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National Academies Launches Committee on Science and Innovation Leadership for the 21st Century

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Board on Science, Technology, and Economic Policy and Committee on Science, Technology, and Law have established an ad hoc committee on “Science and Innovation Leadership for the 21st Century: Challenges and Strategic Implications for the United States.” The committee will produce a consensus report with recommendations on how to “1) draw attention to the most overlooked challenges, based on current research on U.S. competitiveness and trade, technology, and innovation policies; 2) develop a future agenda for needed research in areas that have not been fully explored; 3) identify current government infrastructure that hinders the United States’ ability to address these challenges; and 4) produce recommendations for the federal government to effectively meet these challenges.” The Committee’s first workshop took place on October 24, with a second workshop scheduled for December 6. More information is available on the National Academies website.

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Posted in Issue 23 (November 26), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

Sudip Parikh Named Next AAAS CEO

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has named Sudip Parikh its next CEO effective January 6, 2020. Parikh is currently Senior Vice President at DIA Global, a non-profit organization and publisher that mobilizes life science professionals from across all areas of expertise to engage with patients, peers, and thought leaders. He also worked at the research and development organization Battelle and served as a science advisor and professional staff for the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee. Parikh will succeed Rush Holt, who left the organization in September. AAAS CEO Emeritus Alan Leshner has been Acting CEO in the interim.

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Posted in Issue 22 (November 12), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

National Academies Releases Review of Minerva Initiative

The National Academies of Sciences’ Board on Behavioral, Cognitive, and Sensory Sciences released Assessing the Minerva Research Initiative and the Contribution of Social Science to Addressing Security Concerns, a consensus study report assessing the impact, procedures, and direction of the Minerva Research Initiative. The Minerva Research Initiative is a grant program of the Department of Defense (DOD) that funds unclassified, university-based, basic research in the social sciences relevant to national security. The report discusses the program’s challenges and successes and offers recommendations to strengthen the program’s structure and help broaden its reach and usefulness.

The report includes recommendations for both the Minerva Research Initiative and the Department of Defense. It encourages DOD to ensure the Initiative has a leader with stature in a full-time, civil service position, to evaluate whether additional staff are needed, and to reduce the administrative burden on Minerva-funded grantees by streamlining the IRB process. The recommendations for the Initiative include refining its approach to topic selection, creating a strategic outreach plan, creating a centralized and public-facing database of projects, and broadening its engagement with the research community, including reaching out to early career researchers. Additionally, the study recommends the Initiative work to develop relationships with potential supporters of the program, including leadership at DOD, and to create a more robust monitoring and evaluation for grants. The complete report can be downloaded from the National Academies’ website.

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Posted in Issue 21 (October 29), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

Nominations Solicited for 2020 Golden Goose Awards

Nominations are now open for the 2020 Golden Goose Awards. The Golden Goose Awards honor federally funded research that may sound odd, obscure, or serendipitous, but ends up having a major impact on society.  Many social and behavioral scientists have been award recipients and honored at the annual ceremony and reception in Washington, DC. Nominators of selected awardees will also receive travel support to attend the September 2020 Awards luncheon and award ceremony.

Nominations are accepted on a rolling basis throughout the year, but for the best chance for consideration, nominations are encouraged to be submitted by December 20, 2019. More information and the nomination form can be found on the Golden Goose website.

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Posted in Issue 21 (October 29), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

Jennifer Eberhardt Delivers 2019 Henry and Bryna David Lecture

On October 10, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) hosted the 2019 Henry and Bryna David Lecture featuring Dr. Jennifer Eberhardt. A social psychologist from Stanford University, Dr. Eberhardt’s lecture elaborated on her work investigating the consequences of the psychological association between race and crime. The Henry and Bryna David Lecture honors a leading innovator in the behavioral and social sciences. The awardee delivers a lecture and publishes an article in Issues in Science and Technology magazine based on the lecture. A video recording of the lecture and more information about the Henry and Bryna David Lecture can be found on the National Academies website.

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Posted in Issue 20 (October 15), 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 Release Report on Strengthening Support Systems for Military Families

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education (DBASSE) released a consensus study report on the social challenges affecting the families of military service members and potential solutions. The report covers a wide array of issues including the well-being of military families, demographic characteristics of military families, opportunities and challenges of military life, stressors affecting military children, high-stress events, and the efficacy of existing military family support systems. The report also illustrates several recommendations for the Department of Defense (DOD) to address these issues including standardizing definitions of “family well-being,” improving understanding of diversity in the military, using data to track child risk and adversity, recognizing non-traditional family structures, providing guidance to military leaders on interacting with surrounding communities, promoting civilian understanding of military family situations, strengthening of the Military Family Readiness System (MFRS), monitoring existing support programs’ effectiveness, improving use of big data to analyze programs, and updating instruction and training to reflect the findings of the report.

The National Academies will be holding a public event on September 12 to discuss the recommendations in the report and potential actions that DOD and practitioners may take to address these recommendations. More information about the event can be found on the National Academies website.

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Posted in Issue 17 (September 3), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

National Academies Releases Report on The Promise of Adolescence

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) recently published a consensus study report on  The Promise of Adolescence: Realizing Opportunity for All Youth, which details the neurobiological as well as the social and economic factors that affect adolescent mental and physical well-being and development. The report defines adolescence as beginning with the onset of puberty and ending in the mid-20s, and it claims that key areas of the brain mature and develop during this time. This process is impacted both by the biological components of development as well as the environmental factors and stressors surrounding it, which supports an epigenetic view on adolescence. After determining the biological and genetic components, this report delves into several policy recommendations regarding programs and policies affecting adolescents to bolster their mental and physical health as well as complement their natural brain development.

The policy recommendations surround four critical areas: education, the health system, the child welfare system, and the justice system. Within education, the report details the need to rectify disparities in resources, teach practical knowledge and emotional adaptability, and foster culturally sensitive learning environments, among others. Recommendations for the health system focus not just on providing adequate access to healthcare, but also on fostering independence among adolescents, improving training of providers, and supporting more data collection and research on adolescent-specific health services. The racial disparities and disconnect of systems related to child welfare and justice systems are also emphasized in this report, with calls for enacting policies that best support growth rather than establishing punitive and antagonistic measures.

This report hopes to highlight the collective responsibility that the U.S. has to build systems that support and promote resiliency and positive adolescent development so that young people can grow successfully.

More information about the report can be found on the NASEM website.

This article was contributed by COSSA’s summer intern, Joanna Hua of Cornell University.

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Posted in Issue 16 (August 6), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

AAAS’ Rush Holt Retires, Alan Leshner Named Acting CEO as Search for Successor Continues

On July 15, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) announced that AAAS CEO Rush Holt will be on leave prior to his designated retirement date of September 1, 2019. Former AAAS CEO Alan Leshner has been named Acting CEO as the search for Holt’s permanent successor continues. Holt had announced in February of his intention to retire sometime later in 2019, sparking an international search for a new AAAS chief (read COSSA’s previous coverage).

Leshner served as AAAS CEO for 13 years prior to Holt’s tenure. He has served in a wide variety of leadership roles in federal science agencies including as director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), deputy and acting director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), and numerous senior roles at the National Science Foundation (NSF). Leshner was the kickoff speaker at COSSA’s 2019 Social Science Advocacy Day training seminar earlier this spring.  More information may be found on the AAAS website.

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Posted in Issue 15 (July 23), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

AAAS Accepting Nominations for 2020 Awards & Prizes

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has opened the nominations process for several of its annual awards and prizes that recognize significant contributions to science and the public’s understanding of science. The awards and prizes currently accepting nominations include: AAAS Award for Science Diplomacy, AAAS Award for Scientific Freedom and Responsibility, AAAS Early Career Award for Public Engagement with Science, AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Awards, AAAS Mani L. Bhaumik Award for Public Engagement with Science, AAAS Mentor Awards, AAAS Newcomb Cleveland Prize, AAAS Philip Hauge Abelson Prize, AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books, John P. McGovern Award Lecture in the Behavioral Sciences, and Science Magazine Awards. More details about each of these awards can be found on the AAAS website. Details about the Science Magazine Awards can be found on the Science Magazine website.

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Posted in Issue 11 (May 28), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

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