Committees Begin to Announce Leadership, Membership as FY 2019 Funding Remains Uncertain

While some parts of the federal government, including the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Department of the Interior, and the Census Bureau, remain closed as part of the partial government shutdown, Congress is at work organizing committees, selecting leaders, and preparing for the work of the 116th Congress. Many Congressional leadership positions important to the social and behavioral sciences have been announced over the past few weeks.

The House and Senate Appropriations Committees have both announced their subcommittee leadership, and while leadership on Senate subcommittees important to the social and behavioral sciences will remain unchanged from the last Congress, new House leadership has come along with the new House majority. Representative José Serrano (D-NY) will chair the subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies and Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) will lead the subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies. Their Republican counterparts will be Representatives Robert Aderholt (R-AL) and Tom Cole (R-OK), respectively.

Many changes have come to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, which is responsible for policy related to the National Science Foundation (NSF), among numerous other programs. Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) will serve as the new Chair of the Committee for the 116th Congress and Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) will serve as the Ranking Member. The Senate Commerce Committee also announced a new subcommittee structure, with science policy now paired with fisheries, weather, and oceans; the newly-structured subcommittee will be chaired by Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO). Senator Gardner was one of the recipients of the 2017 COSSA Distinguished Service Award. As previously reported, the House Science Committee has also announced full committee leadership. Stay tuned to the COSSA Washington Update for more committee and leadership announcements in the coming weeks.

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Posted in Issue 2 (January 22), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

Chairwoman Johnson Introduces Gun Violence Research Act

On January 11, Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Chair of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, introduced the National Gun Violence Research Act. If enacted, the law would create a national gun violence research program overseen by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and carried out by the National Science Foundation, National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Justice. In a statement released after the bill was introduced, Rep. Johnson said that more research is needed on the impact of policies on gun violence and that investment in gun violence is needed to curb gun violence. More information can be found on the Science Committee website.

The National Collaborative on Gun Violence Research, a private research effort, recently announced a request for proposals on the causes and consequences of gun violence. More information can be found in COSSA’s previous coverage.

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Posted in Issue 2 (January 22), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

NSF Releases Information for Proposers and Grantees During Government Shutdown

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is one of many government agencies currently closed due to the partial government shutdown, which has now stretched into its fourth week. NSF has issued guidance for proposers and grantees on how proposal submissions and existing grants are affected by the government shutdown. While the government shutdown continues, no new funding opportunities will be issued. However, proposal preparation and submission for existing opportunities will be available through FastLane and Research.gov, and proposal submissions will continue to be accepted and expected to follow existing deadlines. More information is available on the NSF website, though it is noted that NSF will not be available to respond to emails or phone calls during the lapse in appropriations.

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Posted in Issue 2 (January 22), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

NIH Requests Input on Updated Definition of “Behavioral and Social Sciences Research”

On January 14, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) issued a request for information (RFI): Request for Information (RFI): Input on Revised Definition of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research at NIH (NOT-OD-19-032). NIH’s Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) is in the process of updating the definition of “behavioral and social sciences research” (BSSSR) that it uses to assess and monitor NIH BSSR funding. The current definition was originally developed in 1996 but has been updated periodically since then. Like the current definition, the proposed definition is somewhat lengthy (the full definition is included in the RFI). It begins:

“The behavioral and social sciences at the NIH include a multi-disciplinary set of research disciplines that have in common the study of behavior and social processes relevant to health.

“BSSR at the NIH involves the systematic study of behavioral and social phenomena, as well as their causes and consequences:

    • ‘Behavioral’ refers to overt or observable actions and to mental phenomena such as knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, cognitions, and emotions that are inferred from behavior.
    • ‘Social’ refer to the interactions between and among individuals, and to the activities of social groups, institutions, and environments, including family, community, school, workplace, economic, cultural, and policy environments.”

NIH is interested in comments that discuss whether the new definition is clear, whether it captures the full range of the NIH’s health-related behavioral and social sciences research, and how well it distinguishes BSSR from other disciplines of research. Comments will be collected through OBSSR’s crowdsourcing IdeaScale website and must be submitted by February 22, 2019.

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Posted in Issue 2 (January 22), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

OHRP Releases Draft Guidance for Transitioning Studies to Revised Common Rule; Comments Requested

The Office of Human Research Protections (OHRP) within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has released draft guidance for transitioning studies to the revised Common Rule. The Common Rule is the set of regulations governing research involving human participants. After a lengthy revision process (see COSSA’s previous coverage), changes to the Common Rule updating a number of its provisions took effect on January 21, 2019. The draft guidance released by OHRP gives details on how an institution may voluntarily transition a study initiated before the implementation date to the new regulations. The complete draft guidance can be accessed on the OHRP website. Comments on the guidance are requested by February 11, 2019 and may be submitted via regulations.gov.

In light of the new requirements taking effect, OHRP has also released more details on how institutional review boards (IRBs) should approach continuing review for studies eligible for expedited review under the new Common Rule on its website.

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Posted in Issue 2 (January 22), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

COSSA Washington Update, Volume 38 Issue 1

Featured News

COSSA in Action

Congressional News

Federal Agency & Administration News

Community News & Reports

COSSA Member Spotlight

Events Calendar

Posted in Issue 1 (January 8), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

Government Shutdown Continues into Third Week, Leaving Uncertainty for FY 2019

The partial government shutdown has stretched into its third week, leaving many government agencies, including the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Department of the Interior, and the Census Bureau, shuttered. Unlike government shutdowns of the recent past, this shutdown is not related to disputed funding levels, but rather policy disagreements and political maneuvering. This means that we already have an idea of what the final funding numbers will be once the policy impasse has cleared, as Congress has already negotiated most of its appropriations bills. Once funding is finalized, COSSA will release an analysis reviewing the fiscal year (FY) 2019 outcomes for programs and agencies important to the social and behavioral sciences.

On January 3, the new Democratic leadership in the House proposed, and easily passed, an omnibus spending bill for the unfunded agencies that also allowed another month of debate on border security funding. It seems unlikely that the Senate will vote on the proposal and even more unlikely to receive a signature from the President. Read more about the appropriations bills important to social and behavioral science and the already finalized FY 2019 appropriations on the COSSA website.

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Posted in Issue 1 (January 8), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

Early Bird Registration Opens for Social Science Advocacy Day

Early bird registration is now underway for COSSA’s 2019 Social Science Advocacy Day. COSSA’s annual spring event will be dedicated entirely to Social Science Advocacy Day in 2019. This year’s Social Science Advocacy Day will include a kickoff session featuring a special guest speaker (to be announced in the coming weeks), a half-day of intensive context setting and advocacy preparation, COSSA’s annual Celebration of Social Science Rooftop Reception, and a full day of meetings on Capitol Hill.

Take advantage of our Early Bird discount and register by February 1 for only $75! Graduate and undergraduate students are eligible to register for a reduced rate of $25.  Advocacy Day is open exclusively to individuals employed by or affiliated with COSSA member organizations. Individuals from non-member organizations can learn more about how their organization can join COSSA here.

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Posted in Issue 1 (January 8), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

Register for January’s Headlines Webchat Featuring a Deep Dive on Advocacy Resources

headlines bannerCOSSA members are encouraged to sign up for the monthly Headlines webchat on January 10 at 2:00 pm Eastern, in which COSSA staff will recap the most important social and behavioral science news from the past month and answer participants’ questions. The January chat will feature a deep dive discussion on COSSA’s legislative agenda for 2019 and resources for advocates. Individuals employed by or affiliated with a COSSA member organization or university can register for the webchat here.

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Posted in Issue 1 (January 8), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

Evidence-Based Policymaking Bill Awaiting President’s Signature

After languishing in the Senate for over a year, the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act (H.R. 4174) was passed by both chambers in the last days of 2018 and is currently awaiting the President’s signature. The President has until January 14 to sign the bill into law. The legislation, which is intended to be a “down-payment” enacting some of the less complicated (and less controversial) recommendations of the report from the Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking (see COSSA’s coverage and statement), contains some minor changes from the version passed by the House in November 2017 but generally conforms to the recommendations of the Commission. It contains four titles: (I) enhancing federal evidence-building activities; (II) enacting the OPEN Government Data Act introduced by Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA) and Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI); (III) reauthorizing and enhancing the Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act (CIPSEA); and (IV) general provisions to ensure that the directions in the bill comport with existing laws and requirements. The Bipartisan Policy Center has published a summary of the Act and a crosswalk between its provisions and the recommendations of the Commission.

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Posted in Issue 1 (January 8), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

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