Blog Archives

White House Reconstitutes President’s Council of Advisory on Science and Technology

On October 22, the Trump Administration issued an executive order reconstituting the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). PCAST is comprised of experts from science and technology from outside the government who volunteer to advise the White House; it has not met since the Obama Administration. In addition to reconstituting the council, the President also appointed seven members to PCAST. The members primarily have backgrounds in the private sector: Dario Gill of IBM research, A.N. Sreeram of Dow Chemical, Sharon Hrynkow of Cyclo Therapeutics, H. Fisk Johnson of S.C. Johnson Inc., Catherine Bessant of Bank of America, and Shane Wall of HP. The lone appointee from a university is K. Birgitta Whaley, a chemistry professor of the University of California, Berkeley, and a scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. A press release from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), reported on by Science Magazine, noted that the “next wave of nominees, which includes several additional scholars from academia, is proceeding through the clearance process.” The executive order and list of appointees can be found on the White House website.

Back to this issue’s table of contents.

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

OSTP Committee Releases Roadmap on Stemming the Opioid Crisis

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy’s (OSTP) Fast Track Action Committee on Health Science and Technology Response to the Opioid Crisis (Opioid FTAC), established in late 2017, has released a roadmap for health research and development to support the Administration’s opioid response. A draft of the report was released for public comment in late 2018. The final report, “Health Research & Development to Stem the Opioid Crisis: A National Roadmap,” identifies knowledge gaps as well as opportunities to improve coordination to better address the opioid epidemic. It covers seven major areas of research, including several with particular relevance to the social and behavioral sciences such as “non-biological contributors to opioid addiction,” “prevention of opioid addiction,” and “community consequences of opioid addiction.” The full report is available on the White House website.

Back to this issue’s table of contents.

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

OBSSR Seeks Nominations for Matilda White Riley Keynote Lecture

The Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is accepting nominations for an social or behavioral scientist to delivery the keynote address at the Matilda White Riley Behavioral and Social Science Honors on June 8, 2020. Nominees should have a research career that has “advanced behavioral and social scientific knowledge in areas within NIH’s mission and Dr. White Riley’s vision.” More information is available here. Nominations may be emailed to Erica Spotts by November 15, 2019.

Back to this issue’s table of contents.

Tagged with: , , ,
Posted in Issue 20 (October 15), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

NSF Social Science Director Releases Dear Colleague Letter on Repositioning

On September 24, Arthur Lupia, Assistant Director for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences at the National Science Foundation (NSF), published a Dear Colleague letter announcing the repositioning of some basic research programs within the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences Directorate (SBE) at NSF. The letter describes the repositioned programs, which include Human Networks and Data Science; Linguistics; Science of Learning and Augmented Intelligence; Security and Preparedness; Accountable Institutions and Behavior; Law and Science; Science of Science: Discovery Communication and Impact; Ethical and Responsible Research; and Science and Technology Studies. The letter notes that these changes do not affect current NSF/SBE solicitations and submission deadlines, and that all changes will begin to take effect with solicitation and program submission deadlines occurring after January 1, 2020. The full letter is available on the NSF website. The SBE Directorate is also hosting a series of webinars and virtual office hours to present details about what the repositioning means for SBE research communities. Details on these events can be found on the NSF website.

Back to this issue’s table of contents.

Tagged with: , ,
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.

Back to this issue’s table of contents.

Tagged with: , , ,
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.

Back to this issue’s table of contents.

Tagged with: , ,
Posted in Issue 19 (October 1), 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.

Back to this issue’s table of contents.

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

National Science Board Releases Report on the Skilled Technical Workforce

On September 12, the National Science Board (NSB), the advisory body for the National Science Foundation (NSF),  held a briefing on Capitol Hill announcing the release of a report on the Skilled Technical Workforce (STW), the sector of working individuals in science and engineering fields who do not hold bachelor’s degrees. NSB Chair Diane Souvaine and NSB Member Victor McCrary hosted the briefing.

The report analyzes the current STW and offers policy recommendations to improve the well-being of the sector. The report recommends improving messaging about opportunities in the STW, fixing gaps and silos in data concerning the STW, analyzing federal investments in the workforce, and building  partnerships between STW stakeholders and academic institutions. More information about the report can be found on the NSB website.

Back to this issue’s table of contents.

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

White House Outlines FY 2021 R&D Budget Priorities

On August 30, Acting Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Russell Vought, with Kelvin Droegemeier, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), issued a joint memorandum to federal agency and department heads on “FY 2021 Administration Research and Development Budget Priorities.” The memo lays out five key White House priorities as agencies begin working on their budget submissions for the next fiscal year and five “high-priority crosscutting actions” for agencies to maximize success in the science and technology enterprise. This is the first set of R&D priorities released under the leadership of Dr. Droegemeier, who was confirmed as OSTP director in January.

The FY 2021 memo shares priorities with previous Administration guidance, including acknowledging the important role of science and technology to America’s global leadership and emphasizing national security, American energy and environmental leadership, medical innovation, artificial intelligence, quantum computing, and space exploration as research and development priorities. While the priorities are similar to those included in the FY 2019 and FY 2020 memos, the FY 2021 memo includes more details about ongoing Administration activities, including The President’s Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End a National Tragedy of Suicide, National Artificial Intelligence Research and Development Strategic Plan, and the Federal Data Strategy.

The memo also includes five actions for agencies to take in order to maximize success in the science and technology enterprise. These direct agencies to build and leverage a diverse, highly skilled American workforce; create and support research environments that reflect American values; support transformative research of high risk and potentially high reward; leverage the power of data; and build, strengthen, and expand strategic multisector partnerships.

Additional details can be found in the memorandum.

Back to this issue’s table of contents.

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

IES Director Seeks Input on Topic Areas, Announces Possible Request for Applications

Mark Schneider, the Director of the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), the research, evaluation, and statistical agency of the U.S. Department of Education, announced in a blog post on August 13 that he is considering three new topic-specific requests for applications (RFAs) and seeking comment on the topics around which IES research is structured.

The three proposed off-cycle RFAs are “using state longitudinal data systems to measure long-term outcomes,” “using NAEP [National Assessment of Educational Progress] process data,” and “systematic evaluation of widely used math and reading programs.” The blog post includes more details about the proposed RFAs and a request that the community provide input into whether they are worthwhile and whether the challenges that come with these large questions are surmountable.

Additionally, Schneider is seeking input on the 13 topic areas within the National Center for Education Research (NCER) and the 12 topic areas within the National Center for Special Education Research. In particular, he is interested in whether any of the topic areas are no longer necessary to be funded, and if any other topic areas are missing from the two centers.

Input should be sent directly to the IES director at Mark.Schneider@ed.gov. The blog post can be read on the IES website.

Back to this issue’s table of contents.

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

Subscribe

Click here to subscribe to the COSSA Washington Update, our biweekly newsletter.

Archive

Looking for something from a previous issue of the COSSA Washington Update? Try our archive.

Issues

  • Uncategorized

Browse by Month