Senate Makes Progress on FY 2020 Appropriations for NSF, Census, NIH, Education, USDA

With the passage of a continuing resolution through Thanksgiving giving Congress some breathing room to complete fiscal year (FY) 2020 appropriations, the Senate Appropriations Committee has finally made progress in approving a number of its annual appropriations bills. COSSA has released analyses of three Senate bills that fund agencies important to the social and behavioral sciences:

Full coverage of FY 2020 appropriations, including analyses of the corresponding House proposals, is available on the COSSA website.

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Posted in Issue 19 (October 1), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

House Science Committee Holds Hearing on Responding to Extreme Weather Events, Highlights Social & Behavioral Science Solutions

On September 26, the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology (SST) held a hearing on understanding, forecasting, and communicating about extreme weather and other events related to climate change. Witnesses included J. Marshall Shepard, Director of the Atmospheric Sciences Program in the Department of Geography at the University of Georgia; James Done, Project Scientist and Willis Research Fellow at the National Center for Atmospheric Research; Adam Sobel, Professor of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and Director and Chief Scientist of the Initiative on Extreme Weather and Climate at Columbia University; Berrien Moore, Director of the National Weather Center at the University of Oklahoma; and Ann Bostrom, Weyerhaeuser Endowed Professor in Environmental Policy at the University of Washington.

Members of both parties expressed their concern with changing patterns of extreme weather and questioned witnesses on prevailing weather research and opportunities to improve responsiveness to severe weather events. Much discussion revolved around the role of social and behavioral science research, with Members Randy Weber (R-TX) and Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) questioning Dr. Bostrom on how to incorporate social and behavioral science research in extreme weather responses and if there were any current gaps or barriers in that research. Other topics discussed during the hearing were the Mesonet environmental monitoring network in Oklahoma, weather infrastructure needs of the Southeastern United States, and potential improvements in government responses to extreme weather events. An opening statement from Committee Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) and a recording of the hearing can be found on the SST Committee website.

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Posted in Issue 19 (October 1), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

NICHD Releases 2020 Strategic Plan

The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) released their 2020 strategic plan, a guiding document laying out the institute’s research priorities for the next five years. Earlier this year, COSSA submitted comments on behalf of the social and behavioral science community addressing a draft version of the strategic plan.

The NICHD strategic plan lays out five main research objectives:

  • Understanding the molecular, cellular, and structural basis of development;
  • Promoting gynecologic, andrologic, and reproductive health;
  • Setting the foundation for healthy pregnancies and lifelong wellness;
  • Improving child and adolescent health and the transition to adulthood;
  • Advancing safe and effective therapeutics and devices for pregnant and lactating women, children, and people with disabilities.

The full strategic plan and more information can be found on the NICHD website.

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Posted in Issue 19 (October 1), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

NIH Evaluates Strategy on Countering Foreign Influence in Research

On September 25, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released three reports addressing efforts to combat the prevalence of foreign influence in research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The OIG reports evaluate three tactics used in NIH’s strategy in securing research from foreign influence in institutional reporting of foreign financial interests and affiliations, reviewing financial conflicts of interest in extramural research, and securing the peer review process from foreign influence. The OIG reports each provide several recommendations to the NIH on how to improve these initiatives.

The strategy comes as a follow up to NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins’ August 2018 letter to over 10,000 institutions expressing concern over foreign influence in research settings. You can find previous  coverage on a Congressional hearing concerning foreign influence at NIH on the COSSA website.

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Posted in Issue 19 (October 1), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

AAAS Accepting Applications for 2020-21 Science & Technology Policy Fellowships

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has announced it is seeking applicants for their Science & Technology Policy Fellowships (STPF) for the 2020-21 fellowship cycle. Eligible candidates should hold a doctoral level science degree or a master’s in engineering, be a U.S. citizen, have solid STEM credentials, have good communication skills, and desire to enhance federal science policy. Applications will be accepted until November 1. More information about the fellowship can be found on the AAAS website.

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Posted in Issue 19 (October 1), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

National Academies Hosts Official Launch of Decadal Survey for the Social and Behavioral Science for Advancing Intelligence Analysis

The National Academies of Sciences’ Board on Behavioral, Cognitive, and Sensory Sciences (BBCSS) held a report launch event for the Decadal Survey of the Social and Behavioral Science: A Research Agenda for Advancing Intelligence Analysis on September 30. This event brought together members of the survey committee, representatives from the federal government, and research organizations to discuss findings, recommendations, and next steps for collaboration between research communities and the intelligence community. The report was published in March 2019 and was featured on COSSA Headlines in May. The September report launch event will be archived on the BBCSS website.

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Posted in Issue 19 (October 1), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

COSSA Washington Update, Volume 38 Issue 18

Featured News

COSSA in Action

Congressional News

Federal Agency & Administration News

Community News & Reports

COSSA Member Spotlight

Events Calendar

Posted in Issue 18 (September 17), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

OSTP Outlines Research Security Priorities

In a September 16 letter to the research community, Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) Director Kelvin Droegemeier described several of the office’s priorities and planned activities for protecting the security of the U.S. research enterprise. The letter expresses concern over recent efforts by some foreign powers to “exploit, influence, and undermine our research activities and environments,” and concludes that “United States policies and practices must evolve thoughtfully and appropriately” to guard against such attacks. In particular, the letter notes that talent-recruitment programs sponsored by foreign governments have been at the center of several attempts to exploit U.S. research.

OSTP is seeking to discourage and prevent breaches of research ethics, including: “failure to disclose required information such as foreign funding, unapproved parallel foreign laboratories (so-called shadow labs), affiliations and appointments, and conflicting financial interests,” as well as “conducting undisclosed research for foreign governments or companies on United States agency time or with United States agency funding, diversion of intellectual property or other legal rights, and breaches of contract and confidentiality in or surreptitious gaming of the peer-review process.”

The Joint Committee on the Research Environment (JCORE), a committee of the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) established in May 2019, plans to take up these issues. In addition to the Research Security subcommittee, which will focus on foreign-power interference in U.S. research, JCORE also contains subcommittees on Safe and Inclusive Research Environments, Research Rigor and Integrity, and Coordinating Administrative Requirements for Research.

JCORE’s Research Security work will focus on four areas: (1) Coordinating outreach and engagement with federal agencies and other stakeholders to increase awareness of foreign interference in research; (2) Establishing and coordinating disclosure requirements for participation in federally-funded research enterprise (such as the requirements recently circulated by NSF and NIH); (3) Developing best practices for academic research institutions; and (4) Developing methods for identification, assessment, and management of risk in the research enterprise.

OSTP plans to hold meetings at academic institutions over the coming months to further discuss this issue with stakeholders. COSSA will provide more details as they become available.

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Posted in Issue 18 (September 17), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

Senate Appropriations Efforts Slow to Start as End of Fiscal Year Looms

Both chambers of Congress returned to Washington following the annual August recess and, as COSSA has reported, they only have a few weeks to make progress on fiscal year (FY) 2020 appropriations bills before FY 2019 ends on September 30. At the time of this writing, the full House of Representatives has passed 10 of the 12 appropriations bills and the Senate has passed two bills out of the full Appropriations Committee.

While the Senate has jumped into appropriations upon returning from recess, with two bills approved in committee and consideration of 3 bills scheduled, there remains only about a handful of legislative days in the fiscal year. The Senate Appropriations Committee had scheduled a mark-up for the Labor, Health, and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies bill, which includes funding for the National Institutes of Health and Department of Education, among other programs, but after a disagreement on whether controversial amendments should be considered, the mark-up was postponed indefinitely. No further details have been released on when the bill will be considered.

Congress could face yet another government shutdown unless bills or a continuing resolution (CR) are passed by both chambers and signed by the President before the end of the month. Leadership in both chambers have publicly supported passing a CR to prevent a government shutdown, and the House is expected to vote this week on a measure to keep the government open until Thanksgiving. Senate leadership has not indicted when it plans to vote on stop-gap funding.

COSSA has been reporting on the status of the FY 2020 House appropriations bills over the last several months. Check out our consolidated analysis of the FY 2020 bills for details.

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Posted in Issue 18 (September 17), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

House Science Committee to Host Hearing on Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Work

The Research and Technology Subcommittee of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology will host a hearing on Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Work on September 24. The hearing will feature Dr. Arthur Lupia, Assistant Director for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences at the National Science Foundation; Dr. Erik Brynjolfsson, Professor of Management Science and Director at the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy; Ms. Rebekah Kowalski, Vice President of Manufacturing Services at the ManpowerGroup; and Dr. Sue Ellspermann, President of Ivy Tech Community College. Dr. Lupia is expected to discuss the NSF Ten Big Ideas, including Future of Work at the Human-Technology Frontier. The hearing can be watched live online at 2:00pm on September 24, and will be recorded on the Science Committee website.

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Posted in Issue 18 (September 17), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

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