NSF Releases Dear Colleague Letter on Social Science Perspectives on Graduate Education

On December 16, the National Science Foundation (NSF) released a Dear Colleague Letter, signed by the Assistant Directors for the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences Directorate (SBE) and the Education and Human Resources Directorate (EHR), to draw the attention of the social science community to funding opportunities in the two directorates related to research in graduate education. The letter (NSF 20-030) follows a workshop and report from the National Academies of Sciences on Graduate STEM Education for the 21st Century and a workshop on Graduate Training in the Social and Behavioral Sciences. Funding opportunities include research grants, traineeships, and capacity grants intended to identify innovative approaches to transform graduate education. More information can be found on the NSF website.

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Posted in Issue 1 (January 7), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

NIH Seeking Comments on Inclusion Across the Lifespan II Workshop

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) released a Request for Information (RFI) seeking stakeholder input on a planned workshop on Inclusion Across the Lifespan, a policy intended to encourage inclusion of underrepresented participants in clinical studies. The Inclusion Across the Lifespan II Workshop is a follow-up to a 2017 workshop mandated by Congress in the 21st Century Cures Act. Comments will remain open until February 15, 2020. More information can be found in the NIH guide notice.

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Posted in Issue 1 (January 7), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

ICPSR Launches Pilot Tool to Streamline Access to Restricted Federal Data

In December, ICPSR at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research released a new tool to simplify the application process for accessing restricted microdata from principal statistical agencies. ResearchDataGov gives researchers access to a single portal and a standard application to access restricted data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Census Bureau, National Center for Health Statistics, National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. More federal data sources are expected to be added as the pilot moves forward.

The project is supported by funding from the Census Bureau under the direction of the White House Office of Management and Budget. It was created thanks to a requirement in the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018, which required that the government simplify the application process for external researchers to access federal data (see COSSA’s previous coverage). More details can be found on the ICSPSR website.

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Posted in Issue 1 (January 7), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

NIH Updates Diversity Statement

On November 22, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) released a notice updating the agency’s official statement on diversity in research settings. In a blog post by Deputy Director for Extramural Research at NIH Dr. Mike Lauer, the main reason for the updated statement was to expand the criteria for qualifying as an individual from a low socio-economic background. In the post, Lauer claims “this revised definition should better capture many scientists with a disadvantaged background, and be relatively easy to assess, ensuring we continue enhancing the diversity of the biomedical research workforce.” The updated diversity statement and the previous diversity statement can both be found on the NIH website.

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Posted in Issue 24 (December 10), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

COSSA Washington Update, Volume 38 Issue 24

Featured News

COSSA in Action

Congressional News

Federal Agency & Administration News

Community News & Reports

COSSA Member Spotlight

Events Calendar

Editor’s Note: Update Will Resume in 2020

Posted in Issue 24 (December 10), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

Congress Rushes to Finish FY 2020 as Schedule Fills

The federal government is currently operating under a continuing resolution (CR), keeping the government open until December 20 at fiscal year (FY) 2019 funding levels. With less than two weeks left before the current stopgap spending bill expires, appropriators are hoping to finalize all twelve appropriations bills and pass them as soon as possible. In addition to the normal pressures of wrapping up annual appropriations before the holidays, Congressional leaders must also complete their year-end goals related to impeachment. The House has announced plans to vote on articles of impeachment before the end of the year and the Senate must clear its schedule as legislative activities will grind to a halt during an impeachment trial. Stay tuned to COSSA’s website and Member Messages for updates related to FY 2020 appropriations.

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Posted in Issue 24 (December 10), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

December’s Headlines to Feature Deep Dive on Threats to Research Security

headlines bannerCOSSA members are encouraged to sign up for the monthly COSSA Headlines webchat on Thursday December 12, in which COSSA staff will recap the most important social and behavioral science news from the past month and answer participants’ questions. The December chat will feature a deep dive discussion on understanding the threats to U.S. research security with Toby Smith, Vice President for Policy at the Association of American Universities. Individuals employed by or affiliated with a COSSA member organization or university can register for the webchat here.

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Posted in Update

Advocacy Day Registration to Open Later this Month

Early bird registration for COSSA’s 2020 Social Science Advocacy Day will begin in mid-December. COSSA members interested in taking advantage of our early bird pricing should sign up for COSSA’s members-only emails so they can be the first to know when registration is live. In the meantime, the hotel block for Advocacy Day is open for those ready to make their travel arrangements. Participants may reserve rooms in the block at $276 per night for the nights of March 29-31 at the Hilton Garden Inn Washington DC/U.S. Capitol (1225 First Street, NE), a nine-minute walk from our Advocacy Day training location and home base. Use this link when booking or book by phone using the group code C3 or Consortium of Social Science Associations.

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Posted in Issue 24 (December 10), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

Members of Congress Request Feedback on Cures 2.0 Legislation

On November 22, Congresswoman Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Congressman Fred Upton (R-MI) released a statement detailing a vision for an updated version of the 21st Century Cures Act and calling for stakeholder input. The proposed legislation, colloquially known as “Cures 2.0,” would provide funding for research into cures for several life-threatening diseases. The Members will accept stakeholder comments until December 16. Information on how to submit comments can be found in the Members’ statement.

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Posted in Issue 24 (December 10), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

House Science Committee Holds Hearing on Improving Science and Technology Advice for Congress

On December 5, the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology (SST) held a hearing to discuss options in improving the advice-giving infrastructure available to Members of Congress on science and technology issues. Members discussed recommendations from a recent National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) report on Science and Technology Policy Assessment as well as the possibility of reinstating the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment (OTA), which was dismantled in 1995. Witnesses present at the hearing included Director of Civil-Military Programs at the Stennis Center for Public Service Michael McCord, Director of the Technology and Public Purpose Project in the Harvard Kennedy School of Government Laura Manley, Chief Scientist and Managing Director of Science, Technology Assessment and Analytics in the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) Dr. Tim Persons, and Executive Director of the Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences at the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine Dr. Peter Blair.

Committee Members questioned the witnesses on the findings of the NAPA report, the merits of reinstating OTA, technology assessment activities occurring at GAO, and other issues. While Members of both parties expressed interest in strengthening the quality of knowledge and tools available to Congress, the two parties disagreed on the method. Committee Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) and other Democrats supported a multi-lateral approach including reinstating and refunding OTA while Ranking Member Frank Lucas (R-OK) and other Republicans favored a consolidation of technology assessment into GAO along with other recommendations listed in the NAPA report.

The House Legislative Branch Appropriations report for FY 2020 includes $6 million for the re-establishment of OTA. However, the Senate version does not include this funding which makes the reinstatement of OTA unlikely to become law. A recording of the hearing and a statement from Chairwoman Johnson can be found on the SST website and the full NAPA report can be found on the NAPA website.

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Posted in Issue 24 (December 10), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

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