Consortium of Social Science Associations (COSSA)
For 30 years the Consortium of Social Science Associations (COSSA) has been the advocacy group promoting attention to and federal funding for the social and behavioral sciences. It serves as a bridge between the academic research community and the Washington policy community. It is supported by more than 100 professional associations, scientific societies, universities, and centers and institutes.
COSSA began defending the social and behavioral sciences from proposed severe budgets cuts at the National Science Foundation (NSF) and since 1982 has expanded its outlook beyond NSF and beyond budgets. COSSA now monitors activities affecting the social and behavioral sciences at the federal agencies and on Capitol Hill.
As the key representative for the social and behavioral sciences, COSSA has succeeded in ensuring that these sciences are represented at the highest levels in discussions and actions regarding U.S. science policy. COSSA has fought for and succeeded in establishing high offices for the social and behavioral sciences at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the National Science Foundation, and the National Institutes of Health. It has also defended these sciences against attacks on their credibility, usefulness, and contributions to American science and society.
The Consortium works with federal agencies and with the relevant congressional committees and offices to explain the importance of these sciences to America’s economic and national security.
Many advocacy activities are conducted through coalitions. COSSA has not only participated actively in these groups, but has and continues to serve in leadership positions. Its Executive Director has served as the chair of the Coalition for National Science Funding (CNSF) and its Deputy Director for Health Policy co-chairs the Coalition to Protect Research (CPR) and the Coalition for the Advancement for Health Through Behavioral and Social Science Research (CAHT-BSSR).
COSSA produces a highly-praised biweekly newsletter, COSSA Washington UPDATE, which covers Washington activities important to social and behavioral scientists. Each year, COSSA analyzes the President’s proposed budget for over 50 federal agencies in a special issue of the newsletter. In May 2006, the newsletter moved to an all-electronic format.
Since the beginning COSSA has also believed in presenting the results of social and behavioral research to policymakers. It has done this through a series of briefings on Capitol Hill. The topic of the first briefing Education and Economic Competitiveness Abroad is still highly relevant 24 years later. In recent years, with support from the Ford and Kellogg Foundations, COSSA has prepared edited transcripts of these sessions. Two highly requested recent sessions include: Risk and Crisis Communications and Detecting Deception.
COSSA accomplishes all this with a full-time staff of four people and a budget of less than $500,000. We remain grateful to our members and individual social and behavioral scientists who aid us in our important work.