COSSA Washington Update, Volume 34 Issue 14

Featured News

Congressional News

Federal Agency & Administration News

Publications & Community Events

Funding Opportunity Announcements

COSSA Member Spotlight

Events Calendar

Posted in Issue 14 (July 28), Update, Volume 34 (2015)

Why Social Science? Share Your Stories!

Why Social ScienceCOSSA has launched a new campaign that seeks to collect stories of social science success from social and behavioral scientists across all disciplines. Is your research pushing the frontiers of science or advancing your field? Has your research contributed to an important finding or breakthrough? Are there interesting applications or potential applications to your work? If so, we want to hear it!

You may submit your stories using COSSA’s Why Social Science? webpage. Stories will be shared through social media (#WhySocialScience) and other COSSA outreach efforts over the next several months.

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Posted in Issue 14 (July 28), Update, Volume 34 (2015)

Senate Committee Seeks Comments on COMPETES Revision

On July 8, the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee issued a press release requesting public input to help guide the Committee’s development of America COMPETES Act reauthorization legislation. A follow-up release was issued last week providing additional details on the Committee’s plans. COMPETES is legislation originally enacted in 2007 that sought to ensure U.S. leadership in science and technology by making targeted investments at U.S. basic science agencies, including the National Science Foundation (NSF).

As COSSA has been reporting, the House introduced and ultimately passed its version of COMPETES legislation earlier this year with steep proposed cuts to social science research, despite ardent objection from the broad scientific community. The Senate has chosen a different approach for developing its NSF legislation this year, which according to the press release and discussions with Senate staff will include significant stakeholder involvement. Interested organizations are invited to submit written comment by August 21 addressing specific questions posed by the Committee.

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Posted in Issue 14 (July 28), Update, Volume 34 (2015)

FY 2016 Process Stalled as Congress Heads for Summer Break

Despite promises from Republican leaders in the House and Senate to pass fiscal year (FY) 2016 appropriations legislation through “regular order” this year, the FY 2016 process has stalled amid issues ranging from a policy rider pertaining to flying of the Confederate flag on federal grounds that killed the bills in the House and calls for the need to broker a larger budget deal. The House and Senate made some progress before the process sputtered out in recent weeks, with both chambers advancing all 12 of their bills through committee and the House managing to pass six of them; however, there were no FY 2016 bills brought to the Senate floor because of a united Democratic strategy to block the bills until a larger budget deal can be struck.

On the agenda upon Congress’s return in September will be to pass a continuing resolution (CR) to keep federal agencies operating beyond the start of the new fiscal year on October 1 and to avert a government shutdown. Rumors indicate that an initial CR could run until December. Also upon their return after Labor Day, Congress is expected to begin in earnest negotiations with the White House on a broader budget deal that will seek to provide some relief from sequestration, or the tight budget caps that are tamping down discretionary spending for defense and non-defense accounts, including research. Until these caps are addressed, and hopefully raised or eliminated, the FY 2016 appropriations bills remain in limbo with Senate Democrats expected to continue blocking the bills and President Obama noting his intent to veto any bill that keeps within the caps. All this makes for an expectedly busy fall for Congress.

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Posted in Issue 14 (July 28), Update, Volume 34 (2015)

AAAS Collecting Stories to Highlight the Importance of Scientific Conferences

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has launched a campaign to illustrate for policymakers the positive impacts scientific and technical conferences have on research. Over the past several years, federal regulations and policies have made it increasingly difficult for scientists and researchers employed by the federal government to attend conferences. AAAS is asking for stories that “highlighting the importance of conference participation to a healthy scientific and technical community,” particularly stories that involve collaboration with scientists from federal agencies, national labs, or research institutes. Stories may be submitted on the AAAS website.

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Posted in Issue 14 (July 28), Update, Volume 34 (2015)

Funding Opportunity Announcements

  • NICHD: Innovative Development/Use of Technology to Increase HIV Testing and Linkage to Care Efforts in Adolescent Populations (R41/R42, R43/R44) (RFA-HD-16-029) (RFA-HD-16-030)
  • NHLBI: Sickle Cell Disease Implementation Consortium (SCDIC): Using Implementation Science to Optimize Care of Adolescents and Adults with Sickle Cell Disease (U01, U24) (RFA-HL-16-010) (RFA-HL-16-011)
  • NIAAA: Alcohol Use Disorders: Behavioral Treatment, Services and Recovery Research (R01, R03)
    (PA-15-299) (PA-15-300)

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Posted in Issue 14 (July 28), Update, Volume 34 (2015)

COSSA Welcomes Virginia Tech

COSSA is thrilled to welcome Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) as its newest university member. Located in Blacksburg, VA, Virginia Tech receives more than $7 million annually in federal social and behavioral science research awards and is home to the Institute for Society, Culture and Environment.

COSSA’s full membership list can be viewed here. Interested in joining COSSA? More information here.

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Posted in Issue 14 (July 28), Update, Volume 34 (2015)

Events Calendar

A list of COSSA members’ annual meetings and other events can be found on the COSSA website. COSSA members who have an upcoming event they would like to see listed in the Events Calendar and on our website should send an email to [email protected].

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Posted in Issue 14 (July 28), Update, Volume 34 (2015)

NIH Seeks Input on Congressionally-Mandated Agency-Wide Strategic Plan

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently issued a time-sensitive Request for Information (RFI) (NOT-OD-15-118) inviting comments and suggestions on the framework for its congressionally-mandated NIH-wide Strategic Plan. NIH is requesting feedback by August 16, 2015. The agency also plans to host webinars in early to mid-August to gather additional input.

NIH Deputy Director Larry Tabak presented the agency’s first iteration of its draft plan at the June 11 meeting of the NIH Advisory Committee to the Director (ACD) (see Update, July 14, 2015). At the July 20 meeting of the ACD, Tabak presented a revised draft framework incorporating the feedback it received from Committee members, including recommendations to keep the plan short, approximately 10 pages; make it inspirational and forward looking; integrate cross-cutting themes, and accentuate needed flexibility and nimbleness. The revised framework includes areas of opportunity that apply across biomedicine. Tabak explained that each area of opportunity will include a “succinct description of emergent opportunities” and will highlight specific examples of recent breakthroughs.strategic-plan-2015 Read more ›

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Posted in Issue 14 (July 28), Update, Volume 34 (2015)

Senate Agriculture Appropriations Bill Advances through Committee

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved its version of the FY 2016 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill (S. 1800) on July 16, after the bill’s approval by the Agriculture Subcommittee earlier in the week. Among the agencies funded in the bill are the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) principal statistical agencies, the Economic Research Service (ERS) and National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), which houses the Department’s main competitive grants program, the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI). The House Appropriations Committee passed its version of the bill on July 8 (more on the House bill is available here).

In general, the Senate bill would provide more funding to agencies of interest to the social and behavioral science community than the House bill. However, the Committee’s adherence to current spending caps means that the proposed funding levels still fall below the Administration’s request. The bill would maintain ERS’ FY 2015 funding level of $85.4 million, $7.3 million above the cut proposed by the House. NASS would be cut by $4.3 million compared to FY 2015, but the Senate mark is still $6.9 million more than the House bill. In the committee report, both agencies are encouraged to continue to collect and analyze data on organic agriculture.

Under the Senate bill, NIFA would receive a small increase over FY 2015, but the total falls well short of the Administration’s proposed funding level of $1.5 billion. AFRI would actually receive $10 million less under the Senate’s bill compared to the House version—the same amount as in FY 2015.

Neither bill is likely to reach the floor of either chamber anytime soon as the larger debate over sequestration and spending caps has stalled the FY 2016 process and likely will not be resolved until later in the fall at the earliest.

senate ag fy16

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Posted in Issue 14 (July 28), Update, Volume 34 (2015)