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National Academies Calls for Better Integration of Social and Behavioral Science into Weather Enterprise

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) has released a new consensus report, Integrating Social and Behavioral Sciences Within the Weather Enterprise. Sponsored by the National Weather Service and the Office of Weather and Air Quality within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Highway Administration, the report acknowledges a “growing recognition that a host of social and behavioral factors determine how we prepare for, observe, predict, respond to, and are impacted by weather hazards” and that research and findings from the social and behavioral sciences must be better incorporated into the systems we use to predict and communicate information about the weather and hazards. The report proposes a framework for accomplishing this goal that includes ensuring the social sciences are represented in the leadership of weather organizations, building capacity to support social science research throughout the weather enterprise through sustained funding and professional support, and focusing on research to fill knowledge gaps, particularly system-level studies of the weather enterprise; risk assessment and responses; and message design, delivery, interpretation, and use. The complete report is available on the National Academies website.

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

National Academies Releases Proactive Policing Report

On November 11, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine released a report, sponsored by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, entitled Proactive Policing: Effects on Crime and Communities. The report evaluates the impact of proactive policing strategies on crime, communities, and racial disparities in policing. Proactive policing differs from traditional policing in that it targets the underlying causes of crime and disorder rather than reacting to crime after it occurs. The report concludes that sufficient scientific evidence supports the adoption of some proactive policing practices and that proactive policing is particularly effective in areas with high concentrations of crime and repeat offenders. Additionally, there was no evidence of adverse community receptiveness in those areas.

The report identifies a significant gap in knowledge surrounding long-term effects of proactive policing and calls for additional comprehensive research on whether police programs to enhance procedural justice improve perceptions of legitimacy and cooperation between communities and the police. During a webinar to mark the release of the report, David Weisburd, Chair of the authoring committee and Director of George Mason University’s Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy, commented on the “striking lack of social science evidence” available on violations of the law by police and the causes of racial disparities in police-citizen encounters. The report calls for a greater investment in researching what is “cost-effective, how such strategies can be maximized to improve the relationships between the police and the public, and how they can be applied in ways that do not lead to violations of the law by the public.”

This article was contributed by COSSA’s fall intern, Erin Buechele of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

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

Academies Decadal Survey Seeking Social Science Research Ideas to Improve Intelligence Analysis

As part of the Decadal Survey of Social and Behavioral Science for Applications to National Security, the Committee for the Decadal Survey has opened a call for input from the scientific community to share innovative scientific approaches and research concepts. More specifically, the focus of this call for information is to identify cutting-edge research that might improve intelligence analysis within the next ten years. The Committee has created an IdeaBuzz website to allow the social and behavioral science research community to share ideas and engage in meaningful discussions about current and future trends in the social and behavioral sciences.

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

CNSTAT Issues Report on Federal Statistics, Multiple Data Sources, and Privacy Protection

The Committee on National Statistics (CNSTAT) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recently issued a consensus report entitled Federal Statistics, Multiple Data Sources, and Privacy Protection: Next Steps. The report was produced by the Panel on Improving Federal Statistics for Policy and Social Science Research Using Multiple Data Sources and State-of-the-Art Estimation Methods, chaired by Robert Groves of Georgetown University. The Panel’s first report, Innovations in Federal Statistics: Combining Data Sources While Protecting Privacy, was published in January 2017, and described some of the challenges currently facing the federal statistical system’s current paradigm of heavy reliance on sample surveys and recommended a new approach of combining different kinds of federal and private data, as well as the creation of an entity to facilitate that. Federal Statistics, Multiple Data Sources, and Privacy Protection builds on the first report and examines statistical methods for combining diverse types of data, the implications relying on multiple data sources may have for IT systems, different statistical and computer science approaches to enhancing privacy protections, how to ensure the quality and utility of statistics produced using multiple data sources, and ways to implement the “new entity” that would facilitate combining data sources. The pre-publication version of the report is available on the National Academies’ website.

There is quite a bit of overlap in the areas addressed by the CNSTAT panel and those addressed by the Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking, which released its report in September (see COSSA’s coverage the Commission)—in fact, Panel Chair Robert Groves served on the Commission as well. However, while the resulting reports from the two groups are hopefully complementary, their work was conducted independent of one another.

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

NDD United Highlights Impacts of Budget Cuts in Faces of Austerity 2.0 Report

On October 25, NDD United, a broad coalition of stakeholders interested in protecting non-defense discretionary (NDD) programs from budget cuts (including COSSA), held a congressional briefing to celebrate the launch of its latest report, Faces of Austerity 2.0: How Budget Cuts Continue to Make Us Sicker, Poorer, and Less Secure. The report explores how sequestration and the Budget Control Act put programs that millions of Americans rely on at risk. NDD United is calling upon Congress to stop NDD funding cuts by treating defense and nondefense programs equally, maintaining the precedent set in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013. NDD United aims to demonstrate that these budget cuts are not just numbers on paper, but represent real and increasingly difficult challenges for many Americans.

At the congressional briefing, NDD United invited a panel of five speakers to share their personal experiences with cuts to NDD programs. Melissa Armas, a mother and volunteer with Parent Voices CA, shared her story first. This past year, Melissa accepted a bonus from her employer, and because of it, she was $100 over the low-income threshold to receive a government subsidy that would allow her four-year-old daughter to attend daycare. Michael Gritton, Executive Director of KentuckianaWorks, an organization that educates, trains, and connects local job seekers with employers, shared that his organization has had to close two training centers and cut training programs by 40 percent because of NDD budget cuts. Joseph Hill-Coles, Community Navigator at Youth Services, Inc. used his personal experience as a homeless eighteen-year-old to amplify the need to fund “age and culturally appropriate” programs for homeless teens. Jim Northup, former Superintendent of Shenandoah National Park, spoke about the necessity of a sustained annual national budget that allows agencies and programs to plan their yearly spending effectively. The final speaker, Ashley Webb, Prevention Program Manager for the Illinois Association for Behavioral Health, explained how reliant state and local programs and organizations are on federal funding, especially in a state like Illinois where state funding is often unreliable. She echoed the voices of the other speakers when affirming that these programs should be able to spend “less time fundraising and more time working.”

This article was contributed by COSSA’s fall intern, Erin Buechele of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

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

National Academies Releases Interactive Guide on Opioid Epidemic

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has produced an interactive guide to research on the opioid epidemic that highlights the findings of its recent report, Confronting Pain Management and the Opioid Epidemic. The guide breaks down trends in prescription opioid use and misuse, overdose deaths from prescription and illicit opioids, heroin use, and heroin addiction and overdose deaths. It also outlines the report’s recommendations related to strategies for addressing the opioid epidemic, the illicit market, opioid approval and monitoring by the Food and Drug Administration, and research needs.

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

National Academies Calls for Nominations for Committee to Assess the Minerva Research Initiative

The Board of Behavioral, Cognitive, and Sensory Sciences (BBCSS) at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine announced a new project funded by the Department of Defense to assess its Minerva Research Initiative. The Minerva Initiative is a Department of Defense-sponsored university-based social science research program that supports basic research to better understand the social, cultural, behavioral, and political forces that shape the world, including international conflicts. BBCSS is seeking applications for committee members who will lead this assessment. More information can be found here, and applications for committee membership can be submitted here.

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

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)

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