Blog Archives

NSF Seeking to Fill Two Top Social Science Posts

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has initiated a national search for Assistant Director for the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (SBE) Directorate. Dr. Fay Lomax Cook has served in this position since September 2014. The Assistant Director for SBE will oversee the directorate, which includes the Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences, the Division of Social and Economic Sciences, the SBE Office of Multidisciplinary Activities, and the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics.

The search committee is seeking candidates with outstanding leadership capabilities; a deep sense of scholarship; a grasp of the issues facing the social, behavioral, and economic science communities, especially in the areas of education and fundamental research; and expertise with the production, analysis and dissemination of public data and statistics. Details and contact information for the search committee can be found here.

Additionally, as previously reported, NSF is accepting applications for the position of Division Director of the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES), NSF’s principal statistical agency housed within the SBE Directorate.

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Posted in Issue 22 (November 14), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

NSF’s Statistical Division Seeks Director

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is accepting applications for the position of Division Director of the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES), NSF’s principal statistical agency housed within the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences Directorate (SBE). The NCSES Division Director “assesses needs and trends involving the national surveys, implements overall strategic planning and policy setting for the Division, provides leadership and guidance to Division staff members, determines funding requirements, prepares and justifies budget estimates, balances program needs, allocates resources, oversees the evaluation of proposals and recommendations for awards and declinations, and represents NSF to relevant external groups.” More information is available in the posting on USAjobs. Applications must be submitted by December 4, 2017.

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Posted in Issue 21 (October 31), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

GAO Recommends Changes to NSF Indirect Cost Guidance

A new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), Actions Needed to Improve Oversight of Indirect Costs for Research, finds that the National Science Foundation (NSF) “does not consistently take steps to ensure it pays no more than its fair share of indirect costs.” Indirect costs, also referred to as facilities and administrative (F&A) costs, represent the portion of NSF awards that cover operational costs, such as maintenance, rent, and utilities. The report notes that while NSF has produced guidance for setting indirect cost rates, it is not implemented consistently. The report makes recommendations to ensure NSF staff follow its guidance more reliably, better document the process of setting indirect cost rates, and maintain consistency with the guidance set by other federal agencies. In a letter responding to the report (Appendix I), NSF concurred with GAO’s recommendations and outlined the steps it will take to implement them. The complete report and a highlights page are available on GAO’s website.

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Posted in Issue 19 (October 3), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

NSF Releases Video on Social Science Research’s Importance to Disaster Preparedness

The National Science Foundation (NSF) released a video on September 15 highlighting the contributions of the social sciences in disaster preparedness and response. The video explains that together with improvements in the science of forecasting, social science has helped more effectively communicate the potential risk of natural disasters and more effectively respond after disasters hit. The video is among a suite of new resource posted to the NSF website highlighting the many contributions of basic science to everyday life.

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Posted in Issue 19 (October 3), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

NSF Releases Dear Colleague Letters on Research Methodologies for STEM Education and Broadening Participation in Science

The Education and Human Resources Directorate (EHR) of the National Science Foundation (NSF) released a Dear Colleague Letter on September 19 announcing their intention to support fundamental research on methodologies that support valid inferences in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. The letter also includes invitations to submit proposals on a variety of aspects of research methodology for a variety of grant types, including conference proposals or early-stage research. More information can be found here.

EHR also released a Dear Colleague Letter on September 26 in partnership with the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences Directorate (SBE) to announce their interest in continuing support of research related to the science of broadening participation in science. In fiscal year (FY) 2018, SBE and EHR will partner to support research proposals that contribute to the overall understanding of the positive and negative factors impacting the participation of underrepresented communities in STEM. More information can be found here.

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Posted in Issue 19 (October 3), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

NSF Extends Application Deadline for Director of Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences Position

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is seeking candidates for the Director of the Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences (BCS) within the Directorate of Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (SBE). The BCS Director is responsible for providing leadership and direction to the Division and implementing overall strategic planning. The BCS Division provides funding for research that helps advance scientific knowledge about the brain, human cognition, language, social behavior, and culture. Applications must be submitted by October 29, 2017. The position requirements can be found on USAJobs.

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Posted in Issue 19 (October 3), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

Funding Opportunity Announcements

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Posted in Issue 19 (October 3), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

House Passes Omnibus Spending Bill Along with Problematic NSF Amendment

After two weeks of debate and votes on hundreds of amendments, the House of Representatives has passed an omnibus spending bill for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018, consisting of all twelve spending bills. The omnibus includes the same funding levels for social science research as the Commerce-Justice-Science and Labor-Health and Human Services-Education bills that were passed by the House Appropriations Committee. While the proposed funding levels were moderately good for social and behavioral science research, the House approved an amendment proposed by Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX), the chair of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee, that could be detrimental to the social sciences. The amendment would require that about $30 million (or 0.5 percent) of the Research and Related Activities account at the National Science Foundation (NSF) be used only to support basic research in the biological and physical sciences. NSF currently prioritizes research investments based on the advice of its own experts and scholars and if this amendment became law, it could result in political influence into the NSF research process.

Two other amendments that targeted the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) and the Census Bureau, proposed by Rep. Francis Rooney (R-FL) and Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-VA) respectively, were not taken up for consideration on the floor and therefore did not pass.

The spending package has little chance of passing the Senate, but President Trump has already signed a short-term budget measure to keep the government open at current funding levels through December 8, giving Congress more time to come up with a deal for the rest of FY 2018. Read COSSA’s full coverage of the FY 2018 spending debate here.

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Posted in Issue 18 (September 19), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

NSF Releases Dear Colleague Letter on Proposals Related to Hurricane Harvey

The National Science Foundation (NSF) released a Dear Colleague letter on September 1 encouraging submissions of proposals that seek to address challenges related to Hurricane Harvey. This includes proposals that address how to better prepare for storms, the human aspects of natural disasters, improving emergency response, and ways to reduce future damage. Proposals may be submitted as rapid response research grants, early-concept grants, or supplemental funding to existing grants. More information can be found here.

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Posted in Issue 18 (September 19), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

NSF Seeking Candidates for Director of Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is seeking candidates for the Director of the Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences (BCS) within the Directorate of Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (SBE). The BCS Director is responsible for providing leadership and direction to the Division and implementing overall strategic planning. The BCS Division provides funding for research that helps advance scientific knowledge about the brain, human cognition, language, social behavior, and culture. Applications must be submitted by September 29, 2017. The position requirements can be found on USAJobs.

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

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