Blog Archives

Senate Bill Seeks Flat Funding for NSF, NIJ for FY 2017

On April 21, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved the fiscal year (FY) 2017 Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (CJS) Appropriations Bill. This 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 countless other federal departments and agencies. The next step for the CJS bill is consideration on the Senate floor, which has not yet been scheduled.

The bill would provide NSF with a total budget of $7.5 billion in FY 2017, flat with the FY 2016 enacted level. Most notably the Senate bill does not include language singling out social science (or any other scientific disciplines) for cuts or preferential treatment, as we saw last year in the House bill. However, there is language calling on NSF to include criteria in its merit review process considering a project’s potential for advancing U.S. “national security and economic interests.” Further, NIJ and BJS would be held flat for another year at $36 million and $41 million, respectively. Finally, the Census Bureau would receive an increase, but not the amount requested by the Administration for the continued ramp up to the 2020 Decennial Census.

Read on for COSSA’s full analysis.

You can keep up-to-date on the status of FY 2017 funding for social science research agencies on the COSSA website.

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

Researchers Discuss Projects Targeted by Wastebooks at Capitol Hill Poster Exhibition

cpr 4-13On April 13, the COSSA-led Coalition to Promote Research (CPR) and the Coalition for National Science Funding (CNSF) sponsored a Congressional exhibition and reception, “Wasteful” Research? Looking Beyond the Abstract, designed to provide researchers whose work had been targeted in the various Congressional “wastebook” publications an opportunity to put their research into context for Members of Congress and their staff. The unique Congressional exhibition and reception featured nine researchers from across the disciplinary spectrum. Also presented were posters on the peer/merit review process by National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Participating researchers included: Aletha Akers, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia; Karen Ingersoll, University of Virginia School of Medicine; Jeff Leips, University of Maryland Baltimore County; Frederick Muench, Northwell Health, New York; Sheila Patek, Duke University; Kimberley Philips, Trinity University; Narayan Sastry, University of Michigan; David Scholnick, Pacific University, Oregon; and Megan Tracy, James Madison University. Joshua Shiode of AAAS provided information on the Golden Goose Awards along with this year’s first announced recipients of the 2016 award for the Longitudinal Study on Adolescent Health, recently renamed the Longitudinal Study on Adult Health (Add Health). (more…)

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Posted in Issue 8 (April 19), Update, Volume 35 (2016)

2016 Golden Goose Awards Choose Landmark Add Health Study

The researchers behind the landmark National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health Study, otherwise known as Add Health, have been chosen to receive the first of the 2016 Golden Goose Awards. The study, conceived by Drs. Peter Bearman, Barbara Entwisle, Kathleen Mullan Harris, Ronald Rindfuss, and Richard Udry in the late 1980s and early 1990s while at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is a federally-funded study designed to “illuminate the impact of social and environmental factors on adolescent health.” The Award honors “scientists whose federally-funded work may have seemed odd or obscure when it was first conducted but has resulted in significant benefits to society.”

Add Health findings have helped to identify major determinants of health and health behaviors during the transition from adolescence to early adulthood. The study followed its original nationally-representative cohort for more than 20 years. Add Health “combines longitudinal survey data on respondents’ social, economic, psychological and physical well-being with contextual data on the family, neighborhood, community, school, friendships, peer groups, and romantic relationships, providing unique opportunities to study how social environments and behaviors in adolescence are linked to health and achievement outcomes in young adulthood.” It has provided insights into the ways that families, schools, neighborhoods, and peers can influence positive health outcomes.  This insight also led to better understanding of negative outcomes and behaviors, such as violent behavior, drinking, illegal drug use, smoking, and sexual behavior. A 1998 COSSA Congressional seminar, What Do We Know About Adolescent Health: Findings from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, allowed the researchers to share some of the study’s initial findings with Congress. The study’s name was recently changed to the National Longitudinal Study of Adult Health.

The researchers, along with two other teams of still-unnamed Golden Goose Award recipients, will be honored at the fifth Golden Goose Award Ceremony in September. COSSA is a sponsor of the awards.

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

Recap of the 2016 COSSA Annual Meeting

COSSA held its 2016 Annual Meeting on March 15th in Washington, DC. Meeting sessions focused on topics like congressional attacks on federally-funded research, social science and the media, use of social and behavioral science in industry, and how to communicate the value of social and behavioral science research. In addition, participants heard updates on activities at federal agencies, including the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Justice, Environmental Protection Agency, and Bureau of Labor Statistics. Click here to read COSSA’s summary of the meeting’s sessions. You can also check out our social media recap, which covers both the Annual Meeting and Social and Behavioral Science Advocacy Day.

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Posted in Issue 6 (March 22), Update, Volume 35 (2016)

Preview of the COSSA Annual Meeting, March 15-16 – Still Time to Register!

The COSSA Annual Meeting is just one week away. The agenda includes a wide range of topics impacting social and behavioral science research, from federal funding and the media’s use of social science research, to communicating science and industry interests.

Here’s a snapshot of what we have in store:

Peer Review, National Interest & Late Night Television: The Politics of Social Science Research

In the Looking Glass: Social and Behavioral Science Communicates the Value of Social and Behavioral Science

On the Record: Social Science & the Media
Featuring reporters from NPR and Pacific Standard

Trends in Federal Statistics
Featuring Erica Groshen, Commissioner, Bureau of Labor Statistics

Social & Behavioral Science across Federal Agencies
Featuring officials from the National Science Foundation, National Institute of Justice, National Institutes of Health, and Environmental Protection Agency

Why Industry Needs Social Science
Featuring researchers from Google, Intel Corporation, and Facebook

There is still time to register! Remember, if you belong to COSSA member organization, you are eligible for a discount. Contact Julia Milton for the discount code. More details on the COSSA Annual Meeting page.

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Posted in Issue 5 (March 8), Update, Volume 35 (2016)

COSSA’s Analysis of the President’s FY 2017 Budget

President Obama released his fiscal year (FY) 2017 budget request to Congress on February 9. The request proposes increases for many of the federal agencies and programs important to the COSSA community. COSSA has prepared an in-depth analysis of the request as it relates to social and behavioral science research supported by the federal government. The report includes details on the President’s proposals for the dozens of departments, agencies, and programs of interest to social and behavioral science researchers.

With the release of the President’s budget, the FY 2017 appropriations process heads into high gear. The big question now is whether Congress will muster the political will in this election year to pass any of the spending bills before October 1. Stay tuned to future COSSA Washington Updates for the latest developments.

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Posted in Issue 4 (February 23), Update, Volume 35 (2016)

There’s Still Time to Register for the 2016 COSSA Annual Meeting on March 15-16!

A near-final agenda for the 2016 COSSA Annual Meeting is now available. Check out our excellent lineup of speakers and register today! Remember, if you work for a COSSA member organization, you are eligible for a discount. Contact Julia Milton for the discount code.

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Posted in Issue 4 (February 23), 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 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)


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