Blog Archives

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)

COSSA Submits FY 2020 Testimony to Senate Appropriations Committee in Support of Social Science Funding for NSF, Census, NIJ, and BJS

As it does each year, COSSA submitted outside witness testimony to the Congressional Appropriations subcommittees responsible for funding federal agencies important to the social sciences. COSSA submitted testimony to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies calling for increased funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Institute of Justice (NIJ), Bureau of Justice Statistics, and the Census Bureau in fiscal year (FY) 2020. All of COSSA’s FY 2020 testimony is posted on the COSSA website.

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Posted in Issue 10 (May 14), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

House Science Committee Holds Hearing on NSF Fiscal Year 2020 Budget Request

On May 8, the Research and Technology Subcommittee of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology held a hearing to discuss the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) budget request for fiscal year (FY) 2020. Witnesses included NSF Director Dr. France Córdova and National Science Board Chair Dr. Diane Souvaine.

Research and Technology Subcommittee Chairwoman Haley Stevens (D-MI) presided over the hearing and used her opening statement to highlight the accomplishments of NSF and its important role as the only federal agency that supports basic research across all disciplines of science. She also drew attention to the fact that NSF serves as the primary source of federal research funds for some disciplines, including social science. Stevens further expressed appreciation for NSF’s commitment to the Ten Big Ideas Initiative but noted concern about the balance between supporting the Big Ideas and NSF’s core research portfolio.

Drs. Córdova and Souvaine highlighted the Ten Big Ideas and the importance of convergent research in their testimony. Additional topics discussed by members of the subcommittee and NSF leadership included social and behavioral dimensions of artificial intelligence research, preventing sexual harassment in science, and effective partnerships with the private sector.

Unlike in NSF budget hearings of the past few years, Republicans and Democrats joined together to applaud NSF’s support of basic research and to raise concern about the Administration’s proposal to decrease the NSF’s budget by nearly a billion dollars. The full hearing can be viewed on the Committee’s website.

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Posted in Issue 10 (May 14), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

National Science Board Accepting Nominations

Nominations are being sought for new members of the National Science Board (NSB), the policy-making body of the National Science Foundation (NSF) that also serves as an independent advisor to the President and Congress on federal science policy. The Board consists of 24 members who serve staggered six-year terms, with the NSF director serving as a 25th ex officio member. Nominations are considered by the NSB, which makes recommendations to the White House and new members of the Board are appointed by the President. For the incoming class of 2020-2026, the NSB is particularly interested in individuals with expertise in enterprise risk management, sociology, applied math and statistics, STEM education, among others. The complete list and other selection criteria are available in the NSB’s Dear Colleague letter. More information on the nomination process is available on the NSB website. Nominations are due by May 31, 2019.

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Posted in Issue 10 (May 14), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

NSF Convergence Accelerator Seeks Next Topics

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has released a request for information (RFI) on future topics for the NSF Convergence Accelerator. The Convergence Accelerator is a new capability within NSF to accelerate use-inspired, convergence research in areas of national importance via partnerships between academic and non-academic stakeholders and is currently focusing on the Big Ideas of Future of Work at the Human-Technology Frontier (FW-HTF) and Harnessing the Data Revolution (HDR). The main purpose of this RFI is to seek ideas for future NSF Convergence Accelerator tracks. NSF seeks suggestions for future tracks that build on the foundational research developed by the HDR and FW-HTF Big Ideas that should be suitable for a multidisciplinary, convergence research approach, should address a grand challenge problem, and should have the potential to leverage partnerships between industry and academic researchers. Researchers and other stakeholders at higher education institutions, industry, non-profits and government entities are all invited to submit concepts for future NSF Convergence Accelerator tracks.

More information about the RFI can be found in the NSF’s Dear Colleague letter. More information about the Convergence Accelerator can be found on the NSF’s website.

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Posted in Issue 10 (May 14), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

NSF Seeks Nominations for Advisory Committees

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has issued its annual call for recommendations for membership to its various advisory committees and technical boards. These committees advise NSF’s offices and directorates on program management, research direction, and policies impacting the agency.  Committees of particular interest to the COSSA community include the Advisory Committee for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences and the Advisory Committee for Education and Human Resources. Guidelines for recommendations and committee contact information can be found here. Recommendations for membership are maintained for 12 months.

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Posted in Issue 9 (April 30), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

Congressional Appropriators Get to Work; NSF Director Testifies

Following the release of the Administration’s fiscal year (FY) 2020 budget request, Congressional leaders have gotten to work on spending bills for the coming fiscal year. As COSSA has previously reported, Congress must first address the limits to discretionary spending (“raise the caps”) before they can complete the FY 2020 appropriations process. Congress has until the end of September to finalize all government spending. COSSA has signed onto a letter as part of the Coalition for National Science Funding (CNSF) to encourage Congress to raise the caps on discretionary spending.

While Congress has yet to reach a broader budget deal to address the caps on discretionary spending, Appropriations Subcommittees have started reviewing federal agencies’ budget requests as the first step in the appropriations process.

Last week, the House Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Subcommittee (CJS) received testimony from France Córdova, the Director of the National Science Foundation, on the agency’s FY 2020 budget request. In her prepared statement, Director Córdova emphasized NSF’s Ten Big Ideas and the many contributions that NSF-funded research has made to the everyday lives of Americans – from iPhone and search engine technology to Doppler radar and American Sign Language adoption.  Members of the subcommittee expressed concern about the proposed twelve percent decrease for the agency in FY 2020, and how the agency was going to balance the rest of their research portfolio while investing in the Ten Big Ideas. Members of the subcommittee also highlighted the importance of social science in relation to the priorities of the NSF, including artificial intelligence, and their own priorities, including program evaluation, STEM education, and economic opportunity. Other topics of discussion included NSF investment in scientific infrastructure and broadening participation in STEM. An archive of the hearing can be viewed on the House Appropriations Committee website.

Leaders from the National Institutes of Health and the Census Bureau are scheduled to testify this week. For more information on Appropriations hearings and bills follow the COSSA Washington Update.

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Posted in Issue 7 (April 2), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

NSF Releases Dear Colleague on Research on Sexual Harassment in STEM

The National Science Foundation (NSF) released a Dear Colleague Letter on March 29 highlighting NSF’s continued support for competitive research that advances fundamental knowledge about the nature and underlying dynamics of sexual and other forms of harassment and the evaluation of harassment prevention in research, STEM, and workplace settings. The letter outlines that NSF has designated liaisons for harassment research in their research directorates and offices to help potential grantees determine whether a research idea is within the scope of the Dear Colleague Letter and appropriate for existing programs at NSF. The letter also includes several potential research foci in the social and behavioral sciences including understanding the underlying social and behavioral process, mechanisms for assessing and evaluating harassment prevalence and prevention, and the nature and dynamics of harassment.

More information can be found on the NSF website.

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Posted in Issue 7 (April 2), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

National Science Foundation Invites Participation in Convergence Accelerator Pilot

In a Dear Colleague letter released on March 18, the National Science Foundation (NSF) invited interested parties to participate in the NSF Convergence Accelerator Pilot. The NSF Convergence Accelerators Pilot seeks to accelerate use-inspired convergence research in areas of national importance by facilitating convergent team-building capacity around exploratory, potentially high-risk proposals. The Pilot seeks proposals to support fundamental research while encouraging rapid advances through partnerships that include, or will include, multiple stakeholders in three research tracks aligned with two of the NSF Ten Big Ideas. The three research tracks are: Open Knowledge Network (as part of the Harnessing the Data Revolution Big Idea), AI and the Future of Jobs (as part of the Future of Work at the Human-Technology Frontier Big Idea), and National Talent Ecosystem (as part of the Future of Work at the Human-Technology Frontier Big Idea).

The submission of a Research Concept Outline is due April 15, with full proposals due by June 3.  NSF will host two webinars, on March 27 and April 3, to answer questions about the submission process and the Convergence Accelerator program more broadly. More information about the Convergence Accelerator program is available on the NSF website.

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Posted in Issue 6 (March 19), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

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