Blog Archives

COSSA Annual Meeting & Advocacy Day, March 9-10 – Register Today!

Registration remains open for the 2015 COSSA Annual Meeting and Social and Behavioral Science Advocacy Day scheduled for March 9-10, 2015 in Washington, DC. The meeting is open to the public; however, the advocacy day meetings are reserved for representatives of COSSA member organizations and institutions.

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 and others to engage directly with leaders of federal science agencies, Congressional staff, and colleagues from other associations and institutions. (more…)

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Posted in Issue 2 (January 27), Update, Volume 34 (2015)

Congressional Committees Take Shape

Congressional committees with oversight for funding and policy issues impacting social and behavioral science have continued to take shape over the last few weeks. The 114th Congress was sworn in on January 6, though not all of the committees have officially chosen their chairs and ranking members. A number of committee organizational meetings are occurring this week, at which time the membership rolls and leadership appointments will be approved. You can stay apprised of the most current committee leadership appointments here.

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Posted in Issue 2 (January 27), Update, Volume 34 (2015)

COSSA Annual Meeting & Advocacy Day, March 9-10 – Registration now open

Registration is now open for the 2015 COSSA Annual Meeting and Social and Behavioral Science Advocacy Day scheduled for March 9-10, 2015 in Washington, DC. The meeting is open to the public; however, the advocacy day meetings are reserved for representatives of COSSA member organizations and institutions.

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 and others to engage directly with leaders of federal science agencies, Congressional staff, and colleagues from other associations and institutions.

Confirmed speakers to date include France Córdova, Director of the National Science Foundation, Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health, and Erin Fitzgerald, Director of the Department of Defense Minerva Research Initiative.

NEW THIS YEAR – Coinciding with the Annual Meeting on March 10 will be the first-ever Social and Behavioral Science Advocacy Day. This event offers COSSA members an opportunity to meet with their elected officials to discuss the importance of federal funding for social and behavioral science research.

Visit the COSSA Annual Meeting page for full details, including hotel information for out-of-town attendees. Register today (rates increase after February 10)!

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Posted in Issue 1 (January 13), Update, Volume 34 (2015)

NIH Discontinues the National Children’s Study

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has decided to discontinue the National Children’s Study (NCS). At the December 12 meeting of the NIH Advisory Committee to the Director (ACD), a working group charged by NIH director Francis Collins to evaluate whether the NCS “as currently outlined is feasible, especially in light of increasing and significant budget constraints,” concluded that the NCS as currently designed is not. The working group further recommended “that the NIH champion and support new study designs, informed by advances in technology and basic and applied research, that could make the original goals of the NCS more achievable, feasible, and affordable.” (more…)

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Posted in Issue 23 (December 19), Update, Volume 33 (2014)

SAVE THE DATE: COSSA Annual Meeting & Advocacy Day

The COSSA Annual Meeting and inaugural Social and Behavioral Science Advocacy Day will be held in Washington, DC on March 9-10, 2015. The meeting will feature presentations from federal agency leaders and other officials and will provide an excellent opportunity to network with others from throughout the social and behavioral science research community. New in 2015 will be the first-ever Social and Behavioral Science Advocacy Day in which COSSA members will have an opportunity to educate their elected officials about the value of social and behavioral science research and the importance of federal funding. Additional details, including registration information, will be available in early 2015.

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Posted in Issue 22 (December 5), Update, Volume 33 (2014)

More Questions than Answers Following Midterm Elections

Following last week’s midterm Congressional elections, Republicans have gained control of both chambers of Congress when the 114th Congress is seated in January. Congress returned last week for the start of a month and a half-long lame duck session. On their plate includes must-pass legislation such as the fiscal year (FY) 2015 appropriations bills and defense authorization bill. However, with the party calculus significantly changed starting next year, action on spending bills and other legislative issues in the lame duck will be all but easy. See the articles that follow for more information. (more…)

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Posted in Issue 21 (November 17), Update, Volume 33 (2014)

Outcome of Midterm Elections May Not Offer Clarity over FY 2015 Endgame

The remaining weeks of 2014 could see an effort to pass a sweeping omnibus appropriations bill for fiscal year (FY) 2015, should the Republicans gain control of the Senate after the midterm Congressional elections tomorrow. Even though the Democrats would still control the Senate until January, Republican leaders have stated that under such a scenario they would work during the lame duck session to pass an omnibus, allowing the 114th Congress to start in January with a clean slate. However, such a feat has proven impossible in recent history. For example, the FY 2014 appropriations process was not completed until January of this year, and the stalemate over the FY 2013 appropriations bills led to the 16-day federal government shutdown; the FY 2013 appropriations process finally concluded six months into the fiscal year.

The federal government in currently operating under a continuing resolution (CR) until December 11 (see the September 22, 2014 COSSA Washington Update). Though the midterm elections will take place tomorrow, given the closeness of a handful of key Senate races that could result in runoffs, it may not be immediately clear which party will control the Senate in 2015. It also leaves the outlook for completion of the FY 2015 appropriations bills unclear.

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Posted in Issue 20 (November 3), Update, Volume 33 (2014)

NSF: RAPID Proposals Sought to Address Ebola Crisis

The National Science Foundation has issued a Dear Colleague Letter requesting research proposals “to conduct non-medical, non-clinical care research that can be used immediately to better understand how to model and understand the spread of Ebola, educate about prophylactic behaviors, and encourage the development of products, processes, and learning that can address this global challenge.” NSF’s Rapid Response Research (RAPID) funding mechanism will be used to fund the proposals.

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Posted in Issue 19 (October 20), Update, Volume 33 (2014)

Congresswoman Johnson Defends NSF’s Merit Review Process

Last week, Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Ranking Member of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, released a letter penned to Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) expressing concern over the chairman’s ongoing “investigation” into the merit review process at the National Science Foundation (NSF) and criticism of individual grants funded by NSF. Her letter comes as Chairman Smith has issued a third request in 18 months for NSF to provide the Committee with confidential, pre-decisional merit review documents for 30 additional grants; Smith has previously asked for documentation on a group of five grants and a second group of 20 grants earlier this year.

In her letter to the Chairman, Johnson states, “The plain truth is that there are no credible allegations of waste, fraud, or abuse associated with these [awards]. The only issue with them appears to be that you, personally, think that the grants sound wasteful based on your understanding of their titles and purpose.”

Also last week, Johnson posted online for public consumption all of the correspondence between Chairman Smith and NSF regarding the grants in question.

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Posted in Issue 18 (October 6), Update, Volume 33 (2014)

AAA&S Restoring the Foundation Report Calls for Increased Federal Investment in Research

On September 16, the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, a COSSA member, released a new report, Restoring the Foundation: The Vital Role of Research in Preserving the American Dream. The report makes the case that America’s economic successes in the twentieth century have largely been due to our investments in scientific research and that failure to maintain sustainable funding for research “could threaten the very principles—opportunity, social mobility, innovation—that have inspired our nation for the past century.” (more…)

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Posted in Issue 17 (September 22), Update, Volume 33 (2014)