On March 29, as part of the 2017 COSSA Science Policy Conference and Celebration of Social Science Capitol Hill Reception, COSSA presented the 2017 Distinguished Service Award to Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Gary Peters (D-MI). The COSSA Distinguished Service award recognizes leaders who have gone above and beyond to promote, protect, and advance the social and behavioral science research enterprise. Awardees are chosen by the COSSA Board of Directors, which represents COSSA’s governing member associations.
Senators Gardner and Peters were recognized for their bipartisan work on the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act (AICA), legislation that reauthorizes activities at the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), STEM education programs, and seeks to reduce the administrative burden associated with federal grants. Senators Gardner and Peters worked to ensure an inclusive and bipartisan process when writing the AICA, engaging the scientific research community along the way. The AICA was one of the last bills signed into law by President Obama in January.
As COSSA Executive Director Wendy Naus stated, “Just as important as what is in the bill is what is not in the bill. Unlike the proposals we have seen over in the House in recent years, the AICA does not pick winners and losers among the sciences. It does not call into question NSF’s merit review process and suggest that the agency is making poor funding decisions, namely in the social, behavioral and economic sciences. And while the legislation doesn’t include funding levels, I think it is safe to assume that its authors do not believe that it is a wise strategy to decimate federal funding for basic science at a time when our international competitors are doubling down on research investments as part of their overall economic strategies.” More on the award is available here.