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NSF Releases FY 2019 Program Solicitation for Future of Work at the Human-Technology Frontier

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has released a revised solicitation for the fiscal year (FY) 2019 grant competition for Future of Work at the Human-Technology Frontier (FW-HTF), one of NSF’s Ten Big Ideas. FW-HTF is a cross-directorate initiative, supported by the directorates for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE), Education and Human Resources (EHR), Engineering (ENG), Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (SBE), and the Office of Integrative Activities (OIA) that encourages integration and convergence of disciplines across all these fields. Through FW-HTF, NSF is responding to challenges and opportunities related to the changing landscape of jobs and work.

The overarching vision of this Big Idea is to support convergent research to understand and develop the human-technology partnership, design new technologies to augment human performance, illuminate the emerging socio-technological landscape, understand the risks and benefits of new technologies, understand and influence the impact of artificial intelligence on workers and work, and foster lifelong and pervasive learning. Proposals must focus on advancing fundamental understanding of future work, and potential improvements to work, workplaces, workforce preparation, or work outcomes for workers and society. It must be convergent research that addresses the technological as well as the human and societal dimensions and potential impact of future work. The full solicitation can be found on the NSF website. The deadline for proposals is March 6, 2019.

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Posted in Issue 24 (December 11), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

President Appoints Five New Members of the National Science Board, Reappoints Two Members

On November 5, President Trump announced his intent to make five appointments to the National Science Board (NSB), the governing body of the National Science Foundation (NSF). The selections include reappointments of former NSB chair Maria Zuber of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Geraldine Richmond of the University of Oregon. Two of the new appointees, Alan Stern and Stephen Willard, have backgrounds in the private sector. Dr. Stern is considered to be a champion of commercial space activities and has worked for Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic. Mr. Willard is currently the CEO of a biotechnology firm after earlier careers in law and investment banking. The three other appointees will join the NSB from universities. Steven Leath is currently the President of Auburn University, after a career in agricultural research; Suresh Garimella is a professor of mechanical engineering and former vice president for research at Perdue University; and Maureen Condic is on faculty at the University of Utah and has focused her work on human neurological development, including testifying before congress on the ability of fetuses to experience pain during early stages of development and opposing research on embryonic stem cells.

Board members are nominated by the President to serve six-year terms, with the opportunity for renewal. In addition to Drs. Zuber and Richmond, the terms of six members of the NSB expired in May, meaning that education researcher Deborah Ball, internet founder Vinton Cerf, and four other NSB members were not selected for renewal. The NSB will hold its first meeting with the new appointees on November 28 and 29.

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Posted in Issue 22 (November 13), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

NSF Seeks Nominations for the 2019 Alan T. Waterman Award

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is accepting nominations for the Alan T. Waterman Award, the highest honor awarded by the NSF to early-career researchers. The annual award recognizes an outstanding young researcher, 40 years of age or younger or no more than 10 years beyond receipt of their Ph.D., in any field of science or engineering supported by the National Science Foundation. In addition to a medal, the awardee receives a grant of $1,000,000 over a five-year period for scientific research or advanced study in the mathematical, physical, biological, engineering, social or other sciences at the institution of the recipient’s choice. Psychologist Kristina R. Olson received the 2018 Waterman award and was the first social scientist to receive the award since 2005. More information can be found on the NSF website. Nominations may be submitted until October 22, 2018.

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Posted in Issue 19 (October 2), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

NSF Announces New Sexual Harassment Policy

On September 21, the National Science Foundation (NSF) published a new term and condition for awards, to be enacted October 21, 2018, requiring awardee organizations to report findings of sexual harassment. The new term and condition will require awardee organizations to notify NSF of:

  • “Any findings or determinations that an NSF-funded principal investigator (PI) or co-principal investigator(co-PI) committed harassment, including sexual harassment or sexual assault.
  • The placement of the PI or co-PI on administrative leave, or of the imposition of any administrative action relating to a harassment or sexual assault finding or investigation.”

After notification, NSF will consult with the organization and determine what action is necessary under NSF’s authority, including substituting or removing PIs or co-PIs, reducing award funding, and where neither of those options is available or adequate—suspending or terminating awards. NSF has developed an online submission system for the required notifications that will be available on NSF’s sexual harassment page, which will send information directly to the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.  More information can be found on NSF’s website.

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Posted in Issue 19 (October 2), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

NSF Launches 2026 Idea Machine

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has launched the NSF 2026 Idea Machine. As COSSA has reported, the Idea Machine is a competition to help set the agenda for fundamental research in U.S. science and engineering for the next decade, including the next set of Big Ideas. According to the agency, the NSF 2026 Idea Machine is an opportunity to contribute to NSF’s mission, spur research that will cross traditional scientific boundaries, and address significant societal and scientific questions. Details about eligibility, timeline, and the judging process are available on the NSF website. Submissions of “Big Ideas” for the 2026 Idea Machine are due by October 26, 2018.

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Posted in Issue 17 (September 4), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

NSF Taps Karen Marrongelle to Lead Education and Human Resources Directorate

The National Science Foundation (NSF) announced on August 21 that it has chosen Dr. Karen Marrongelle to lead the Education and Human Resources (EHR) Directorate. Dr. Marrongelle has served as a professor of mathematics and statistics at Portland State University since 2001 and as the dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Science since 2014. Dr. Marrongelle holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and philosophy, a master’s degree in mathematics, and a doctorate in mathematics education.

Dr. Marrongelle will arrive at EHR with experience in the directorate, having worked as program director in the Division on Research and Learning from 2007 to 2009. EHR supports fundamental research in learning and teaching, and broad efforts to achieve excellence in U.S. science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. Dr. Marrongelle will begin her appointment on October 1. The full press release can be read on the NSF website.

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Posted in Issue 17 (September 4), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

NSF Prepares to Launch the 2026 Idea Machine

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is preparing to launch the NSF 2026 Idea Machine in late August. The NSF 2026 Idea Machine is a competition to help set the U.S. agenda for fundamental research in science and engineering. Participants in the Idea Machine have the opportunity to win prizes and receive public recognition by suggesting the research questions that need to be answered in the coming decade – these questions will become NSF’s next series of “Big Ideas.” This is an opportunity for researchers, the public, students and other interested parties to suggest pressing research questions.

The window to submit entries to the Idea Machine will run from late August 2018 to late October 2018. After entries have been submitted online, NSF staff will judge and select a representative group of submissions which will be available for public comment and invited to submit accompanying video pitches. Blue-Ribbon panels and NSF leadership will select two to four winning entries for public recognition, cash prizes, and other awards.

NSF is seeking ambitious and challenging entries that require the talents of the research community and will attract creative contributions from many researchers while benefiting stakeholders both inside and outside of the research community. Stay tuned to COSSA Washington Update and the NSF Website for updates on the launch of the NSF 2026 Idea Machine.

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Posted in Issue 16 (August 7), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

NSF Announces new STEM Education Advisory Panel

The National Science Foundation (NSF), along with the Department of Education, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced the appointment of 18 members of the new science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education advisory panel on July 11. The panel, authorized by the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act, was created to encourage U.S. scientific and technological innovations in education.  Gabriela Gonzalez, deputy director of the Intel Foundation at the Intel Corporation, will chair the panel and David Evans, executive director of the National Science Teachers Association, will serve as vice chair. More information and a complete list of panel members can be found on the NSF website.

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Posted in Issue 15 (July 24), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

Arthur Lupia to Lead NSF’s Social Science Directorate

Dr. Lupia at COSSA's 2018 Science Policy Conference

Dr. Lupia at COSSA’s 2018 Science Policy Conference

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has announced that it has chosen Dr. Arthur “Skip” Lupia to serve as the next head of its Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences Directorate (SBE), following the expiration of Dr. Fay Lomax Cook’s term. Dr. Lupia is currently the Hal R. Varian Collegiate Professor of Political Science at the University of Michigan. He is also the chairman of the board for the Center for Open Science and the chair of the National Academies Roundtable on the Communication and Use of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Dr. Lupia served on COSSA’s Board of Directors in 2014 and participated in a panel discussion on “Reestablishing Trust in Social Science and Data” during COSSA’s 2018 Science Policy Conference. His research interests include voting, elections, persuasion, opinion change, civic education, coalition governance, legislative-bureaucratic relationships, and decision-making under uncertainty.

In a press release accompanying the announcement, NSF Director France Córdova states, “Arthur Lupia takes leadership of a directorate whose research portfolio touches on major challenges our nation faces. Better understanding human behavior is important to improving cyber security and increasing resilience in the face of natural disasters like tornadoes, hurricanes, and broad ecological changes. The social sciences have made a profound contribution to the efficiency of markets, organ donations, and the safety of the skies and our inner cities. Dr. Lupia’s outstanding ability as a communicator will be instrumental to making the value of the social sciences widely understood.”

Dr. Lupia’s term as Assistant Director for SBE will begin on September 1. COSSA congratulates him on his appointment and looks forward to working with him in his new role to continue to advance the social and behavioral sciences.

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Posted in Issue 14 (July 10), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

Senate Appropriations Committee Approves FY 2019 Commerce, Justice, Science Bill

On June 14, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved the fiscal year (FY) 2019 Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (CJS) Appropriations Bill; the bill was marked up in subcommittee on June 12. The CJS bill serves as the vehicle for annual appropriations for the National Science Foundation (NSF), Census Bureau, National Institute of Justice (NIJ), Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), and many other federal departments and agencies. The House Appropriations Committee passed its bill on May 17. Read COSSA’s full analysis of the House bill here.

At a Glance…

  • The Senate CJS bill includes $8.1 billion for NSF in FY 2019, which is 3.9 percent above the FY 2018 enacted level and 8 percent above the President’s request, but about 1 percent below the House’s proposal.
  • The Senate bill would provide NIJ with $42 million and BJS with $48 million, flat with the FY 2018 enacted level and 17 percent above the President’s request for both agencies.
  • The Senate bill would provide the Census Bureau with a total of $3.82 billion for FY 2019, which is slightly higher than the Administration’s request (+$21 million) but nearly $1 billion below the House’s proposal.

The next step for the bill is consideration by the full Senate. It remains to be seen whether/how Senate leadership will proceed with the individual appropriations bills this year, but with most of the Senate’s August recess cancelled, more time is available for considering the spending bills. However, the entire House is up for reelection and other priorities remain to be considered, so it is still likely that FY 2019 will begin under a continuing resolution (CR) on October 1, 2018.

Read on for COSSA’s analysis of the Senate Appropriations Committee’s proposals for the National Science Foundation, National Institute of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, and the Census Bureau.

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Posted in Issue 13 (June 26), Update, Volume 37 (2018)


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