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New Academies Study on Advancing Social and Behavioral Science within the Weather Enterprise Seeks Committee Members

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine has announced a new study, “Advancing Social and Behavioral Science Research and Application within the Weather Enterprise,” and is seeking nominees to serve on the study committee. The goal of the study is to “to develop a framework for generating and applying social and behavioral science (SBS) research within the context of meteorology, weather forecasting, and weather preparedness and response.” The Academies is particularly interested in candidates with expertise in the following fields: weather forecasting, meteorological research, behavioral economics, communication research, decision making, risk perception, assessment and communication, human factors and product design, disaster and risk management and response, meteorology education and work force development, and weather institutions and policy. More information on submitting nominations is available here. Nominations are due by April 13, 2016.

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Posted in Issue 7 (April 5), Update, Volume 35 (2016)

Events Calendar

A list of COSSA members’ annual meetings and other events can be found on the COSSA website. COSSA members who have an upcoming event they would like to see listed in the Events Calendar and on our website should send an email to jmilton@cossa.org.

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Funding Opportunity Announcements

  • NIJ: Research and Evaluation on Victims of Crime (NIJ-2016-9600)
  • NIJ: FY 2016 Comprehensive School Safety Initiative (NIJ-2016-9093)
  • ED/IFLE: Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation for Research Abroad
  • FDA: Development, Implementation, and Management of a Funding System to Advance Conformance with the Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards (VNRFRPS) (U18), (RFA-FD-16-016)
  • FDA: Strengthen and Promote the Role of Local Health Departments in Retail Food Safety Regulation (U50), (RFA-FD-16-019)
  • FDA: Strengthening Partnerships with State Legislatures to Promote the Safety of FDA Regulated Products and Advance Public Health (U18), (RFA-FD-16-041)
  • AHRQ: AHRQ Announces Interest in Research that Uses Shared Decision Making as a Tool to Improve the Quality of Care for Low Income and Racial and Ethnic Minority Patients, (NOT-HS-16-010)

NIH Opportunities:

  • NIH: Director’s New Innovator Award Program (DP2), (RFA-RM-16-004)
  • NIH: Pioneer Award Program (DP1), (RFA-RM-16-005)
  • NIH: Director’s Transformative Research Awards (R01), (RFA-RM-16-007)
  • NIH: Research Project Grant (Parent R01), (PA-16-160) [NCCIH, NCI, NEI, NHGRI, NHLBI, NIA, NIAAA, NIAID, NIAMS, NIBIB, NICHD, NIDA, NIDCD, NIDCR, NIDDK, NIEHS, NIGMS, NIMH, NIMHD, NINDS, NINR, NLM]
  • NIH: Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant Program (Parent R21), (PA-16-161) [NCCIH, NEI, NHGRI, NIA, NIAAA, NIAID, NIAMS, NIBIB, NICHD, NIDCD, NIDCR, NIEHS, NIMHD, NINDS, NINR, NLM]
  • NIH: Small Research Grant Program (Parent R03), (PA-16-162) [NHGRI, NIA, NIAAA, NIAID, NIBIB, NICHD, NIDA, NIEHS, NIMH, NIMHD, NINDS,
  • NIH: Population Health Interventions: Integrating Individual and Group Level Evidence (R01), (PA-16-146), (R21) (PA-16-147), [OBSSR, NCI, NIAAA, NIDA, NIDCR]
  • NIMH/NIA: Adult Maturational Changes and Dysfunctions in Emotion Regulation (R21), (RFA-MH-17-400), (R01) (RFA-MH-17-405)
  • NIOSH: Cooperative Research Agreements Related to the World Trade Center Health Registry (U50) (RFA-OH-16-001)
  • NIMH: Collaborative Hubs to Reduce the Burden of Suicide among American Indian and Alaska Native Youth (U19) (RFA-MH-17-350)

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House Science Committee Discusses FY 2017 NSF Budget; Social Science Highlighted

On March 22, the House Science, Space and Technology Subcommittee on Research and Technology held an oversight hearing to discuss the fiscal year (FY) 2017 budget request for the National Science Foundation (NSF). NSF Director France Córdova and Chair of the National Science Board, Dan Arvizu, testified before the Subcommittee. Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-VA) chaired the hearing.

In his opening statement, Ranking Member Daniel Lipinski (D-IL), a PhD political scientist, expressed the importance getting more people to understand the critical role NSF plays, especially across all disciplines of science. In addition, and noting that the discussion could turn to the issue of priority setting among NSF’s research directorates, Lipinski quoted House CJS Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman John Culberson (R-TX) who stated during his Subcommittee’s hearing last week that he does not wish to appropriate specific funding levels for each of NSF’s individual directorates, instead leaving the decision to the agency. That statement was directed at full Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX), who has been a vocal critic of federal support for social and behavioral science research and has called for major cuts to social and behavioral science research through his America COMPETES Reauthorization Act (H.R. 1806).

In contrast, Chairman Smith remained quiet during the hearing, noting that he had an opportunity to meet with Dr. Córdova privately earlier in the day, in which they “exchanged views” on a variety of topics. His only question during the hearing centered on the extent to which NSF prioritizes computer science, which is a pet interest for him. However, Smith’s written statement, which he submitted for the hearing record, continues his assault on social and behavioral science research projects funded by NSF, stating:

“Tight federal budget constraints require all taxpayer dollars to be spent on high value science in the national interest. Unfortunately, NSF has funded a number of projects that do not meet the highest standards of scientific merit – from a $500,000 grant to help amateurs create a video game called “Relive Prom Night” to $1.5 million for studying pasture management in Mongolia.”

Similar to her testimony before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on March 16, Dr. Córdova started her prepared statement by discussing the recent ground-breaking detection of gravitational waves at LIGO, an NSF-supported facility, noting that the discovery is a product of decades of investment by NSF, a nod to the long-term nature of basic science investment and discovery.

On a less positive note, she discussed the ongoing decline of NSF’s funding rate, which now hovers just over 20 percent. Under NSF’s current budget, about $4 billion worth of grants that have been reviewed as “very good” to “excellent” go unfunded each year, which, as Dr. Córdova stated, is an invitation for researchers to leave the field. She testified that the President’s request for NSF would begin to address these challenges.

Dr. Arvizu discussed the National Science Board’s role in setting future science priorities, stressing the need for NSF to continue to push the frontiers of science if the U.S. is to remain a global innovation leader. Arvizu also expressed the Board’s support for social, behavioral, and economic sciences, noting that questions in the social and behavioral sciences are often “among the hardest to crack.”

Most of the questions from the committee centered on programs and research areas of personal interest, including STEM education, broadening participation in science, computer science, cybersecurity, among others. However, Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-WA), in noting a visit she had with a private sector constituent as part of COSSA’s Social and Behavioral Science Advocacy Day last week, expressed her support for social and behavioral science research, including as it relates to private industry interests, and asked Dr. Córdova for examples of NSF-supported research in these fields that have made a difference. Córdova listed several examples, including measurement, data linkage, and integration of diverse sources of information (e.g. survey, mass media, and social media data), which is of importance to the Department of Defense in the area of situational awareness; understanding the social and behavioral responses to cybersecurity; and helping us respond better to natural and human-made disasters. She added that social and behavioral science is part of every cross-disciplinary initiative at NSF, which further shows the importance of these sciences to everything NSF does.

An archived webcast of the hearing and the witness’s written testimony can be found on the Subcommittee’s website.

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