Blog Archives

National Academies Holds DEI Summit

On June 29 and 30, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) held a summit to address the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in 21st century science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine (STEMM) organizations. The summit took place over the course of two days with discussions revolving around how systemic racism affects individuals of underrepresented racial and ethnic group in STEMM careers and how to implement strategies and policies that will advance diversity in STEMM environments and organizations.

The first day included discussions on the systemic and structural nature of racism and bias, diving into the historical context for racism in the U.S., the importance of diversity, and institutional practices/patterns of behavior. Victor Dzau of the National Academy of

Medicine (NAM) began by stating, “We need to develop and implement the best practices drawing from research and partnering with fields such as social psychology, industrial organizational psychology, business, and human resources.” This led to a discussion on how changing the rhetoric on these issues is a start, but it will take institutions truly committing themselves to change for real progress to be made. The general consensus of the panelists was that it is crucial to understand the U.S.’s past of racism and inequality to set us on a path forward within STEMM to ensure history does not repeat itself.

The second day focused on how we can move the system forward by exploring the importance of diversity, efforts of the National Academies to date, and other approaches institutions have taken along with the limitations of those approaches. Panelists began by discussing that to optimize some of our nation’s best resources, it is necessary to create environments where all scientists are treated fairly and inclusively. With this, Eliseo J. Pérez Stable of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) noted that to properly implement this kind of equity, one must think about structure and power. All speakers agreed that real change will take a multitude of people and ideas working together to not just discuss but to take real action.

More information is available on the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) website.

This article was contributed by COSSA’s summer intern, Lillian Chmielewska of the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

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Posted in Issue 14 (July 6), Update, Volume 40 (2021)

New National Academies Guidance Offers Resources for Serving Homeless Communities During Disasters and COVID-19

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Societal Experts Action Network (SEAN) (see COSSA’s previous coverage) has published new guidance on Addressing Disaster Vulnerability Among Homeless Populations During COVID-19. The guidance is intended to help policymakers support homeless populations before, during, and after a disaster in the context of COVID-19. According to the guidance, “Understanding the unique challenges of disaster preparedness among homeless communities and the strain on support services caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is critical for effectively planning for and carrying out emergency services and sheltering for homeless populations in the context of COVID-19 and disasters.” The new resource is available as an interactive web tool and as a report on the National Academies website.

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Posted in Issue 13 (June 22), Update, Volume 40 (2021)

National Academies Holds Workshop on Ontologies for Behavioral Science

On May 24th, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) Committee on Accelerating Behavioral Science Through Ontology Development and Use (see previous coverage) held its first virtual workshop, “Why Are Ontologies and How Are They Used in Science?” which explored questions about the classification systems and knowledge structures that scientific disciplines use to establish shared labels, definitions, and frameworks. The workshop was spent establishing what ontologies are philosophically and how scientists usefully apply them into their work as well as discussing current ontologies, such as Research Domain Criteria (RDoC), which has been slowly implemented at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to encourage research on mental disorders and co-morbidities. Members of the panel made note that while there can never be a singular ontology for the behavioral sciences, the goal of the committee is to encourage the creation and utilization of ontologies to make research creation, evaluation, reproduction, and clinical application more efficient and well-rounded. More information is available on the Committee website.

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Posted in Issue 12 (June 8), Update, Volume 40 (2021)

Nominations Sought for CNSTAT Committee on Evaluating 2020 Census

The Committee on National Statistics (CNSTAT) of the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) is accepting nominations for its Panel to Evaluate the Quality of the 2020 Census. This panel will prepare a consensus study report that will serve as a thorough operational and procedural review of the 2020 Census, to both assess the trustworthiness of the 2020 Census data products and to provide solid ground for the testing and experimentation that will lead to the 2030 Census.

CNSTAT is seeking nominees with expertise in survey and census methodology, including management of large-scale survey field operations; statistical and data science experience in the federal statistical system and in state, local, tribal, and territorial agencies; geography and population demography, including address list building and maintenance, generation of legal/political/service district boundaries, and assessment of special populations; and systems engineering, operations research and evaluation, and methods for ensuring privacy and confidentiality. Nominations may be submitted by completing the nomination form by May 14, 2021.

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Posted in Issue 10 (May 11), Update, Volume 40 (2021)

National Academies Convenes Activities Exploring the Future of Education Research and Statistics

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) has launched several activities in partnership with the Department of Education to identify areas for growth in the fields of education research and education statistics in the federal government, especially programs within the Department’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES). On May 10, the National Academies panel on A Vision and Roadmap for Education Statistics in 2030 and Beyond held its first public meeting to develop a plan for modernizing education statistics at IES’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) by the year 2030. The panel will produce a report that prioritizes areas and activities for NCES to pursue for the remainder of the decade and outlines a vision for what the agency should should aspire to be and how it should operate.

Another NASEM panel, Opportunities for the National Assessment of Educational Progress in an Age of AI and Pervasive Computation: A Pragmatic Vision for 2030 and Beyond, will be hold its first meetings on May 13-14 to discuss the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), a Congressionally-mandated assessment administered by NCES for grade-school children in core subjects. The panel will aim to identify innovations for the assessment, especially to incorporate digital technology and reduce the costs of administering the assessment over the next ten years. The panel will produce a short, accessible report that makes recommendations for potential changes to NAEP.

A third NASEM panel on The Future of Education Research at the Institute of Education Sciences in the U.S. Department of Education, will convene to provide recommendations to IES on potential improvements to be made for research within IES’s National Center for Education Research (NCER) and National Center for Special Education Research (NCSER). Topics the panel will address include potential gaps in research areas, best practices for organizing application requests for research, new research methods that should be encouraged, and new investments for research training that may benefit the institute. Although the panel’s meetings dates have yet to be publicly announced, the committee will publish a report making conclusions and recommendations for IES.

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Posted in Issue 10 (May 11), Update, Volume 40 (2021)

National Academies Launches “Hauser Policy Impact Fund” with Webinar Series

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education (DBASSE) has launched a new initiative, the Hauser Policy Impact Fund. The fund, named for longtime (now retired) DBASSE Executive Director Bob Hauser, aims to ensure that social science analysis and synthesis has a better chance to guide informed policy decisions. The activity will begin with a webinar series featuring three issues at the forefront of current policy discussions and that have diversity, equity, and inclusion as a central focus. Each webinar will feature policy and research experts as well as discuss policy implications from relevant DBASSE reports. The first webinar, on immigration, will take place on April 19. More information is available on the National Academies website.

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Posted in Issue 8 (April 13), Update, Volume 40 (2021)

John Anderson, NAE President, Answers “Why Social Science?”

why-social-scienceThis week’s Why Social Science? comes from John Anderson, President of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), who writes about the importance of collaboration between engineers and social scientists. Read it here and subscribe.

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Posted in Issue 7 (March 30), Update, Volume 40 (2021)

CNSTAT Releases Seventh Edition of Principles & Practices for a Federal Statistical Agency

The Committee on National Statistics (CNSTAT) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has released a pre-publication version of the seventh edition of Principles and Practices for a Federal Statistical Agency, a report released every four years to coincide with presidential terms. The consensus study report provides an explanation of the federal statistical system and offers guiding principles and best practices for federal statistical agencies. The report outlines five guiding principles federal statistical agencies should adhere to in order to produce and disseminate relevant, timely, accurate and credible information to the public and policymakers: (1) produce information relevant to policy issues and society, (2) maintain credibility among data users and stakeholders, (3) build trust among the public and data providers, (4) retain independence from political and other undue external influence, and (5) pursue continual improvement and innovation. CNSTAT will hold a webinar on April 21 to celebrate the report’s release.

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Posted in Issue 7 (March 30), Update, Volume 40 (2021)

Applications Closing Soon for National Academies’ Mirzayan Fellowship

The application window for the Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Graduate Fellowship at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) will be closing on April 30, 2021. This 12-week fellowship is intended for current or recent graduate students to gain a broader understanding of the role of science and technology in influencing public policy as well as to broaden career prospects outside of academia. The newest cohort will run from August 30, 2021 to November 19, 2021. More information on how to apply is available on the NASEM website.

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Posted in Issue 7 (March 30), Update, Volume 40 (2021)

NASEM Releases Report Documenting COVID-19’s Impact on Women in STEM, Compiles New COVID Resource

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) has released a new consensus study that details how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected women in STEM fields. The report, Impact of COVID-19 on the Careers of Women in Academic Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, “identifies, names, and documents how the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the careers of women in academic STEMM during the initial 9-month period since March 2020 and considers how these disruptions—both positive and negative—might shape future progress for women.” NASEM has also compiled its most important reports, findings, and activities related to the COVID-19 pandemic released over the past year into a new publication: Critical Findings on COVID-19.

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Posted in Issue 6 (March 16), Update, Volume 40 (2021)

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