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COSSA Washington Update, Volume 35 Issue 3

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Posted in Issue 3 (February 9), Update, Volume 35 (2016)

President Unveils FY 2017 Budget Request, Kicks Off Annual Funding Battle

The Obama Administration has started releasing details of its final budget request to Congress. Full details of the request for fiscal year (FY) 2017 will continue to roll out over the coming days. COSSA is preparing an in-depth analysis of the request as it pertains to social science programs across the federal government. It is important to note that the President’s request for FY 2017 includes new mandatory spending at several agencies, which would largely account for the increases to these agencies.

Details so far include:

  • The National Science Foundation (NSF) would receive nearly $8 billion in FY 2017 (including $400 million in mandatory spending), an increase of 6.7 percent. Without the mandatory spending, the increase would be only 1.3 percent. The Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences Directorate would see a 6.1 percent increase when accounting for new mandatory funds; the increase would be 0.1 percent—or flat—without the additional funds. Similarly, the Education and Human Resources Directorate would be increased by 8.3 percent with mandatory funds, 2.1 percent without.
  • The National Institutes of Health (NIH) would receive a total budget of $33.1 billion, of which $1.8 billion is directed to support Administration-designated initiatives, including:
    • $910 million for Alzheimer’s disease research;
    • $680 million for the Vice President’s Cancer Moonshot initiative;
    • $300 million (a $107 million increase) for the Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI); and
    • $195 million (a $45 million increase) for NIH’s contributions to the BRAIN Initiative.
  • The National Institute of Justice would receive $48 million, a 33 percent increase, and the Bureau of Justice Statistics would receive $58 million, a 42 percent increase.
  • The President’s budget proposal would use mandatory funding to double the size of the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), the Department of Agriculture’s competitive grants program housed within the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). AFRI’s budget would increase from $350 million FY 2016 to $700 million. Without the mandatory funds, the agency would still see a $7.1 percent increase to $375 million.
  • Funding for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) would be restored to its FY 2015 level of $363.7 million, undoing the effects of a an 8.2 percent cut in FY 2016. Of those funds, $83.5 would come from transfers under the Public Health Service Act (sometimes called the “evaluation tap”), a particularly unpopular funding mechanism on the Hill. This amount doesn’t include already-enacted mandatory transfers from the Patient Centered Outcomes Research (PCOR) Trust Fund, which should total $106 million in FY 2016.

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Posted in Issue 3 (February 9), Update, Volume 35 (2016)

Preliminary Agenda Released for COSSA Annual Meeting; Rates Increase February 15!

Registration rates for the 2016 COSSA Annual Meeting and 2nd Annual Social and Behavioral Science Advocacy Day on March 15-16 will increase on February 15.  In addition, the hotel block for out-of-town attendees closes on February 15. Register and make your reservation today! Note: Individuals who work for COSSA member organizations are eligible for a members-only registration rate. Email jmilton@cossa.org for details on how to get your member discount.

A preliminary agenda for the meeting is now available. Several sessions are still under development—check back soon for a complete listing of speakers and topics.

ABOUT THE COSSA MEETING – The COSSA Annual Meeting brings together representatives from throughout the social and behavioral science community for a day of discussion on federal issues impacting social and behavioral science research. It provides an opportunity for COSSA members to engage directly with leaders of federal science agencies, Congressional staff, and colleagues from other associations and institutions. This year, discussions will highlight the many ways social and behavioral science research serves the national interest. Come be part of the conversation.

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Posted in Issue 3 (February 9), Update, Volume 35 (2016)

NEW! University Rankings for Social Science Funding

COSSA has produced a new resource that shows how U.S. colleges and universities rank in total social and behavioral science research funding awarded each year by the federal government. We use federally collected R&D data for social science-related funding categories to present an accurate listing of the state of social science research funding. Check out how your university stacks up.

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Posted in Issue 3 (February 9), Update, Volume 35 (2016)

Not Yet a COSSA Member? Join the Team!

Do you enjoy receiving your copy of the COSSA Washington Update and want to do more to promote social and behavioral science research? Become a member of COSSA today! COSSA membership is institutional, meaning once your organization/institution/association joins, anyone at the organization can receive our member benefits, including discounted rates for the COSSA Annual Meeting and Social Science Advocacy Day.

To learn more about what COSSA has to offer, download our list of member benefits. And if you are already a member, check out the list to make sure you are getting the most out of your membership.

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Posted in Issue 3 (February 9), Update, Volume 35 (2016)

COSSA Updates State SBS Funding Fact Sheets

COSSA has released new versions of its state-by-state funding fact sheets for federal social and behavioral science funding. The new fact sheets use information for fiscal year (FY) 2014, the most recent currently available federal data. The fact sheets use these data to demonstrate the local economic impact of federal investment in the social and behavioral sciences by providing detailed information on how much funding states receive, where it comes from, and where it goes. They are available for all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia. Click here to see how much funding your state receives.

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Posted in Issue 3 (February 9), Update, Volume 35 (2016)

COSSA Joins the Call for OAR Working Group on HIV/Substance Use Disorders Research

COSSA joined organizations representing the “range of scientific, professional, and patient organizations committed to the elimination of substance use disorders and addiction through education, advocacy, and the promotion of broad public and private support for HIV/AIDS and substance use research agendas of the National Institutes of Health [NIH]” on a letter to Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), in response to the fiscal year (FY) 2016 Trans-NIH Plan for HIV-Related Research. The letter expresses concern “that the priorities overall and those specific to behavioral and social sciences, in particular, downplay the critical importance of reducing drug abuse to prevent the spread of HIV infection.” The letter’s signatories “strongly urge the OAR [NIH Office of AIDS Research] to establish a Working Group under the auspices of the OAR Advisory Council to develop guidelines for prevention and treatment of HIV in this ever-growing high-risk population” of individuals with substance use disorders. The NIH released its new HIV/AIDS Research Priorities and Guidelines for Determining AIDS Funding in August 2015 (see Update, December 15, 2015).

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Posted in Issue 3 (February 9), Update, Volume 35 (2016)

“National Interest” Bill Heads for House Vote

The Scientific Research in the National Interest Act (H.R. 3293), sponsored by Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX), is legislation that seeks to set a definition for federally-funded research conducted in the “national interest.” The language of the bill was derived from Sec. 106 of the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2015 (H.R. 1806), which passed the House in May despite strong and vocal opposition from the broad scientific research community. Smith has argued that his bill is intended to ensure that the National Science Foundation (NSF) is funding “only high priority research.” While the bill text itself is rather benign, the intent of the legislation, as exemplified by the press release issued alongside it, is to continue singling out grants that Smith deems unworthy of taxpayer support, many in the social sciences. The bill will head to the House floor a vote this week. Companion legislation does not exist in the Senate.

COSSA issued a statement  in July calling out the ideological motives behind the bill and urging that political review not become part of NSF’s merit review process.

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Posted in Issue 3 (February 9), Update, Volume 35 (2016)

Dyslexia Research Bill Heads to the President’s Desk

Last week, the Senate passed the Research Excellence and Advancements for Dyslexia Act or READ Act (H.R. 3033). The bill, originally introduced in the House by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), requires that the National Science Foundation include in its annual budget request to Congress $2.5 million to study the science of dyslexia. An additional $2.5 million is authorized for research on other learning disabilities. The final bill was amended to allow for this flexibility in funding; the original bill earmarked $5 million entirely for dyslexia research. The bill now heads to the President’s desk for signature.

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Posted in Issue 3 (February 9), Update, Volume 35 (2016)

Human Subjects Advisory Committee Seeking New Members

The Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Human Research Protections (SACHRP), the advisory body to the Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary and the Office of Human Research Protections (OHRP), is soliciting nominations to fill four vacancies in 2016, including the position of Chair. SACHRP provides scientific expertise and recommendation on matters related to the protection of human subjects in scientific research. The Committee will likely play an important role as OHRP finalizes its announced revisions to the Common Rule (see COSSA’s coverage). Experts are sought from fields including “public health and medicine, behavioral and social sciences, health administration, and biomedical ethics.” Nominations must be received no later than March 21, 2016. More information is available in the Federal Register notice.

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Posted in Issue 3 (February 9), Update, Volume 35 (2016)

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