Blog Archives

COSSA Urges Action on Non-Defense Discretionary Spending

Before Congress can fully dive in to the FY 2020 appropriations process (see related article), it must address a larger threat facing funding for next year. As COSSA has reported, the Budget Control Act of 2011 put in place caps on discretionary spending for every year between 2013 and 2021, which limit how much Congress can spend every year with an aim of reducing the federal deficit. Thankfully, Congress took action since 2013 to amend the law and raise the caps, which has allowed funding for federal research agencies to increase above the painful caps. Unfortunately, the relief enacted by Congress expires in FY 2020, meaning if Congress does not act this year to provide relief (to “raise the caps”), these draconian spending limits will be back in force and translate to devastating cuts to programs important to our community.

In response, COSSA has issued an action alert urging members to write to their Members of Congress to tell them to prioritize a budget deal that gives fair treatment to vital non-defense discretionary (NDD) programs—including science and research agencies—which have disproportionately borne the brunt of federal spending cuts over the past several years.

The action alert can be found on COSSA’s website.

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Posted in Issue 6 (March 19), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

COSSA Asks OMB to Remove Census Citizenship Question

In response to a Federal Register request, COSSA submitted a comment to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) requesting that, should a Census citizenship question be reinstated by the Supreme Court, as has been proposed by the Trump Administration, OMB remove it from the 2020 Census on the grounds that it violates the Paperwork Reduction Act. COSSA argues that including the question “is of minimal practical utility or public benefit, will increase the burden on respondents, and will harm the integrity and accuracy of information collected for statistical purposes.” The full comment is available on the COSSA website.

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Posted in Issue 6 (March 19), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

March’s Headlines Webchat to Feature Deep Dive on FY 2020 Budget Request

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COSSA members are encouraged to sign up for the monthly Headlines webchat on March 14 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 March chat will feature a deep dive discussion with COSSA staff on the Trump Administration’s budget request for fiscal year (FY) 2020. 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 5 (March 5), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

Anthropologist Lee Hoffer Answers “Why Social Science?”

why-social-scienceThe latest Why Social Science? guest post comes from Lee Hoffer, Associate Professor of Medical Anthropology at Case Western Reserve University, who writes about how participatory research involving people suffering from substance use disorders can give us new perspectives on addiction. Read it here and subscribe.

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Posted in Issue 5 (March 5), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

Compromise on FY 2019 Funding Reached, Averting Second Shutdown; Read COSSA’s Analysis of the Omnibus

After the longest partial-government shutdown in U.S. history, Congress came to a compromise on February 14 on funding the entire federal government for the remainder of fiscal year (FY) 2019, which began on October 1, 2018. The omnibus spending package contains 7 individual appropriations bills, including the Agriculture; Commerce, Justice, Science; Interior and Environment; Homeland Security; Financial Services and General Government; State and Foreign Operations; and Transportation and Housing and Urban Development appropriations bills. On February 15, President Trump signed the bill into law, closing a painful chapter and officially kicking off work on FY 2020 funding.

The final package includes necessary increases for many programs important to the social and behavioral sciences including the National Science Foundation and the Census Bureau.

The Trump Administration will soon release its budget request for FY 2020. While the budget will have very little bearing on the funding debates in Congress, it will provide valuable insight into the science policy and funding priorities of the Administration. At the end of the day, the Congress holds the power of the purse and decides the level of taxpayer support for research.

Read on for COSSA’s analysis of final FY 2019 funding for the National Science Foundation, Census Bureau, Economic Research Service, National Agricultural Statistics Service, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Bureau of Justice Statistics, and National Institute of Justice.

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Posted in Issue 4 (February 19), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

COSSA Submits Comments on Draft NICHD Strategic Plan

On January 2, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) released a request for information (RFI) to accompany the institute’s strategic plan for the next five years, allowing the community to comment on the scientific themes, goals, and opportunities under consideration in the new plan. On February 15, COSSA submitted an official response to the RFI on behalf of the social and behavioral science community. COSSA’s comments included the following recommendations:

  • The Strategic Plan should focus on the “whole person,” to include research on development at the molecular, cellular, social, environmental, behavioral, biobehavioral, and other levels.
  • The Strategic Plan should not overlook the importance of research at all stages of child development, from prenatal/infancy through adolescence, and in normative and non-normative or at-risk environments.
  • The Strategic Plan should strongly emphasize research on social determinants of health.

More information about the NICHD strategic plan can be found on the institute’s website; COSSA’s comments can be found here.

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Posted in Issue 4 (February 19), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

COSSA Endorses Census Idea Act

On February 8, COSSA endorsed the Census Improving Data and Enhanced Accuracy (IDEA) Act (S. 358) as introduced by Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI). The bill would prohibit the Department of Commerce from making any major change to the operational design of the decennial census that has not been “researched, studied, and tested” for at least three years. The Census Bureau routinely spends the years leading up to a decennial census carefully researching all proposed changes to its design and wording to ensure that they do not affect the quality of the responses received. This bill would formalize that longstanding practice and ensure that Census Bureau experts have the opportunity to fully evaluate the potential impacts of any major changes. The bill was crafted in response to the Trump Administration’s plan to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census. COSSA released a statement in 2018 criticizing the inclusion of an untested citizenship question on the 2020 Census, outlining the potential impacts on the quality of Census data.

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Posted in Issue 4 (February 19), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

COSSA Releases 2019 Rankings of College and University Social Science Investment

COSSA recently released its 2019 College and University Rankings for Federal Social and Behavioral R&D, which highlight the top university recipients of federal research dollars in the social and behavioral sciences. This year’s rankings also feature a dashboard with an interactive map of recipients of social and behavioral science R&D funding so you can see how your university stacks up against more than 450 U.S. institutions. Based on the most recent available federal data, the COSSA rankings use an inclusive selection of fields representing the breadth of the social and behavioral sciences to calculate the total federal R&D funding received by universities in the social and behavioral sciences. More information on how the rankings are produced is available on the COSSA website.

The top 10 recipients for 2019 are:

  1. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill* (NC) – $126,694,000 (#1 in 2018)
  2. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor* (MI) – $117,218,000 (#2 in 2018)
  3. University of Minnesota, Twin Cities* (MN) – $44,272,000 (#4 in 2018)
  4. University of Maryland, College Park* (MD) – $42,681,000 (#7 in 2018)
  5. Pennsylvania State University, University Park and Hershey Medical Center* (PA) – $37,794,000 (#3 in 2018)
  6. University of Washington, Seattle* (WA) – $36,061,000 (#5 in 2018)
  7. University of Pennsylvania* (PA) – $32,888,000 (#6 in 2018)
  8. New York University* (NY) – $32,384,000 (#11 in 2018)
  9. University of Southern California (CA) – $31,958,000 (#10 in 2018)
  10. University of South Florida, Tampa (FL) – $31,580,000 (#9 in 2018)

* Indicates COSSA members

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Posted in Issue 3 (February 5), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

The Research-to-Policy Collaboration Answers “Why Social Science?”

why-social-scienceThe latest Why Social Science? guest post comes from Taylor Scott and Max Crowley of the Research-to-Policy Collaboration (RPC), who write about how the RPC is connecting social scientists and government officials to enhance the use of research in policymaking. Read it here and subscribe.

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February’s Headlines Webchat to Feature a Deep Dive on Evidence-Based Policymaking

headlines bannerCOSSA members are encouraged to sign up for the monthly Headlines webchat on February 14 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 February chat will feature a deep dive discussion on the recently-passed Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018 with special guest Nick Hart, Director of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Evidence Project. 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 3 (February 5), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

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