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. 

New Social Science Fields Added to DHS List of STEM Programs

On January 21, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) updated its list of STEM Designated Degree Programs. F-1-visa-holding students completing degrees within these fields of study may apply for 24-month extensions to their visas to undertake optional practical training (OPT). A number of the fields added to the list are relevant to the social and behavioral sciences, including: Human-Centered Technology Design Anthrozoology Economics and Computer Science Geography and Environmental Studies Mathematical Economics Data Science, General Data Analytics, General, and Business Analytics. The Federal Register notice announcing the change includes more information about the process for petitioning to add fields to…

OMB Requests Input on Standard Application Process for Accessing Federal Data

The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has issued a request for comments on the recommendations of the Interagency Council on Statistical Policy (ICSP) regarding the implementation of a standard application process for accessing confidential federal data (which may be downloaded here). The ICSP report, which was written in response to requirements in the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018 (“Evidence Act,” see previous coverage), outlines considerations for applying to access confidential statistical data, agency review of applications, and an appeals process for applications that are denied. OMB is particularly interested in receiving comments on the proposal…

NIH Releases Collection of Resources Highlighting Accomplishments in Behavioral and Social Sciences Research

The Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently released an installment of fact sheets and infographics containing summaries of important advancements in public health with major contributions from the behavioral and social sciences. The collection of resources focuses on the ten following public health topics: Sleep Chronic Pain Diabetes Intimate Partner Violence Teen Pregnancy Tobacco Use Depression Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Phobias Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder OBSSR had released a previous resource in 2013 highlighting achievements of the behavioral and social sciences acknowledging OBSSR’s 20th anniversary. The full collection of resources is available on…

National Academies Names Carlotta Arthur New DBASSE Director

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine announced that it has selected Dr. Carlotta M. Arthur as its next executive director of the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education (DBASSE). Dr. Arthur was most recently Clare Boothe Luce Program for Women in STEM of the Henry Luce Foundation. She succeeds Dr. Mary Ellen O’Connell effective February 14.

University of Maryland to Host Part Two of Partnerships in the Social Sciences Workshop

The University of Maryland and UIDP, in collaboration with COSSA, the National Science Foundation, MITRE, the Optimal Solutions Group, SAGE Publishing, and the Federation of Associations in the Behavioral and Brain Sciences, will be hosting the second part of the Workshop on U-I Partnerships in the Social Sciences (see previous coverage for more details). This in-person workshop, which is a continuation of the events held virtually on October 14, 2021, will bring together “a group of experts and leaders from academia, industry, and government to consider how academic-corporate partnerships can advance social, behavioral, and organizational science research to positively impact…

OSTP Releases Guidance for NSPM-33, Long Awaited Research Security Roadmap

On January 4, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) announced the publication of the implementation guidance for National Security Presidential Memorandum (NSPM)-33, the guidelines released in early 2021 intended to improve research security efforts at federal agencies (see previous COSSA coverage for more details). This long-awaited guidance, which was released as a report by OSTP’s National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) Joint Committee on the Research Environment (JCORE), aims to clarify requirements for federally funded researchers and set best practices at federal agencies to strengthen research security. The guidance offers direction on five major areas of…

2021 By the Numbers

As we close the books on COSSA’s 40th year, we are continually reminded of the perseverance of the social and behavioral science community and the contributions our sciences make to real issues of the day. There has arguably never been a more important time for the social and behavioral sciences to inform and guide the work of our nation’s leaders. As the voice for social and behavioral science research in our nation’s capital, COSSA serves as a conduit between the research community and lawmakers on Capitol Hill and in Executive Branch agencies. We could not do our work without the…

“Why Social Science” Can Help Us Learn Self-Compassion

The latest Why Social Science? guest post comes from social psychologist Yuki Miyagawa of Otemon Gakuin University in Osaka, who writes about his research on learning self-compassion, which can help us become more resilient individuals.

Congress Starts 2022 with Packed To-Do List

The 117th Congress returned to work this month for its second session still struggling to resolve legislative issues meant for last year. As previously reported, while fiscal year (FY) 2022 began on October 1, 2021, Congress enacted a continuing resolution (CR) late last year punting the annual appropriations deadline to February 18. That means, more than three months into the new fiscal year, federal agencies are operating at FY 2021 levels with no certainty of when they will receive their FY 2022 funding or what that funding will look like for this year. Among the reasons for the delay last…

Longtime Science Champion Eddie Bernice Johnson Enters Final Year in Congress

Late last year, House Science Committee Chair Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) announced that she would retire from Congress at the end of her term. Johnson, who receive the COSSA Distinguished Service Award in 2016, has been one of the social science enterprise’s fiercest champions throughout her tenure on the Science Committee. She defended social and behavioral science grants from unwarranted attacks and championed legislation to advance the nation’s scientific enterprise as a whole. It is unclear who will succeed Johnson as the top Democrat on the Science Committee in the next Congress. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) has seniority, but shakeups…

NSF Announces Topics for 2022 Convergence Accelerator, Agency Seeking Feedback on Future Topics

On January 4, the National Science Foundation (NSF) announced the topics for the Convergence Accelerator for fiscal year (FY) 2022, applications for which are expected to open in the coming months. NSF’s Convergence Accelerator aims to promote research in areas of strategic and societal importance through a three-tiered process: ideation, and two convergence research phases. The tracks for FY 2022 are: Enhancing Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities Sustainable Materials for Global Challenges Food & Nutrition Security In addition, NSF has announced it is seeking community feedback for future Convergence Accelerator topics. On December 13, 2021, NSF released a Dear Colleague…

NSF Announces Partnership with WT Grant Foundation on Enhancing the Impact of Research about Youth

In December, the Directorate for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (SBE) within the National Science Foundation (NSF) issued a Dear Colleague Letter announcing a partnership with the William T. Grant Foundation to solicit research proposals on “Increasing the Use, Usefulness and Impact of Research about Youth.” Research topics may cover improving decision-makers’ use of research, making research more useful in policy creation and practice, and identifying when and how using research findings improves youth outcomes. Proposals may be submitted to either NSF or the WT Grant Foundation. More information is available in the Dear Colleague Letter. Additional research opportunities supported…

Larry Tabak Named Acting Director for NIH, Questions Remain Regarding Presidential Nomination

On December 9, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra announced that Larry Tabak, current principal deputy director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), would take leadership of NIH as acting director beginning on December 20. Current NIH director Francis Collins announced his intent to step down earlier this year after 15 years of service in the role as the agency’s director (see previous coverage for more details). Tabak has been a mainstay at NIH, serving as director of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) for a decade prior to his naming as principal deputy…

FROM THE ARCHIVES: 40 Years of COSSA

To cap off our celebration of COSSA’s 40th anniversary, we are sharing these excerpts from past milestones. You can read all of the articles we’ve highlighted this year here. COSSA Celebrates 10th Anniversary as Advocacy Group (June 10, 1991) The Consortium of Social Science Associations (COSSA) celebrated its tenth anniversary with a day-long series of events on June 3. It was in May 1981 that social and behavioral science funding at the National Science Foundation (NSF) and at other federal agencies came under attack by the Reagan administration, mobilizing a number of the professional associations in these disciplines to counter…

FY 2022 Bills Delayed until February, Build Back Better Act Inches Forward

On December 3, the House and Senate agreed to the terms of a second continuing resolution (CR) to keep the federal government open and operating until February 18, 2022. Although fiscal year (FY) 2022 officially began more than two months ago on October 1, Congress has yet to complete negotiations on any of its 12 annual appropriations bills. The latest CR kicks the can into next year, allowing lawmakers time to focus on other year-end priorities. COSSA’s full coverage of FY 2022 appropriations is available here. In the category of “must-pass” legislation are the annual defense authorization bill, which includes…

GAO Report Cites Need for Better Police Use-of-Force Data

The Government Accountability Office has released a report assessing the release of data from the Department of Justice (DOJ) related to law enforcement use of force. Overall, the report finds that the Department has not been consistently publishing legally required data on excessive force and that DOJ can do a better job of sharing this information. The report makes note of delays in the release of data produced by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), an issue not limited to use-of-force data (COSSA has written several letters advocating for the timely release of BJS data).  The report recommends that BJS…

Census Seeking Comment on New “Ask U.S.” Opinion Panel

The Census Bureau is seeking approval for a new nationally representative survey panel called “Ask U.S.,” to be used for “tracking public opinion on a variety of topics of interest to numerous federal agencies and their partners, and for conducting experimentation on alternative question wording and methodological approaches” as well as potentially collecting “nationwide rapid-response data to address emerging data needs.” Public comment is being accepted on the new activity, which will also be coordinated with the Economic Research Service, Bureau of Labor Statistics, National Center for Education Statistics, and the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, among other…

NSF Announces Build and Broaden 3.0 Collaborations with Minority-Serving Institutions

The Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (SBE) Directorate at the National Science Foundation (NSF) is accepting applications for Build and Broaden 3.0, the latest iteration of the collaborative program aiming to support fundamental research and research collaborations at minority-serving institutions (MSIs). Updates on the Build and Broaden program were featured during the SBE Advisory Committee meeting on December 2, with NSF staff providing comments on previous fiscal year awards, updated eligibility criteria for the awards, outreach efforts to tribal-serving institutions, and the creation of a new Program Officer role for Build and Broaden 3.0. The target due date for Build…

Participants Sought for NSF-Funded January Bioeconomies Workshop

UIDP is hosting a virtual workshop January 11-12, with support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), to bring together an interdisciplinary group of scientists from the public and private sectors who understand and support societal, economic, behavioral, and other challenges and opportunities that arise in developing a bioeconomy ecosystem. The workshop will convene experts from academia, industry, and public and private sectors to explore societal, economic, behavioral, regulatory, and other challenges and opportunities to help design bioeconomy innovation hubs, such as Regional Innovation Accelerators proposed by NSF, and develop a bioeconomy ecosystem that spurs innovation, entrepreneurship, economic growth, and social…

Action Collaborative on Preventing Sexual Harassment Releases Year Two Annual Report

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) Action Collaborative on Preventing Sexual Harassment released its annual report summarizing findings and progress through its second year of work. The Action Collaborative, which was organized in 2019 by more than sixty colleges, universities, and research institutions, is charged with developing evidence-based strategies to prevent sexual harassment in higher education settings. The report describes the progress made across its four main goals: raising awareness about sexual harassment, elevating evidence-based policies to reduce and prevent sexual harassment, contributing to a shared research agenda on sexual harassment across member institutions, and developing standards…

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