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National Academies to Launch Study on the Future of Food and Agriculture Research; Nominations Sought for Executive Committee

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine announced a new study, Science Breakthroughs 2030: A Strategy for Food and Agriculture Research. The year-long study hopes to “identify ambitious scientific directions in food and agriculture made possible by incorporating knowledge and tools from across the science and engineering spectrum.” The study is sponsored by the Supporters of Agriculture Research (SoAR) Foundation, Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR), and the Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

Nominations are currently being sought for the study’s executive committee, which will author the project’s final consensus report, after seeking input from the broader community in the form of workshops, calls white papers, and online questionnaires. Candidates are being sought from all fields of science and engineering who are “big thinkers with the ability to envision the kind of breakthroughs made possible by interdisciplinary collaboration.” Nominations are due by March 22 and may be submitted here.

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Posted in Issue 5 (March 7), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

Funding Opportunity Announcements

  • AHRQ: Notice of Intent to Publish Funding Opportunity Announcements to Promote Implementation Science (R01) and Dissemination and Implementation Studies (R18) (NOT-HS-17-002)
  • AHRQ: Large Health Services Research Demonstration and Dissemination Projects for Prevention of Healthcare-Associated Infections (R18) (PA-17-007)
  • AHRQ: Large Research Projects for Prevention of Healthcare-Associated Infections (R01) (PA-17-008)
  • NIFA: Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (USDA-NIFA-ICGP-006124)

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Posted in Issue 21 (November 1), Update, Volume 35 (2016)

NIFA Seeks Feedback on Childhood Obesity Prevention Scientific Priorities

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is seeking stakeholder input on the scientific priorities for its Integrated Approaches to Prevent Childhood Obesity programs. NIFA’s current childhood obesity prevention RFA is active and accepting applications through August 4. The feedback received will be considered as the agency develops future RFAs. The program’s current priorities are to “Generate new knowledge of the behavioral (not metabolic), social, cultural, and/or environmental factors, including the food and physical activity environment, that influence childhood obesity and use this information to develop and implement effective family, peer, community, early care and education settings, and/or school-based interventions for preventing overweight and obesity and promoting healthy behaviors in children and adolescents (ages 2–19 years or any subset of this age range).” More information on the request and the form to submit comments is available on the NIFA website. Feedback will be accepted until August 4.

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Posted in Issue 15 (July 26), Update, Volume 35 (2016)

Senate Appropriations Committee Approves FY 2017 Agriculture Bill

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved its fiscal year (FY) 2017 spending bill for the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies (S. 2956) on May 19 (the bill had marked up in the Subcommittee earlier in the week). The House passed its version of the legislation (H.R. 5054) in April. So far, neither chamber has scheduled the Agriculture appropriations bill for floor consideration, although given that they are relatively uncontroversial, it would not be surprising to see votes on the floor before the summer recess.

The Senate bill would provide the Economic Research Service (ERS) with $86.8 million and the National Agricultural Statistics Service with $169.6 million. These numbers are both slight increases over FY 2016 and the House proposal, but below the Administration’s request. The bill includes $1.4 billion for the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). The House, Senate, and Administration have all recommended a $25 million increase (+7.1%) for NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI).

Read on for the Senate Appropriations Committee’s proposals for Economic Research Service, the National Agricultural Statistics Service, and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

The Committee’s full report can be found here, and audio from the markup is posted on the Committee website.

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Posted in Issue 11 (May 31), Update, Volume 35 (2016)

Funding Opportunity Announcements

NIH opportunities:

  • NIA: Aging Research to Address Health Disparities (Admin Supplement) (PA-16-225)
  • NIH: Health Services Research on Minority Health and Health Disparities (R01) (PAR-16-221), (R21) (PAR-16-222) [NIMHD, NIAAA, NIDA]
  • NIDA: NIDA Research Education Program for Clinical Researchers and Clinicians (R25) (PAR-16-224)
  • NCI: Innovative Approaches to Studying Cancer Communication in the New Media Environment (R21) (PAR-16-248), (R01) ((PAR-16-249)
  • NCI: Cancer-related Behavioral Research through Integrating Existing Data (R01) (PAR-16-256), (R21) (PAR-16-255)
  • NCI: Predicting Behavioral Responses to Population-Level Cancer Control Strategies (R21) (PAR-16-257)
  • NIAAA: Specialized Alcohol Research Centers (P50) (RFA-AA-17-001), (P60) (RFA-AA-17-002)
  • NIA: Nathan Shock Centers Coordinating Center (U24) (RFA-AG-17-008)
  • NIA: From Association to Function in the Alzheimers Disease Post Genomics Era (R01) (RFA-AG-17-010), (R21) (RFA-AG-17-011)
  • NIDA: Prescription Drug Abuse (R21) (PA-16-232), (R01) (PA-16-233)
  • NIDA, NCI, NIAAA: Accelerating the Pace of Drug Abuse Research Using Existing Data (R01) (PAR-16-234)
  • NIGMS: Limited Competition: Renewal of Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE)(P20) (PAR-16-241)
  • NIH: BD2K Predoctoral Training in Biomedical Big Data Science (T32) (RFA-LM-16-002) [NLM, NCATS, NCCIH, NCI, NEI, NHGRI, NHLBI, NIA, NIAAA, NIAID, NIAMS, NIBIB, NICHD, NIDA, NIDCD, NIDCR, NIDDK, NIEHS, NIMH, NIMHD, NINDS, NINR, OBSSR, ODP, DPCPSI (ORIP), ORWH, Common Fund/Office of Strategic Coordination]
  • NIH: Dissemination and Implementation Research in Health (R21) (PAR-16-236), (R03) (PAR-16-237), (R01) (PAR-16-238) [NCI, NCCIH, NHGRI, NIA, NIAAA, NIAID, NICHD, NIDA, NIDCD, NIDCR, NIEHS, NIMH, NIMHD, NINDS, NINR, OBSSR, ODP]

NINR: Building Evidence: Effective Palliative/End of Life Care Interventions (R01) (PAR-16-250)

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Posted in Issue 10 (May 17), Update, Volume 35 (2016)

House Agriculture Appropriations Bill Passes Appropriations Committee

The House Appropriations Committee has released its draft bill and Committee Report for the fiscal year (FY) 2017 funding for the Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies. The bill passed the Subcommittee by on April 13 and the full Commtitee on April 19. A list of amendments adopted during the full committee markup is available here (none affect the research and science agencies funded by the bill). Details on the bill’s proposed funding for the Department of Agriculture (USDA) agencies important to the social and behavioral sciences follow.

Overall, the bill provides flat funding or very modest increases to USDA research and science agencies. The Economic Research Service (ERS), one of the Department of Agriculture’s two statistical agencies, would receive $86 million, or 0.7 percent above FY 2016 but 5.8 percent below the Administration’s request. The entirety of the $627,000 increase is directed for cooperative agreements on groundwater modeling and drought resilience. The National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) would receive flat funding at $168.4 million, $8.2 million below the amount requested by the President. The Census of Agriculture, which NASS will conduct in 2017, would see a cut of $306,000.

The bill would provide the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) with a $14.7 million increase over FY 2017, bringing it to a total of $1.3 billion, though the amount is $32.9 million below the Administration’s requested level. Expectedly, appropriators chose to reject the President’s proposal to double funding for USDA’s premiere competitive grants program, the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), using a combination of discretionary and mandatory funds. However, the bill would give AFRI a $25 million increase above FY 2016—bringing it to $375 million—which is level with the discretionary amount proposed in the budget request. Funding for research at State Agricultural Experiment Stations under the Hatch Act would remain flat.

The Committee report includes the following language related to AFRI-funded research on childhood obesity:

“Within the funds made available for AFRI, the Committee encourages NIFA to support innovative efforts to address the unique challenges faced in addressing childhood obesity through a combination of family education and clinical studies focused on early life influences on obesity risk; the development of eating behavior during infancy and early childhood; the role of sleep in the development of childhood obesity; and obesity prevention strategies for low-income children in childcare and educational settings.”

The report also instructs NIFA to develop a plan for ensuring AFRI research meets the needs of the U.S. organic agriculture sector and is not duplicative of other efforts; to support research, development, education, and training related to the deployment of unmanned aircraft systems (i.e. drones) for improved agriculture and environmental stewardship; and to ensure it is adequately addressing the research needs of urban agriculture producers.

house ag fy 2017

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Posted in Issue 8 (April 19), Update, Volume 35 (2016)

President Unveils FY 2017 Budget Request, Kicks Off Annual Funding Battle

The Obama Administration has started releasing details of its final budget request to Congress. Full details of the request for fiscal year (FY) 2017 will continue to roll out over the coming days. COSSA is preparing an in-depth analysis of the request as it pertains to social science programs across the federal government. It is important to note that the President’s request for FY 2017 includes new mandatory spending at several agencies, which would largely account for the increases to these agencies.

Details so far include:

  • The National Science Foundation (NSF) would receive nearly $8 billion in FY 2017 (including $400 million in mandatory spending), an increase of 6.7 percent. Without the mandatory spending, the increase would be only 1.3 percent. The Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences Directorate would see a 6.1 percent increase when accounting for new mandatory funds; the increase would be 0.1 percent—or flat—without the additional funds. Similarly, the Education and Human Resources Directorate would be increased by 8.3 percent with mandatory funds, 2.1 percent without.
  • The National Institutes of Health (NIH) would receive a total budget of $33.1 billion, of which $1.8 billion is directed to support Administration-designated initiatives, including:
    • $910 million for Alzheimer’s disease research;
    • $680 million for the Vice President’s Cancer Moonshot initiative;
    • $300 million (a $107 million increase) for the Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI); and
    • $195 million (a $45 million increase) for NIH’s contributions to the BRAIN Initiative.
  • The National Institute of Justice would receive $48 million, a 33 percent increase, and the Bureau of Justice Statistics would receive $58 million, a 42 percent increase.
  • The President’s budget proposal would use mandatory funding to double the size of the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), the Department of Agriculture’s competitive grants program housed within the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). AFRI’s budget would increase from $350 million FY 2016 to $700 million. Without the mandatory funds, the agency would still see a $7.1 percent increase to $375 million.
  • Funding for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) would be restored to its FY 2015 level of $363.7 million, undoing the effects of a an 8.2 percent cut in FY 2016. Of those funds, $83.5 would come from transfers under the Public Health Service Act (sometimes called the “evaluation tap”), a particularly unpopular funding mechanism on the Hill. This amount doesn’t include already-enacted mandatory transfers from the Patient Centered Outcomes Research (PCOR) Trust Fund, which should total $106 million in FY 2016.

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Posted in Issue 3 (February 9), Update, Volume 35 (2016)

Analysis of the FY 2016 Omnibus Appropriations Bill and Implications for Social and Behavioral Science Research

On December 15, House and Senate negotiators unveiled their final fiscal year (FY) 2016 omnibus appropriations bill, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016 (H.R. 2029), which includes all 12 of the individual appropriations bills and totals $1.15 trillion.

Congress passed another short term continuing resolution (CR) on Wednesday to allow enough time for the House and Senate to pass the massive spending bill and for the President to sign it, which he has indicated he would. Policymakers now have until December 22 to achieve final passage. Assuming the House can pass the bill on Friday-which will require the support of several Democrats since many conservative Republicans oppose the final agreement-the FY 2016 process could wrap up by the end of the week, at which time Members of Congress and staff will head home for the holidays, drawing to a close the first session of the 114th Congress. However, at the time of this writing, passage is not assured.

Should the bill pass, the final result for social and behavioral science funding in FY 2016 is positive. Compared to where we were just a few months ago-with major cuts proposed for social science accounts at several agencies-we are closing out the year in a better situation than many anticipated. This outcome can be largely attributed to the bipartisan budget deal that was brokered earlier in the fall, which provided much needed relief from sequestration and the tight discretionary spending caps. In addition, our champions on the Hill worked tirelessly on our behalf during these final negotiations to stave off devastating cuts to many of our programs.

The text of the bill and explanatory statement can be viewed on the House Rules Committee website.

Read on for COSSA’s agency-by-agency analysis of the FY 2016 omnibus.

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Posted in Update, Volume 34 (2015)

Funding Opportunity Announcements

  • NIFA: Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (USDA-NIFA-ICGP-005517)
  • AHRQ: Increasing Access to Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) in Rural Primary Care Practices (R18) (RFA-HS-16-001)
  • NIJ: Research on Measurement of Teen Dating Violence (NIJ-2016-9001)
  • HRSA: Bridging the Word Gap Challenge
  • NIH: Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) program
  • NIH: Notice to Extend PAR-13-055 Dissemination and Implementation Research in Health (R01) (NOT-CA-16-006) [NCI, NCCIH, NHLBI, NHGRI, NIA, NIAAA, NIAID, NICHD, NIDCD, NIDCR, NIDDK, NIDA, NINDS, NIMH, NIMHD, NINR, and OBSSR]
  • NIH: Notice to Extend PAR-13-054 Dissemination and Implementation Research in Health (R21) (NOT-CA-16-007) [NIMH, NCI, NHGRI, NIA, NIAAA, NIAID, NICHD, NIDCD, NIDCR, NIDA, NINDS, NINR, NCCIH, FIC, and OBSSR]
  • NIH: Notice to Extend PAR-13-056 Dissemination and Implementation Research in Health (R03)
    (NOT-CA-16-008) [NCI, FIC, NHGRI, NIA, NIAAA, NICHD, NIDA, NIDCD, NIDCR, NIMH, and OBSSR]

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Posted in Issue 23 (December 15), Update, Volume 34 (2015)

Funding Opportunity Announcements

  • AHRQ: Extension of Expiration Dates for AHRQ Fellowship (F) and Career Development Award (K) Funding Opportunity Announcements (PA-12-261 and PA-13-039) (NOT-HS-16-001)
  • NIFA: Specialty Crop Research Initiative (USDA-NIFA-SCRI-005437)
  • Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: Evaluating High-Value Innovations from Low-Resource Communities
  • NIH Funding Opportunities:
    • NIH Common Fund: Metabolomics Data Analysis (R03) (RFA-RM-15-021).
      This funding opportunity announcement is intended to foster collaborations between bioinformaticians, biostatisticians, metabolomics experts, and/or biomedical researchers to promote the development of new or improved approaches to metabolomics data analysis. These are small, one-year grants “intended to complement the current efforts of the Common Fund Metabolomics Program and maximize the value of existing metabolomics databases and resources.”
    • NIEHS: Outstanding New Environmental Scientist (ONES) Award (R01) (RFA-ES-15-020)
    • NIMH: Services Research for Autism Spectrum Disorder across the Lifespan II (ServASD II): Pilot Research on Services for Transition-Age Youth (R34) (RFA-MH-17-200), (R34) (RFA-MH-17-205)
    • NINR: Innovative Questions in Symptom Science and Genomics (R15) (PA-16-022), (R21) (PA-16-023), (R01) (PA-16-024)
    • NCCIH: Administrative Supplements for Complementary Health Practitioner Research Experience (Administrative Supplement), (PA-16-013)
    • NIA: New Opportunities in Alzheimer’s Research

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Posted in Issue 20 (November 3), Update, Volume 34 (2015)

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