Blog Archives

Delay to Common Rule Implementation Likely

On January 4, the Department of Health and Human Services submitted a final rule for approval by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), which would indefinitely delay implementation of revisions to the Common Rule, the set of regulations governing research involving human participants (see COSSA’s analysis of the changes, which were announced in the final days of the Obama administration). This rule replaces an earlier proposal to delay implementation that was submitted in October but never approved by OIRA (see COSSA’s discussion), which would have allowed certain “burden-reducing” provisions of the Rule to go into an effect as scheduled while delaying the remaining pieces of the revision for one year. The new rule would delay the entirety of the revisions to the Common Rule for an unspecified period of time.  The original implementation date for the revisions is January 18, 2018, so OIRA would need to approve the new rule by then in order to avoid the regulations taking effect. It is unclear what the impact would be if OIRA were to approve the delay after the January 18 deadline.

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Posted in Issue 1 (January 9), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

NIH Continues to Tweak Policy for Investing in Young Researchers

As previously reported, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced over the summer a new policy aimed at increasing the number of early career investigators competing successfully for NIH grants. The Next Generation Researchers Initiative (NGRI) included two new definitions of early career investigators: Early Stage Investigators (ESIs) would include researchers who completed their degrees within the last 10 years and have not yet received their first NIH grant; Early Established Investigators (EEIs) would have to be within 10 years of receiving their first independent R01-equivelent research award.

In a presentation to the NIH Advisory Committee to the Director last month, NIH Principal Deputy Director Larry Tabak discussed the deliberations of a working group tasked with implementing the NGRI, including a number of concerns with the policy released in August. The working group recommends that NIH shift its policy away from the arbitrary 10-year cutoffs as set in the two definitions and instead place the focus on investigators who are the most “at risk” of losing their funding, regardless of age or years since degree. Another area for concern by the working group is that existing funds are to be used to fund awards to the determined investigators, possibly diverting funds away from established researchers. NIH will continue to refine the initiative over the coming months. The working group is expected to release its report in June.

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Posted in Issue 1 (January 9), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

NIH “Clinical Trials” Definition Moving Forward: Researchers Take Notice

As previously reported, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has been working for the last few years to enhance its stewardship of and increase transparency over the clinical trials it funds. In a recent blog post, Mike Lauer, Deputy Director for Extramural Research, explained that while no changes have been made to the definition of a clinical trial, which is the primary area of concern for the social science community, the case studies developed by NIH to help investigators determine whether their research would now fall under the new definition have been updated and clarified.

COSSA described the planned changes and their impacts on the social science research community in a Hot Topic piece last year. All social and behavioral science researchers who have received NIH funding in the past, or who are looking to apply in the very near future, are strongly encouraged to review this information as your research may now fall under NIH’s revised definition of a “clinical trial” and require new steps to be taken. This policy impacts funding opportunity announcements with due dates of January 25, 2018 and beyond.

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Posted in Issue 1 (January 9), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

Trump Appoints James Woodworth to serve as Commissioner of Education Statistics

James Woodworth of the Center for Research on Educational Outcomes at Stanford University’s Hoover Institute has been appointed to lead the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) at the U.S. Department of Education. Mr. Woodworth has also worked as Distinguished Doctoral Fellow at the Arkansas Department of Education Reform and as a public-school teacher. NCES is the principal statistical agency within the Departments’ research arm, the Institute of Education Sciences. Mr. Woodworth was appointed for the remainder of a six-year term expiring in 2021.

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Posted in Issue 1 (January 9), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

Trump Nominates Mark Schneider to Direct the Institute of Education Sciences

Mark Schneider, visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and Vice President at the American Institutes for Research (AIR), has been nominated to lead the Institute of Education Sciences (IES). IES is the statistics, research, and evaluation arm of the U.S. Department of Education and includes the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, the National Center for Education Research, the National Center for Education Statistics, and the National Center for Special Education Research. Prior to joining the AIR, Schneider served as Commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics from 2005 to 2008 and as a professor of political science at SUNY Stony Brook. Schneider’s nomination next goes to the Senate for a confirmation hearing and vote, although the hearing has not yet been scheduled.

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Posted in Issue 24 (December 12), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

NSF Seeking New Assistant Director for Education and Human Resources Directorate

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has initiated a national search for Assistant Director for the Education and Human Resources (EHR) Directorate. Dr. Jim Lewis has served as Acting Assistant Director since January of 2016. The Assistant Director for EHR will oversee the directorate, which includes the Division of Graduate Education, the Division of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings, the Division of Undergraduate Education, and the Division on Human Resource Development.

The search committee is seeking candidates with outstanding leadership capabilities; a deep sense of scholarship; and a grasp of the issues facing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics research and education. Details and contact information for the search committee can be found here.

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Posted in Issue 24 (December 12), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

BLS Technical Advisory Committee Accepting Nominations

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Technical Advisory Committee is accepting nominations to fill five upcoming vacancies. The Committee advises the Bureau on technical aspects of data collection and the formulation of economic measures and makes recommendations on areas of research. BLS is interested in candidates who have a strong familiarity with BLS data and economic statistics. Nominations should be submitted by January 5, 2018. More information is available in the Federal Register notice.

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Posted in Issue 24 (December 12), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

Administration Considering Controversial Pick for Census Deputy Director

The Trump Administration is reportedly considering naming Thomas Brunell, a political science professor at the University of Texas, Dallas, as the next Deputy Director of the Census Bureau. The pick has raised concerns for Census stakeholder groups both because Brunell has no prior government experience and would be the top operations official overseeing the decennial census, the government’s biggest non-wartime operation, and because his selection would appear to politicize what has historically been a non-political position. Brunell has testified on behalf of Republican redistricting efforts and is the author of a 2008 book called Redistricting and Representation: Why Competitive Elections Are Bad for America. Brunell was originally considered for the Census Director position (still vacant and without a nominee after the departure of John Thompson in June), but did not successfully complete the vetting process.

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Posted in Issue 23 (November 28), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

Jeffrey H. Anderson Appointed BJS Director

The Trump Administration has announced that it intends to appoint Jeffrey H. Anderson as director of the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), the principal statistical agency housed within the Department of Justice. Anderson most recently served as Director of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Health Reform, after his appointment was announced in May 2017. He is a former Hudson Institute Senior Fellow and co-founder of the 2017 Project, a conservative policy organization. Anderson hold a Ph.D. in political science from Claremont Graduate University. The position of BJS Director does not require Senate confirmation, so Anderson can begin serving as soon as he is officially appointed. Jeri Mulrow is currently serving as the Bureau’s Acting Director.

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Posted in Issue 23 (November 28), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

National Endowment for the Humanities Releases 2018 Summer Programs for Teachers

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has released information about its 2018 tuition-free summer programs, which it offers each year to provide an opportunity for K-12, college, and university educators to study a variety of humanities topics. These programs focus on specific topic, texts, and questions in the humanities and promote connections between teaching and research in the humanities. Additionally, the NEH offers stipends to help cover the cost of travel and living expenses for these one- to four-week programs. The applications for summer 2018 programs are due March 1, 2018. More information and a list of topics is available here.

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Posted in Issue 23 (November 28), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

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