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. 

Biden Administration Begins Rollout of FY 2023 Budget, Some Details Yet to be Published

On March 28, the Biden Administration began releasing details of its fiscal year (FY) 2023 budget request to Congress. At the time of this writing, details for all federal agencies and departments important to the social science research community have not yet been published; however, topline budget levels are available: The budget request proposes increases for much of the federal research enterprise with some exceptions; however, the devil is in the details. For example, more than half of the proposed increase for the National Institutes of Health would go toward the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) which was…

Today is Social Science Advocacy Day! Learn How You Can Participate

Today, COSSA is holding its 2022 Social Science Advocacy Day, a members-only annual event bringing together social and behavioral scientists from across the country to meet with Members of Congress and their staff to advocate for increased funding for federal agencies and programs important the research community. This year, 70 individuals from COSSA member organizations will participate virtually in about 90 meetings with policymakers and their staff in the House of Representatives and Senate. You can get in on the action by responding to COSSA’s Action Alert and sending a quick note to your elected officials to voice your support…

Senate Discusses Substance Use and Mental Health Disorders, Hints at Bipartisan Legislation

On March 23, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee held a hearing to discuss the national mental health and substance use disorder crisis and the federal programs being used to address these issues. The hearing, overseen by Committee Chair Patty Murray (D-WA) and Ranking Member Richard Burr (R-NC), is one of many Congressional hearings held in the past few months focused on potential policy solutions related to mental health (see previous coverage for more details). The witnesses present at the hearing were Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services…

NSF Establishes New Technology Directorate

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has announced the creation of its first new research directorate in over 30 years, the Directorate for Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships (TIP). The new Directorate will support “use-inspired” research with the goal of “fostering innovation and technology ecosystems, establishing translation pathways, and partnering across sectors to engage the nation’s diverse talent.” In addition to new investments, the directorate will transfer several existing NSF programs into TIP, including the NSF Lab-to-Market Platform comprising the NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps), Partnerships for Innovation, and America’s Seed Fund powered by NSF , as well as the NSF Convergence Accelerator. Dr. Erwin Gianchandani, who has…

PCAST Holds Panel Discussion on Science Communication

On March 24, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) hosted a panel discussion on the topic of improving science communication. In his introductory remarks, Dr. Francis Collins, acting co-chair of PCAST and interim Presidential Science Advisor, noted serious concerns about science communication, specifically with respect to vaccine hesitancy, and stated that PCAST has an opportunity to advise the federal government on how to improve science communication to build public trust. In a nod to previous remarks made by Collins as he stepped down as Director of the National Institutes of Health last year, he acknowledged that…

Rayvon Fouché Begins Appointment as NSF’s SES Division Director

On February 28, the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Social and Economic Sciences (SES) Division saw a change of leadership as Dr. Rayvon Fouché took the helm of the division. Fouché, a science and technology studies researcher and professor at Purdue University, succeeds the previous division director Daniel Goroff who led the division from 2019 through 2021. The SES Division is responsible for many of the key social and behavioral science research programs within the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (SBE) Directorate at NSF. More information is available on the NSF website.

Invitation: White House Holding Virtual Summit to Kick Off “Year of Evidence for Action”

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) will hold a Virtual Summit on Evidence for Action on April 7, 2022. The summit will kick off a “Year of Evidence for Action” to be focused on “building and strengthening partnerships between evidence communities within and outside of the federal government.” The event will include an opening plenary featuring Acting OSTP Director Alondra Nelson, OMB Deputy Director for Management Jason Miller, Senior Counselor in the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) K. Sabeel Rahman, Census Bureau Director Robert Santos, and Deputy…

National Academies Release Recommendations for Modernizing NAEP

On March 24, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) Committee on National Statistics (CNSTAT) released the report ”A Pragmatic Future for NAEP: Containing Costs and Updating Technologies,” which provides recommendations to improve the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), the Congressionally-mandated assessment administered by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) within the Institute of Education Sciences (IES). The report, which is the culmination of one of several NASEM activities related to education research and statistics (see previous coverage), focuses on reducing the costs of administering NAEP and identifying ways to incorporate modern technologies and systems to…

APA’s Corbin Evans Answers “Why Social Science?”

This week’s Why Social Science? post comes from Corbin Evans, Senior Director of Congressional and Federal Relations at the American Psychological Association, who writes about human behavior and its relationship to the changing climate.

Congress Finally Agrees on FY 2022 Funding, Mixed Bag for Science

Nearly six months into the new fiscal year, Congress has finally completed its work on the fiscal year (FY) 2022 appropriations bills, securing funding for federal departments, agencies, and programs through September 30, 2022. After months of stalemate and rocky negotiations, House and Senate leaders agreed to an overall FY 2022 framework that includes roughly equal increases to defense and non-defense funding, delivering a major win to Republicans who were pushing for parity throughout the process. The eleventh hour increase in defense spending in the final package resulted in smaller-than-expected increases to nearly all agencies and programs important to the…

Last Chance to Join us for Social Science Advocacy Day!

COSSA’s annual Social Science Advocacy is only two weeks away! There is still time to sign up to be part of the only annual, coordinated advocacy day in support of all disciplines of social and behavioral science. The first round of prep webinars begins on Wednesday, March 16. Thanks to the generous support of our sponsors, registration this year is only $25. We have 50+ advocates and counting, so don’t wait to reserve your spot. More information is available on the COSSA website. Register today!

NIH Seeks Next Leader of Behavioral and Social Science

The National Institutes of Health has initiated a search for the next Director of the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) and NIH Associate Director for Behavioral and Social Sciences Research. OBSSR and its team serve as the “NIH focal point for establishing agency-wide policies and goals in behavioral and social sciences research, and coordinates the activities undertaken in the performance of this research.” The position was most recently held by William T. Riley until his retirement at the end of 2021 (see previous coverage). Dr. Christine Hunter, OBSSR Deputy Director, is currently leading the office on an…

NIH Issues Solicitations for Community-Level Solutions to Prevent Gun Violence

The National Institutes of Health (NIH), led by the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR), has issued a pair of funding opportunity announcements that will fund research related to preventing gun violence. These solicitations are enabled by Congressional funding for firearm violence prevention research first passed in fiscal year (FY) 2020 (see previous coverage). The first solicitation, Research on Community Level Interventions for Firearm and Related Violence, Injury and Mortality Prevention will “support a network of research projects to develop and test interventions at the community or community organization level that aim to prevent firearm and related violence,…

NIH to Hold Webinar on Social and Behavioral Health Impacts of COVID

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Social, Behavioral, and Economic (SBE) Health Impacts of COVID-19 initiative will hold a webinar on April 27-28, 2022 to present findings from research funded by this program. Topics covered will include mitigation efforts, biological correlates, morbidity and mortality, social networks, disadvantaged populations, time use and families, and interventions. Full details about the webinar are available on the registration page.

OSTP Seeking Comments on Scientific Integrity Framework

On March 3, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) released a Request for Information (RFI) seeking comments on the development of a framework of Federal policies for protecting scientific integrity from political interference, suppression, or manipulation. This RFI builds upon an earlier report, “Protecting the Integrity of Government Science,” which was released in January 2022 (see previous coverage). The RFI seeks info on four key areas of scientific integrity policy: How policies can address issues such as diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility; Criteria to evaluate scientific integrity policies in the Executive Branch; How to ensure that…

National Academies Behavioral Economics Committee Holds First Meeting

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s (NASEM) Committee on Future Directions for Applying Behavioral Economics to Policy held its inaugural meeting in early March. The Committee will conduct a consensus study to “develop guiding principles for applying behavioral economics research to policy, as well as a research program to support future progress, including possible avenues for collaboration across disciplines that could advance theory and method.” The meeting’s open session on March 1 featured presentations from two of the study’s sponsors, Daniel Goroff, representing the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and Christine Hunter, representing the National Institutes of Health Office…

Nelson, Collins Step in to Lead White House Science Efforts

On February 16, the White House announced the appointment of Dr. Alondra Nelson as the interim director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) effective immediately, replacing Eric Lander who stepped down last month amid allegations of workplace bullying. Dr. Nelson, a sociologist, is currently serving as OSTP Deputy Director for Science and Society. In addition, Dr. Francis Collins, who recently retired as Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has been asked to step in as the President’s Science Advisor and Co-Chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. Both Nelson and Collins…

March Headlines to Feature Deep Dive on Virtual Advocacy

Smithsonian Ambassador-at-Large Richard Kurin Answers “Why Social Science?”

The latest Why Social Science? guest post comes from Richard Kurin, Distinguished Scholar & Ambassador at Large at the Smithsonian Institution, who writes about the role social science plays in protecting and preserving cultural heritage.

Science Funding, Aid to Ukraine, and a Supreme Court Nomination

Congress will have its hands full over the coming weeks as lawmakers attempt to finish up fiscal year (FY) 2022 appropriations bills while also seeking emergency aid to Ukraine. Senators will have an especially busy schedule as they begin consideration of Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson. We are likely to see attempts to provide funding for Ukraine as part of a package that will also include the FY 2022 bills. As previously reported, Congress has until March 11 to complete the appropriations for the fiscal year that is nearly half over. The next few weeks will be critical for…

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