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. 

Save the Date! Social Science Advocacy Day is on April 25

Congress Tacks ARPA-H Authorization onto FY 2023 Spending Deal

The finalization of appropriations for fiscal year (FY) 2023 received plenty of attention by the research community for its investments in federal research agencies. However, another important provision was the authorization of the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H). Touted as a major priority for the Biden Administration, ARPA-H is a “high-risk, high-reward” advanced biomedical research agency established in 2022 after receiving initial funding in the FY 2022 appropriations bill. Despite receiving funds, it had not yet been authorized through legislation until it was attached to the FY 2023 appropriations omnibus last month (see COSSA’s analysis). The long-awaited authorization…

118th Congress Convenes Amidst Historic Speaker Conflict

The 118th Congress has officially kicked off with Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) winning the speakership in the House on January 7 after a protracted fight within the Republican party. All House members were sworn in upon McCarthy’s election; reelected and newly elected Senators were sworn in on January 3. While many questions remain, details about what we can expect this year under the Republican-controlled House and Democratic-controlled Senate are starting to emerge. This week, the House passed its rules package for the 118th Congress, which includes several provisions making headlines. In order to secure the votes needed to win the…

National Science and Technology Council Releases Roadmap on Information Integrity Research and Development

The White House’s National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) has released The Roadmap for Researchers on Priorities Related to Information Integrity Research and Development. The report identifies combating misinformation as a high priority target for researchers, citing the harmful nature it can have on the public. According to the roadmap, the NSTC will focus its efforts on the following areas: The roadmap is intended to guide research in understanding and combating corrupted and manipulated information while protecting freedom of expression and speech. Notably, the roadmap includes an action plan that details different actions that could be taken by different actors…

The White House Releases Its Fifth Open Government National Action Plan

The White House released its Fifth Open Government National Action Plan on December 28. 2022. The first such report was released during the Obama administration in 2011, citing government initiatives that would improve government accountability. These reports are an effort to improve the government’s relationship with the public and elevate their voices. In the most recent report, the Biden Administration has developed various initiatives dedicated to advancing equity through improving access to government information, increasing public engagement, improving the efficiency and effectiveness of government programs, combatting corruption, and promoting social justice. Many of the initiatives are already well underway, including…

NIJ and BJS Directors Call for Reliable Research and Data on Crime

Nancy La Vigne, Ph.D., Director of the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), and Alexis Piquero, Ph.D., Director of the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), called for an emphasis on scientific evidence in criminal justice policies in a January 4 opinion piece in The Hill. The commentary, which makes a case for continued support for the missions of NIJ and BJS, highlights public confusion regarding crime rates and the role of research and data collection in guiding crime reduction policies. It also cites crime forecasting algorithms and forensic science methodologies as evidence-based tools that research and data have shown to be…

Submissions Closing for Mark Kleiman Memorial Lecture

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) Committee on Law and Justice (CLAJ) is accepting submissions for the 2023 Mark Kleiman Innovation for Public Policy Memorial Lecture. The lecture is an annual award intended to be granted to early career researchers in criminal justice decision making and public policy. Along with a monetary prize, the awardee is given the opportunity to present at a meeting of the National Academies. Submissions will be accepted through January 14. More information is available here.

COSSA Welcomes National Communication Association Back as Governing Member

COSSA is excited to welcome the National Communication Association (NCA) back as a Governing Member. NCA originally joined COSSA in 2000 and works to “promot[e] the widespread appreciation of the importance of communication in public and private life, the application of competent communication to improve the quality of human life and relationships, and the use of knowledge about communication to solve human problems.” The organization moved to non-governing membership in 2022 amidst a leadership transition but has returned to its governing seat in 2023. “As a critical field of social science, the expertise and perspectives of communication scholarship has been…

Margaret Weigers Vitullo to Lead Linguistic Society of America

The Linguistic Society of America (LSA), a COSSA Governing and Founding Member, has announced the appointment of Margaret Weigers Vitullo as its next Executive Director starting January 31. A sociologist by training, Vitullo has served as Deputy Director of the American Sociological Association (ASA)—another COSSA founding member—for the last five years and before that as ASA’s Director of Academic and Professional Affairs. She previously served as chair of the sociology department at Gallaudet University and worked at the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research in the Department of Health and Human Services.  “We are thrilled we get to continue…

FY 2023 Spending Deal in Sight?

The federal government is scheduled to run out of money unless Congress acts by Friday, December 16 when the current continuing resolution (CR) will expire. Lawmakers have been working since returning from the midterm elections to strike a deal on top-line funding levels for fiscal year (FY) 2023. However, debates over how to divvy up limited resources between defense and non-defense accounts coupled with the incoming Republican takeover in the House come January have made progress slow. Still lawmakers could announce as early as today a framework that will allow them to proceed on a large omnibus spending package and…

“Why Social Science” Discusses the Science Behind Elections and Polling

This week’s Why Social Science? post comes from Kathy Frankovic, former Director of Surveys at CBS News and former President of the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR), who writes about the science behind public opinion polling and its role in predicting the outcome of elections.

COSSA Seeks Undergraduate Intern for Spring 2023

COSSA is now searching for candidates for a Spring intern. This internship would be of interest to undergraduate students wishing to learn about advocacy/government relations, federal science policy, and/or non-profit organizations. We are accepting applications on a rolling basis and preference will go towards applicants who are available to work hybrid to prepare for in-person activities for 2023 Social Science Advocacy Day. If you know an undergraduate student who may be interested in a COSSA internship for Spring semester, please email Ben Goodrich (bgoodrich@cossa.org). More information about the internship is available in the description.

Congress to Consider Standing Up Advanced Research Efforts in USDA

On December 6, the Senate Agriculture Committee held a hearing to discuss potential research related provisions that may become part of the upcoming 2023 Farm Bill – the critical agriculture bill re-authorized every five years. Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics (REE) at the Department of Agriculture Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young was a witness for the hearing. Notably, Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Ranking Member John Boozman (R-AR), and several bipartisan Members of the Committee were particularly interested in discussing the possibility of appropriating funds for an Agriculture Advanced Research and Development Authority (AgARDA), a high-risk, high-reward research agency within…

The U.S. Global Change Research Program Releases their 2022–2031 Strategic Plan

The U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) released it’s 2022-2031 Strategic Plan on December 6. USGCRP is an interagency effort that works to identify and coordinate research activities related to global climate change and other issues across the federal government. The plan includes four pillars to guide it’s work over the next decade: The full strategic plan is available here. 

Federal Statistical Agencies Launch Standard Application Process for Accessing Restricted Federal Data

The National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES) within the National Science Foundation and the Interagency Council on Statistical Policy (ICSP) have launched a Standard Application Process (SAP) to improve access to restricted federal data. As previously reported, the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018 called for the development of a process to provide streamlined access to confidential federal data. The recently announced SAP was developed in response to this directive. The agencies released an Applicant Instruction Manual for the process and are available for questions or comments at singleportal@nsf.gov.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis Appoints Dr. Vipin Arora as Director

The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) has named Dr. Vipin Arora as their new Director, replacing Brian Moyer after he accepted the role of Director of the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Dr. Arora previously has served as Deputy Assistant Director of the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences Directorate at the National Science Foundation (NSF) and Deputy Director of the NSF’s National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics. Dr. Arora has a PhD in economics, a master’s degree in public administration, and a bachelor’s degree in chemistry.

National Academies Calls for Nominations for Study on Improving Economic and Social Mobility

The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine’s (NASEM) Committee on Population (CPOP) and Committee on National Statistics (CNSTAT) are leading a consensus study to identify gaps in knowledge on the influences on economic and social mobility in the U.S. Recognizing the prevalence of inequalities in income, wealth, health, and life across the U.S., the study will seek to understand how such inequalities are influenced by policy interventions and how they vary across different population groups. NASEM invites nominations for individuals to serve on the committee. Expertise is sought in the following areas: economics, sociology, demography, statistics/methodology, psychology, political science,…

Big Changes Coming in 118th Congress; Watch COSSA’s Post-Election Webinar

While some races still need to be called, notably, the Senate race in Georgia, there are some things we can be certain about now that we are past the November midterm elections. For example, come January 3 and the swearing-in of the 118th Congress: COSSA discussed some of these changes and possible committee and leadership shakeups during the November 17 post-election Headlines webinar. A recording is available here. COSSA will be closely monitoring the activities and appointments of the 118th Congress and will be calling on members to engage with elected officials early in 2023.

Congress Returns for Packed Lame Duck Session

Congress returned to Washington after the November midterm elections to a long list of year end to-dos. Two pieces of must-pass legislation still pending include the fiscal year (FY) 2023 appropriations bills and the FY 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). As is common, either bill could become the vehicle for other legislative priorities (such as aid to Ukraine) that Congress is hoping to enact before the end of the calendar year. However, the path to the finish line has not yet been made clear. Current funding for the federal government expires on December 16. While we expect lawmakers to…

Census Bureau and Bureau of Economic Analysis Request Comments on Data Collection Security

The U.S. Census Bureau and US Bureau of Economic Analysis have released a request for comments related to the collection of data from the public “to fulfill their data security requirements when providing access to restricted use microdata related to evidence building.” As part of the agencies’ ongoing implementation of the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018 (or Evidence Act), the White House of Office Management and Budget (OMB) established a Standard Application Process (SAP) for researchers to use when requesting access to confidential government data assets. The request for comment related data security requirements seek to understand if…

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