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. 

Applications Being Accepted for Federal Evaluation Fellowships

The Office of Evaluation Sciences (OES) at the General Services Administration is currently accepting applications for 2022 fellowships. OES is a team of applied researchers that works to build insights from the social and behavioral sciences into federal programs. OES designs, implements, and analyzes evidence-based interventions and randomized evaluations. Fellows shape their own high-impact portfolio of work, design and direct projects, and author academic publications. For 2022, applications are being sought for Design Fellows (deadline December 10), Fellows (deadline January 3), and Federal Detailees (deadline January 3). More information about all three positions is available on the OES website.

NIH Holds Annual Behavioral and Social Science Research Festival

On November 18-19, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) held the 2021 Behavioral and Social Science Research Festival, an annual event designed to highlight the contributions of recently funded behavioral and social science projects to health research via presentations by extramural and NIH scientists from across the spectrum of disciplines. The two-day event was held virtually. The event hosted presentations on a variety of behavioral and social science topics, with heavy emphasis on health equity among minority populations, mental and cognitive health, and behavioral responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s festival…

New Gun Violence Prevention Research Group Seeks Nominations

The Gun Violence Prevention Research Roundtable, a new national coalition funded by the Joyce Foundation and administered by the American Academy of Pediatrics, is seeking nominations for members to serve on its advisory committee. The Roundtable will be focused on educating policymakers about the need for federal investments in gun violence prevention research and seeks advisory committee members who can help integrate the expertise of the research community into its work. The group is seeking nominees with expertise in injury prevention, public health research, public policy research, gun violence prevention, clinical medicine, suicide prevention, primary prevention of crime, community violence…

SSRC Launches Global Consortium on Misinformation and Health Research

The Social Science Research Council (SSRC) has launched a new initiative, the Mercury Project, a global research consortium focused on combatting mis- and disinformation in public health and finding interventions that support the spread and uptake of accurate health information. The $10 million initiative will provide three-year research grants “to discover new, evidence-based, data-driven tools, methods, and interventions to counter mis- and disinformation and to support the spread and uptake of accurate health information.” More information about the project is available on the SSRC website. Proposals are being accepted on a rolling basis.

Evidence Advisory Committee Recommends Establishment of a National Data Service

The Advisory Committee on Data for Evidence Building (ACDEB) released its first report on October 29. The Committee was created by the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act (“Evidence Act,” see previous coverage) and given two years to make recommendations for promoting evidence-building in the federal government, including evaluating the need for and value of a potential National Secure Data Service (NSDS) to facilitate linking data from across the federal government. The ACDEB report affirms the need for the establishment of a NSDS and outlines a broad vision for such a service as a “quasi- or non-governmental entity that is sponsored…

November Headlines to Feature Deep Dive on Funding Opportunities from the W.T. Grant Foundation

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. November’s webinar will feature a deep dive discussion with Vivian Tsang and Lauren Supplee of the William T. Grant Foundation, who will share information on funding opportunities for social and behavioral scientists. Individuals employed by or affiliated with a COSSA member organization can register for the webchat here.

FROM THE ARCHIVES: NIH Behavioral and Social Science Research Office Emerges from Conference (May 31, 1993)

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 version of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Reauthorization bill that recently emerged from a joint House-Senate conference committee was adopted by the House on May 25 by a 290-130 vote. It is expected that the bill will pass the Senate and be signed into law by President Clinton in the coming weeks. As reported in the May 17 issue of Update, the bill establishes an Office of Behavioral and Social Science…

Infrastructure Bill Complete; Funding and Reconciliation Bills Remain

Congress has its work cut out for it as we head into the holiday season. With a limited number of working days left before the first session of the 117th Congress ends, time is short to pass a $2 trillion reconciliation package and complete work on the fiscal year (FY) 2022 appropriations bills. Of course, this is the time of year when deals are struck and efforts that appeared out of reach only months ago somehow find the finish line, as we saw last week with the passage of sweeping infrastructure legislation. On November 5, the House of Representatives passed…

NIH to Host 2021 Behavioral and Social Sciences Research Festival

On November 18 and 19, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) will host the 2021 NIH Behavioral and Social Sciences Research Festival. The virtual festival brings together researchers from around NIH and will feature four plenary sessions. Among other presenters, Director of the National Institute on Nursing Research (NINR) Shannon N. Zenk will serve as a keynote presenter and outgoing OBSSR Director Bill Riley will deliver remarks on “the State of Behavioral and Social Science Research at the NIH.” Registration details and more information about the festival may be found on the…

Robert Santos Confirmed as Census Director

On November 4, the Senate voted 58-35 to confirm Robert Santos as the Director of the Census Bureau. Santos is currently the President of the American Statistical Association (ASA), a COSSA governing member. Upon his confirmation, Santos became the first person of color to lead the Census Bureau. Santos was nominated by President Biden in April to succeed Trump-appointee Steven Dillingham, who resigned in January after complaints from whistleblowers came to light (see previous coverage). Ron Jarmin has been Acting Director of the Bureau since Dillingham’s departure.

Census Bureau Seeking to Extend and Expand Business Pulse Survey

Building on the success of the Census Bureau’s Small Business Pulse Survey, a continuous, frequently-updated survey instituted to measure the impact of the pandemic on small businesses, the Census Bureau is seeking public comment on a plan to establish a new Business Pulse Survey that will extend the existing survey sample to include all businesses. The Bureau is asking for three-year approval for the Business Pulse Survey, which will be a “continuous near real time data publication [that] will provide a baseline of the U.S. economy and will measure change as a result of current and future economic shocks.” While…

New NASEM Panel on Assessing the Impact of Federal Policies on Health Equity Seeking Nominations

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) will convene a study committee to develop an “evidence-based, non-partisan Review of Federal Policies that Contribute to Racial and Ethnic Health Inequities, including those policies that impact the social determinants of health, as well as potential solutions.” NASEM is seeking volunteers to serve on the panel with expertise in health and social policy, social determinants of health (transportation, education, housing), health disparities, minority populations (racial and ethnic minorities), public health, health economics, health care, public health law, ethics, financing, criminal justice, environmental health, business, and urban planning. Nominations may be submitted…

Nominations Sought for 2022 Golden Goose Award

Nominations are now open for the 2022 Golden Goose Award. The Golden Goose Award honor federally funded research that may sound odd, obscure, or serendipitous, but ends up having a major impact on society.  Many social and behavioral scientists have been award recipients in the past and honored at the annual ceremony and reception in Washington, DC. Nominations are accepted on a rolling basis throughout the year, but for the best chance for consideration for the 2022 awards, nominations should be submitted by December 17, 2021. More information and the nomination form can be found on the Golden Goose website.

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,…


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