Blog Archives

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.

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Posted in Issue 19 (October 1), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

Senate Makes Progress on FY 2020 Appropriations for NSF, Census, NIH, Education, USDA

With the passage of a continuing resolution through Thanksgiving giving Congress some breathing room to complete fiscal year (FY) 2020 appropriations, the Senate Appropriations Committee has finally made progress in approving a number of its annual appropriations bills. COSSA has released analyses of three Senate bills that fund agencies important to the social and behavioral sciences:

Full coverage of FY 2020 appropriations, including analyses of the corresponding House proposals, is available on the COSSA website.

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Posted in Issue 19 (October 1), 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.

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

September’s Headlines Webchat to Feature Deep Dive with SBE Assistant Director

headlines bannerCOSSA members are encouraged to sign up for the monthly COSSA Headlines webchat on Thursday September 12, in which COSSA staff will recap the most important social and behavioral science news from the past month and answer participants’ questions. The September chat will feature a deep dive discussion with Dr. Arthur Lupia, Assistant Director for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (SBE) at the National Science Foundation (NSF). 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 17 (September 3), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

Arthur Lupia Answers “Why Social Science?”

why-social-scienceThe latest Why Social Science? guest post comes from Arthur Lupia, Assistant Director for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences at the National Science Foundation, who writes about the breadth of impacts the social sciences have on our lives. Read it here and subscribe.

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

NSF Releases Dear Colleague Letter on Research Protection

The Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) released a Dear Colleague Letter on July 11 summarizing efforts at the agency to address security risks to the U.S. science and engineering enterprise. The letter explains that while international collaboration is still a priority of NSF, they are instituting policies to ensure NSF research is protected from foreign interference and other security threats.

The letter outlines some upcoming and proposed policy changes related to research security. The imminent plans include changes to the Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide to include clarifications of reporting requirements for support from NSF, both current and pending, as well as professional appointments. The draft Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide is currently open for comment in the Federal Register. Additionally, the agency is issuing a policy clarifying that NSF personnel and detailees working at the agency through the Intergovernmental Personnel Act (or IPAs) cannot participate in foreign government talent recruitment programs.

The letter also includes a proposal, likely to take effect in January 2020, requiring grantees to use an electronic format for submission of biographical sketches, including disclosure of all appointments.

Lastly, NSF has commissioned the independent scientific advisory group JASON to conduct a study to assess risks and recommend possible practices for NSF and its awardee organizations to achieve the best balance between openness and security of science. More information and the Dear Colleague Letter can be found on the NSF website.

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Posted in Issue 15 (July 23), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

National Science Board Seeks Nominations for 2020 Honorary Awards

The National Science Board (NSB), the policy-making body of the National Science Foundation (NSF), has issued a solicitation for nominations for its 2020 honorary awards. The NSB honors outstanding research leaders annually through its Vannevar Bush Award and Public Service Award.

The Vannevar Bush Award is given to leaders “who have made exceptional contributions toward the welfare of humankind and the nation through public service activities in science, technology, and public policy.” The Public Service Award honors individuals or groups who have made “substantial contributions to increasing public understanding of science and engineering in the United States,” such as through education and training, social media, and other areas. Nominations for the 2020 awards are due by September 27, 2019.

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Posted in Issue 14 (July 9), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

Administration Releases Updated Artificial Intelligence Research and Development Plan

On June 21, the Select Committee on Artificial Intelligence of the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) released a 2019 update to its Artificial Intelligence (AI) Research and Development Plan. The first national AI R&D plan was released in 2016 and has been updated to include strategic priorities and accounts for new research and technologies in AI. The new strategic priorities include: making long-term investments in AI research; developing effective methods for human-AI collaboration; understanding and addressing the ethical, legal, and societal implications of AI; ensuring the safety and security of AI systems; developing shared public datasets and environments for AI training and testing; and expanding public-private partnerships to accelerate advances in AI; among others.

Artificial Intelligence is a priority of the Trump Administration and several federal research agencies, including the National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Institutes of Health (NIH), have incorporated and highlighted AI research and development at their agencies. More about the NIH AI initiatives can be found on the NIH website and more about the NSF AI initiatives can be found on the NSF website.

More information about the Trump Administration’s effort on AI can be found on the White House website.

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Posted in Issue 13 (June 25), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

NSF Seeks Input into 2026 Idea Machine Entries

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has reviewed the first round of submissions to the 2026 Idea Machine and now seeks the public’s input on which proposals should advance to the next round. 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. NSF received more than 800 idea submissions; 33 are still in the running for the grand prize, including projects involving the social and behavioral sciences. Volunteers can assist NSF by watching entrants’ video pitches, commenting on the potential impact of their Big Ideas, and providing suggestions on how the entries can be improved. Video pitches can be watched and reviewed online until June 26, 2019.

More information can be found on the NSF website.

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Posted in Issue 12 (June 11), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

House Panel Approves FY 2020 Funding for NSF, Census, BJS, and NIJ

On May 22, the House Appropriations Committee approved its fiscal year (FY) 2020 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) Appropriations Bill; the CJS Subcommittee advanced the bill on May 17. This bill contains annual funding proposals for the National Science Foundation (NSF), Department of Justice (DOJ), and Census Bureau, among other federal departments and agencies. Overall, the House bill is favorable to agencies important to the COSSA community, with increases proposed across the bill’s jurisdiction.

At a glance…

  • The House CJS bill includes $8.6 billion for the National Science Foundation in FY 2020, which, if appropriated, would be a significant increase of more than $561 million or 7 percent over FY 2019.
  • The House bill would provide the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) with $37 million and $43 million, respectively. This would represent flat funding for NIJ and BJS compared to their FY 2019 funding levels.
  • The House’s proposal would provide the Census Bureau with a total of $8.45 billion for FY 2020, which is $2.3 billion above the amount requested by the Administration and in line with the amount sought by the Census stakeholder community.

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

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Posted in Issue 11 (May 28), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

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