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Senate Appropriations Committee Approves FY 2019 Commerce, Justice, Science Bill

On June 14, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved the fiscal year (FY) 2019 Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (CJS) Appropriations Bill; the bill was marked up in subcommittee on June 12. The CJS bill serves as the vehicle for annual appropriations for the National Science Foundation (NSF), Census Bureau, National Institute of Justice (NIJ), Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), and many other federal departments and agencies. The House Appropriations Committee passed its bill on May 17. Read COSSA’s full analysis of the House bill here.

At a Glance…

  • The Senate CJS bill includes $8.1 billion for NSF in FY 2019, which is 3.9 percent above the FY 2018 enacted level and 8 percent above the President’s request, but about 1 percent below the House’s proposal.
  • The Senate bill would provide NIJ with $42 million and BJS with $48 million, flat with the FY 2018 enacted level and 17 percent above the President’s request for both agencies.
  • The Senate bill would provide the Census Bureau with a total of $3.82 billion for FY 2019, which is slightly higher than the Administration’s request (+$21 million) but nearly $1 billion below the House’s proposal.

The next step for the bill is consideration by the full Senate. It remains to be seen whether/how Senate leadership will proceed with the individual appropriations bills this year, but with most of the Senate’s August recess cancelled, more time is available for considering the spending bills. However, the entire House is up for reelection and other priorities remain to be considered, so it is still likely that FY 2019 will begin under a continuing resolution (CR) on October 1, 2018.

Read on for COSSA’s analysis of the Senate Appropriations Committee’s proposals for the National Science Foundation, National Institute of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, and the Census Bureau.

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Posted in Issue 13 (June 26), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

Full Implementation of Common Rule Delayed through January 2019

On June 19, the Office of Human Research Protections (OHRP) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a final rule adopting a proposal released in April to delay the compliance date for revisions to the Common Rule (the set of regulations governing research involving human participants) by six months. COSSA submitted comment on this proposal asking that the implementation of the new regulations not be delayed any further than is necessary. The new compliance date for the majority of the new regulations is now January 21, 2019. However, beginning on July 19, 2018, institutions (on a study-by-study basis) may choose to adopt three “burden-reducing” provisions early (so long as the studies move into full compliance with the new regulations after they go into effect in January 2019). The burden-reducing provisions include: the revised definition of research; the elimination of requiring annual continuing review for certain categories of research; and elimination of requiring IRBs to review grant applications and funding proposals. See COSSA’s previous summary of this proposal for a comparison of the text of the current and new provisions.

While the fate of the revisions to the Common Rule has been in limbo since the Presidential transition in 2017 (see COSSA’s previous coverage), barring some unforeseen intervention by the Administration, the issuance of this final rule appears to be the last step before the regulations can go into effect. In its response to comments submitted, OHRP notes, “We do not believe a delay of the general compliance date beyond January 21, 2019 is necessary.”

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Posted in Issue 13 (June 26), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

Emilda Rivers Appointed to Lead NCSES

Emilda B. Rivers has been appointed to lead the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES), the principal statistical agency housed within the National Science Foundation (NSF), effective June 24. Prior to her appointment, Rivers was NCSES’ Acting Division Director, following the retirement of the previous director, John Gawalt. Rivers has been with NCSES since 2003, serving as Deputy Division Director and leading its largest division, the Human Resources Statistics Program. She has also worked for the Census Bureau and the Department of Energy.

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Posted in Issue 13 (June 26), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

Academies Report Recommends Strategies to Address Sexual Harassment in Academia

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has released a new consensus study report, Sexual Harassment of Women: Climate, Culture, and Consequences in Academic Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The report details the impacts of sexual harassment in terms of damage to research integrity and loss of talent and argues that institutions should view sexual harassment as “equally important as research misconduct in terms of its effect on the integrity of research.” The report makes seven broad recommendations for how academic institutions can better address and prevent sexual harassment: address gender harassment (sexist hostility and crude behavior); move beyond legal compliance to address culture and climate; create diverse, inclusive, and respectful environments; improve transparency and accountability; diffuse the hierarchical and dependent relationship between trainees and faculty; provide support for targets of harassment; and strive for strong and diverse leadership. The complete report and supplementary materials are available on the National Academies website.

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Posted in Issue 13 (June 26), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

Innovation: An American Imperative Releases Progress Report

In celebration of the third anniversary of Innovation: An American Imperative, a group of the endorsing organizations issued a report on the progress made by Congress on areas of focus highlighted in the original 2015 report.

The Innovation Imperative effort brought U.S. industry, higher education, science and engineering organizations, including COSSA, together to urge Congress to enact policies and make investments to help ensure the United States remains the global innovation leader.

The original statement on congressional progress provided seven areas of focus for congressional action moving forward: renewing the federal commitment to scientific discovery by ending sequestration level spending caps and providing steady and sustained funding growth; permanently strengthening the R&D tax credit; reforming visa policies; improving STEM education; streamlining or eliminating costly and inefficient regulations; reaffirming merit-based peer review; and stimulating improvements in advanced manufacturing.

The progress report notes the congressional progress on making permanent a strengthened federal R&D tax credit and reaffirming merit-based peer review. The report also notes that Congress has taken steps toward renewing the federal commitment to scientific discovery and streamlining costly and inefficient regulations but has not completely enacted these changes. Find more information on the Innovation Imperative website.

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Posted in Issue 13 (June 26), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

COSSA Washington Update, Volume 37 Issue 12

Featured News

COSSA in Action

Congressional News

Federal Agency & Administration News

Community News & Reports

Events Calendar

Posted in Issue 12 (June 12), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

NIH Releases Data Science Strategic Plan

On June 4, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) released its first strategic plan for data science. The strategic plan will serve as a roadmap for modernizing the NIH-supported biomedical data science ecosystem and provide leadership within the broader biomedical research data community. NIH will begin implementing the plan over the next year and focus on usability of NIH-funded biomedical data sets and resources, integration of existing data management tools and development of new ones, and the growing costs of data management. NIH will seek community input during the implementation phase and plans to hire a Chief Data Strategist to help advance data science across the intramural and extramural research communities. Read more here.

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Posted in Issue 12 (June 12), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

Congress Moves Forward on FY 2019 Spending

With a little less than four months remaining in fiscal year (FY) 2018, Congress is behind schedule but well underway in their work to consider the spending bills for FY 2019. The House Appropriations Committee has approved seven of the twelve annual appropriations bills, including two important to social and behavioral science research. On June 8, the full House of Representatives approved a three-bill package of historically uncontroversial bills, kick-starting what is expected to be a busy summer of votes.

On the other side of the Capitol, Senate appropriators have been slower to consider the FY 2019 appropriations bills, having only passed four bills out of committee. Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Richard Shelby (R-AL) has been hesitant to comment on when he expects to see spending bills considered in the full Senate. To provide more time to consider appropriations bills and presidential nominations, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has cancelled most of the Senate’s annual August recess, signaling that completing government spending for FY 2019 remains a priority. Read COSSA’s analysis of FY 2019 spending so far and stay tuned for updates on appropriations impacting social and behavioral science research.

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Posted in Issue 12 (June 12), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

Census Issues Request for Comment on Decennial Data Collection

In compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act, the Census Bureau issued a request for comments on the 2020 Census on June 8. The request provides an opportunity for feedback on the Bureau’s proposed information collection activities associated with the 2020 Census, including the addition of a citizenship question (which COSSA opposes). Comments must be submitted by August 7, 2018. More information is available in the Federal Register notice.

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Posted in Issue 12 (June 12), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

Minerva Initiative Releases 2018 Funding Opportunity Announcement, Topics of Interest

The Minerva Research Initiative, the social science research program administered jointly by the Office of Basic Research and the Office of Policy at the U.S. Department of Defense, has released its 2018 funding opportunity announcement (FOA) and 2018 topics of interest. The Minerva Research Initiative supports university-based, unclassified, research in areas of strategic importance to U.S. national security policy. Research topics of interest for 2018 include: sociopolitical (in)stability, resilience, and recovery; economic interdependence and security; alliances and burden sharing; fundamental dynamics of scientific discovery; adversarial information campaigns; automated cyber vulnerability analysis; and security risks in ungoverned and semi-governed spaces.

White papers in response to the FOA are due on June 19 and full proposals must be submitted by August 14. More information can be found on the Minerva Research Initiative Website.

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Posted in Issue 12 (June 12), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

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