Blog Archives

Time Running Out to Sign Up for Advocacy Day

2021 Advocacy Day headerCOSSA’s annual Social Science Advocacy is only two weeks away. There is still time to sign up to be part of the only annual, coordinated advocacy day in support of all disciplines of social and behavioral science. Thanks to the generous support of our sponsors, registration this year is only $25. More information is available on the COSSA website.

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

FROM THE ARCHIVES: Innovation and Competitiveness (January 30, 2006)

In celebration of COSSA’s 40th anniversary, we are diving into the decades of Washington Update archives to share articles from years past that resonate with today’s news.

In a recent New York Times column Nicholas Kristoff asked whether China or India would be the world’s dominant economic power in the year 2100. In order to stave off this unpalatable future, the U.S. science and engineering community in concert with key policymakers on Capitol Hill have put forth a new innovation and competitiveness agenda. For some long-time policy observers it is “déjà vu all over again.” In the 1980s this same agenda successfully drove proposals to increase science and engineering funding, although at that time the dangerous foe was Japan.

A National Academies report released last fall, Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future, has become the catalyst for numerous pieces of introduced or soon-to-be-introduced legislation. The message of the Academies panel, chaired by former Lockheed-Martin CEO Norman Augustine, is that U.S. economic dominance is under threat and that the proven way, citing studies by economists Robert Solow and Moses Abramovitz, to repel that threat is to increase federal support for enhancing America’s “scientific and technological prowess.”

Working from the recommendations in the report, Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), who requested the Academies’ study, have joined with their colleagues, Pete Domenici (R-NM) and Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) to introduce three bills under the rubric “Protecting America’s Competitive Edge Acts” (PACE). Many of their proposals mirror earlier bills introduced in the House by Representative Bart Gordon (D-TN), Ranking Democrat on the House Science Committee. In addition, Senators Joe Lieberman (D-CT) and John Ensign (R-NV) have introduced “The National Innovation Act,” which is based on the Council on Competitiveness’ National Innovation Initiative Report.

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

Register for April’s Headlines Webchat

headlines bannerCOSSA members are encouraged to sign up for the monthly COSSA Headlines webchat on Thursday April 8, in which COSSA staff will break down the most important social and behavioral science news from the past month and answer your questions. 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 7 (March 30), Update, Volume 40 (2021)

FROM THE ARCHIVES: Science Board Approves New NSF Merit Review Process (April 7, 1997)

In celebration of COSSA’s 40th anniversary, we are diving into the decades of Washington Update archives to share articles from years past that resonate with today’s news.

On March 28 the National Science Board approved a new merit review process for proposed grants submitted for National Science Foundation (NSF) funding. Proposed by a Task Force of the Board in November (see Update, December 16, 1996), NSF took comments from the community for three months and made some changes for their final recommendations.

The new process tries to simplify and clarify rules for those who evaluate proposals. Under the old system reviewers were asked to consider four general criteria. The new system asks for assessments of proposals based on the answers to two broad questions: What is the intellectual merit of the proposed activity? And 2) What are the broader impacts of the proposed activity? For each of these, there are a series of more specific questions that should be considered, including how the proposal broadens participation of women and minorities, enhances the infrastructure of sciences, and benefits society. […]

The new process also includes a single composite rating, separate comments for each criterion, and a summary recommendation that addresses both criteria. The new system will go into effect for all proposals received beginning October 1, 1997.

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Posted in Issue 7 (March 30), 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)

Registration Opens for COSSA’s Virtual Social Science Advocacy Day

2021 Advocacy Day headerCOSSA members are invited to register for COSSA’s 2021 virtual Social Science Advocacy Day on April 27. Social Science Advocacy Day is the only annual, coordinated advocacy day in support of all of the social and behavioral sciences. The event brings together social scientists and other science advocates from across the country to engage with policymakers. Thanks to the generous support of our sponsors, the registration fee for Advocacy Day is only $25, but spots are limited, so register soon.

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

FROM THE ARCHIVES: Congress Passes Competitiveness Legislation (August 6, 2007)

In celebration of COSSA’s 40th anniversary, we are diving into the decades of Washington Update archives to share articles from years past that resonate with today’s news.

Culminating a two-year effort, on August 2 Congress cleared the America COMPETES Act. Combining many aspects of House and Senate legislation that traveled through both bodies in 2006 and 2007, the over 450 page bill includes provisions affecting the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institutes of Standards and Technology (NIST), the Department of Energy, NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Department of Education (DOE), and the White House Office of Science and Technology (OSTP). As a number of House Members noted during the debate on the House-Senate conference report, this is only an authorization bill and many of the funding levels may not be provided by the appropriators. Nonetheless, House Science Committee Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN) and Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) led this successful effort through many mine fields during its route to passage.

The NSF portion of the legislation reauthorizes the agency for three years at funding levels that will keep the agency on a path to double its budget in seven years. The bill particularly increases authorization levels for K-12 Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education by increasing funding for scholarship programs to train and retrain math and science teachers and by further encouraging math and science partnerships between universities and elementary and secondary schools. The legislation also provides for expansion of the Graduate Fellowship program, the Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) program, and the early career grants program (CAREER), and creates a new pilot program of seed grants for outstanding new investigators.

In addition, the bill includes provisions to help broaden participation in STEM fields at all levels. It requests a National Academy of Sciences (NAS) report to identify barriers to and opportunities for increasing the number of underrepresented minorities in STEM fields.

The bill resists calls for open access within a certain time period as required in the bill appropriating FY 2008 funds for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) (see Update June, 25, 2007). The COMPETES bill simply says that the NSF Director shall ensure that “final project reports and citations resulting from research funded…are made available to the public in a timely manner and in electronic form through the Foundation’s Web site.” It does, however, cut off subsequent grants to investigators who fail to share their data within a reasonable time as required by Section 734 of the NSF Grants Manual.

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

Advocacy Day Sponsorship Opportunities Available

Sponsorship opportunities for COSSA’s virtual 2021 Social Science Advocacy Day are now available. COSSA has made a variety of sponsorship packages this year, including the ability to get up to four free Advocacy Day registrations. Advocacy Day sponsors allow COSSA to dramatically lower the registration cost for participants compared to previous years, while providing your organization with additional visibility among colleagues in the social and behavioral science and higher education communities. More information on sponsorship packages is available here. Interested organizations should contact Wendy Naus at wnaus@cossa.org.

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Posted in Issue 5 (March 2), Update, Volume 40 (2021)

March Headlines to Feature Deep Dive on Pandemic Relief for Researchers

headlines bannerCOSSA members are invited to register for the monthly Headlines webchat on Thursday, March 11 at 2:00 pm Eastern Time. The COSSA team will break down the most important social and behavioral science news from the past month, followed by a deep dive discussion on current legislative proposals to provide relief to scholars whose research has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. 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 2), Update, Volume 40 (2021)

Why Social Science? Celebrates Anthropology Day

why-social-scienceThe latest Why Social Science? post highlights Anthropology Day, which the American Anthropological Association (AAA) celebrates every February. Anthropology Day is a day for anthropologists to celebrate and share their discipline with the public around them. Read it here and subscribe.

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Posted in Issue 5 (March 2), Update, Volume 40 (2021)

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