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National Academies Launches Climate Communication Initiative, Seeks Nominations for Advisory Committee

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has announced the establishment of a new Climate Communication Initiative. The Academies is seeking nominations for members of the Initiative’s Advisory Committee which will guide the strategic direction for the initiative and plan its activities. The Academies are looking for individuals with expertise in “climate science, climate impacts and economics, potential response options, science communication, social media engagement, science education, and experience with other issues considered to be contentious in public discourse.” Nominations must be submitted by September 15, 2017. More information is available on the Initiative’s website.

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Posted in Issue 17 (September 5), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

National Academies Requests Input on Two Higher Education and Workforce Studies

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Board on Higher Education and Workforce is requesting input for its consensus studies on Revitalizing Graduate STEM Education for the 21st Century and the Next Generation Researchers Initiative. The Committee on Revitalizing Graduate STEM Education for the 21st Century Workforce is inviting comments and reactions on previously received input on competencies and core educational elements for Masters and PhD programs. The opportunity to provide input is open until September 22, 2017. The Committee on the Next Generation Researchers Initiative is requesting input on the barriers that members of the next generation of biomedical and behavioral researchers may face as they develop their independent research careers. The opportunity to provide input to the Committee on the Next Generation Researchers Initiative is open until October 1, 2017.

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Posted in Issue 17 (September 5), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

Decadal Survey of Social Science Applications to National Security Releases Workshop Dates and Topics

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Board on Behavioral, Cognitive, and Sensory Sciences is sponsoring a decadal survey of social and behavioral sciences for applications to national security. The committee conducting the decadal survey will hold six workshops for the purposes of bringing together scholars, members of the intelligence community, members of the federal government, and other stakeholders to examine the state of research and future applications in particular areas. On October 11, 2017, the committee will host separate workshops on culture, language, and behavior; political and strategic reasoning; and network thinking. On January 24, 2018, the committee will host separate workshops on sensory, cognitive, and decision sciences; workforce development; and narratives. Each of these workshops will be held in Washington, DC. More information can be found here and staff can be contacted at SBSDecadalSurvey@nas.edu.

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Posted in Issue 17 (September 5), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

Academies to Host Third Science of Science Communication Colloquium

The National Academy of Sciences will host its third Arthur M. Sackler Colloquium on the Science of Science Communication on November 16 and 17. Evolving from past colloquia, this Colloquium will focus on the consensus study report, Communicating Science Effectively: A Research Agenda, as a framework for advancing both research and practice in science communication. The Colloquium will explore ways to build capacity for and foster the use of evidence-based strategies for engaging the public with science and ensuring its appropriate use. More information on the event, including an agenda, is available here. The event will also be available by webcast.

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Posted in Issue 17 (September 5), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

National Academies Releases Sixth Edition of Principles and Practices for a Federal Statistical Agency

The Committee on National Statistics (CNSTAT) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recently published the sixth edition of its report, Principles and Practices for a Federal Statistical Agency, which is released every four years to coincide with presidential terms. The consensus study report provides an explanation of the federal statistical system and offers guiding principles and best practices for federal statistical agencies. According to the report, in order to disseminate relevant, timely, accurate and credible information to the public and policymakers, federal statistical agencies follow four guiding principles: (1) produce objective and relevant information, (2) maintain a credible reputation among data users, (3) build trust among data providers, and (4) remain independent and objective.

This article was contributed by COSSA’s summer intern, Shannon Emmett of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

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Posted in Issue 15 (July 25), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

National Academies Event Highlights Recent SBE Report; Rep. Lipinski Adds his Support

On July 19, the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine hosted a public discussion on a recently released consensus report requested by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The report, The Value of Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences to National Priorities, discussed the overwhelming consensus that the social, behavioral, and economic sciences (SBE) significantly contribute to the advancement of NSF’s missions, the missions of other agencies, as well as the missions of businesses and industries. For a more detailed summary of the report, refer to COSSA’s summary. The public discussion of the report was comprised of an overview of the report, commentary, and roundtable discussion on implementing the report’s recommendations, as well as an opportunity for questions from the audience.

The key discussion topics that arose amongst the panelists and audience members included the implementation of strategic planning at NSF, the kind of priorities NSF and the SBE community should pursue through federally funded research, and the need for improved communication of SBE missions, contributions, and relevance to the public. Robert Groves, Provost at Georgetown University and Professor of Math, Statistics, and Sociology, argued that strategic planning cannot be implemented without careful consideration of the priorities that NSF plans to address. In discussion of those priorities, panelists and audience members were split on what they should be and whether priorities should be set according to the issues of importance to the public or according to which issues NSF’s tools, resources, and resources could impact most significantly.

On the topic of how to improve communication about SBE research, Valerie Reyna, Professor of Human Development and Psychology at Cornell University, and Arthur “Skip” Lupia, Professor of Political Science at the University of Michigan and member of the SBE Directorate Advisory Committee at NSF, spoke about the need for explicit communication of the mission and value of SBE research by NSF and the SBE community. They also called for increasing the engagement of the general public and policymakers in SBE’s contributions to advancing NSF’s priorities. Cora Marrett, Professor of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin Madison and former Deputy Director of the National Science Foundation, also noted the continuing need for a vibrant and diverse SBE community and priorities that align more closely with the public’s questions and needs.

Earlier in the month on July 12, Representative Daniel Lipinski (D-IL), Ranking Member of the Research and Technology Subcommittee of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, spoke on the House floor about the value of the consensus report. Rep. Lipinski argued that SBE funded research advances the mission of NSF and helps other agencies and industries achieve their missions as well. According to Representative Lipinski, SBE “provides tools and methods that have helped business and industry grow the U.S. economy and create jobs.” He emphasized that SBE research helps understand the causes and consequences of human behavior, which affect every major challenge facing the nation. In order to continue to address these challenges, Lipinski insisted that continued robust investments in SBE are critical.

This article was contributed by COSSA’s summer intern, Shannon Emmett of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

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Posted in Issue 15 (July 25), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

Why Social Science? Highlights the National Academies’ SBE Report

why-social-scienceThis week’s Why Social Science? post highlights the recent report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, The Value of Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences to National Priorities. Produced at the request of the National Science Foundation (NSF), the report assesses the contributions of the social, behavioral, and economic (SBE) sciences to issues of national importance.
Read it here and subscribe.

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Posted in Issue 14 (July 11), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

National Academies to Host Public Discussion on SBE Report

The Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education (DBASSE) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine will host a public discussion on their report The Value of Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences to National Priorities on July 19. Members of the committee that authored the report will present key findings followed by questions from the audience and a roundtable discussion with experts. Registration is required.

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Posted in Issue 14 (July 11), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

National Academies Highlights the Value of Social Science

At the request of the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine convened an expert committee, chaired by Alan Leshner, CEO Emeritus of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, to study the contributions of the social, behavioral, and economic (SBE) sciences to the national interest. The committee’s report, The Value of the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences to National Priorities, published last week, is a ringing endorsement of the importance of these fields to addressing “nearly every major challenge the United States faces.” The report draws three conclusions: (1) SBE sciences “produce a better understanding of the human aspects of the natural world, contributing knowledge, methods, and tools that further the mission of the National Science Foundation;” (2) SBE sciences provide understanding, tools, and methods that help other agencies achieve their missions; (3) the SBE sciences have made contributions that “have been applicable to businesses and industry and that have enhanced the U.S. economy.” To support its findings, the report provides supporting examples detailing the contributions of SBE research to health, prosperity and welfare, national defense, progress in science, missions of other agencies, and industry and business.

The committee also issued four recommendations for NSF and the broader SBE community: (1) NSF should undertake a systematic and transparent strategic planning process related to SBE sciences; (2) NSF should “continue to support the development of tools, methods, and research teams” to advance SBE sciences, facilitate their interactions with other fields, and help NSF and other organizations more effectively address national needs; (3) NSF should support training “consistent with the ways science is evolving across all scientific fields;” and (4) NSF should work to better communicate the results and value of the SBE research it supports and to encourage the broader scientific community to increase its own efforts to better communicate the value of SBE research.

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Posted in Issue 12 (June 13), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

National Security Decadal Survey Issues Second Call for White Papers

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has announced its second call for white papers to inform its decadal survey on applications of social and behavioral sciences for national security, which is sponsored by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. The Academies is seeking white papers that “identify research concepts, methods, tools, techniques, and new ideas that could advance knowledge” across a range national security-relevant areas. More information and submission instructions are available on the Academies website. Responses are requested by June 12, 2017. Submissions from the first call for white papers, which focused on the needs of the intelligence community, can be accessed here.

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Posted in Issue 10 (May 16), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

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