized Statistical Units.” The Directive provides “a unified articulation of Federal statistical agency responsibilities.” In order to implement the Directive, federal statistical agencies will report to OMB on their progress toward fulfilling four key responsibilities: (1) Produce and disseminate relevant and timely information, (2) Conduct credible and accurate statistical activities, (3) Conduct objective statistical activities, and (4) Protect the trust of information providers by ensuring the confidentiality and exclusive statistical use of their responses. A draft version…

Reminder: Comments on Proposed Elimination of ACS Questions Due December 30

On October 31, the U.S. Census Bureau within the Department of Commerce issued a request for public comment related to the 2014 Content Review of the American Community Survey (ACS). According to the Federal Register Notice, the 2014 review “is the most comprehensive effort ever undertaken by the Census Bureau to review content on the survey, seeking to understand which federal programs use the information collected by each question, the justification for each question, and assess how the Census Bureau might reduce respondent burden.” The review looked at the ACS’s 72 questions and proposed removal of seven from the annual questionnaire….

Census Releases New ACS Data, Special Feature on Young Adults

On November 4, the Census Bureau released 2009-2013 five-year estimates from the American Community Survey (ACS). The release includes new tables on field of bachelor’s degree, health insurance status, poverty status, and year of naturalization. In addition, a new Census Explorer feature, Young Adults: Then and Now, allows users to compare young adults (18-34) across the 1980, 1990, and 2000 decennial censuses and the 2009-2013 ACS five-year estimates and track changes in demographic, social, economic, and housing characteristics. Back to this issue’s table of contents.

ERS Reports on Fast Food Purchasing Behavior

The Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service (ERS) has released a report, “The Role of Time in Fast-Food Purchasing Behavior in the United States,” which examines the factors impacting how Americans consume fast food. The study, conducted using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ American Time Use Survey, assessed the impact of time-use behaviors, prices, sociodemographic characteristics, and labor-force participation on fast food purchases. It finds that those who purchase fast food on a given day spend less time engaged in “primary” eating (eating while not doing something else), sleeping, doing housework, and watching television than the population average….


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