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White House Outlines FY 2022 R&D Budget Priorities

On August 14, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) issued a memorandum laying out the Trump Administration’s research and development budget (R&D) priorities for fiscal year (FY) 2022. The memo cites five key White House priorities and four “high-priority crosscutting actions” for U.S. federal agencies to consider as they develop their FY 2022 budget submissions.

While the FY 2022 memo shares similar priorities to R&D memos from previous fiscal years, a notable difference is the inclusion of public health security and innovation as a priority in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The five budgetary priorities listed in the memo are:

  1. Public Health Security and Innovation
  2. Leadership in the Industries of the Future and Related Technologies
  3. Security
  4. Energy and Environmental Leadership
  5. Space Leadership

The memo also includes four “high-priority crosscutting actions” for federal agencies to better meet the budgetary priorities listed above. These four actions are:

  1. Build the S&T Workforce of the Future
  2. Optimize Research Environments and Results
  3. Facilitate Multisector Partnerships and Technology Transfer
  4. Leverage the Power of Data

Additional details can be found in the memorandum.

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Posted in Issue 17 (September 1), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

PCAST Holds Virtual Meeting, Swears in New Members from Academia

On June 30, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) held a virtual meeting during which two new members of PCAST were sworn in. Abraham “Avi” Loeb, Professor and Chair of the Department of Astronomy at Harvard University, and Daniela Rus, Director of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, were sworn in after being nominated in April amid discussions that new PCAST nominees would represent academia given that representatives from industry have already been appointed (see previous COSSA coverage for more details).

Much of the meeting was dedicated to discussing recommendations for the Administration’s Industries of the Future (IotF) initiative, which include strategically important tech industries such as quantum and artificial intelligence. The meeting focused on four main discussions:

  • Enhancing multi-sector engagement in IotF research and innovation;
  • Meeting national needs for a diverse, multi-sector IotF workforce;
  • New models of engagement for national laboratories; and
  • Students, post-doctoral scholars, and early career professionals in IotF.

More information about PCAST, presentation slides, and the meeting agenda can be found on the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science website.

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Posted in Issue 14 (July 7), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

White House Announces Appointments for PCAST and NSB

On April 20, the White House announced the appointment of several individuals for key positions in the Administration including two seats on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) and four seats on the National Science Board (NSB), the advisory body to the National Science Foundation (NSF). This wave of nominations for PCAST follows an announcement from White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) Director and PCAST Chair Kelvin Droegemeier that several future PCAST nominees would come from academia rather than industry (read previous COSSA coverage for more details). The two nominees for PCAST are:

  • Abraham “Avi” Loeb, Professor and Chair of the Department of Astronomy at Harvard University
  • Daniela Rus, Director of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The four nominees for the NSB are:

  • Aaron Dominguez, Provost and Professor of Physics at the Catholic University of America
  • Dario Gil, Chief of Research at IBM
  • Sudarsanam Babu, Professor and Chair of Advanced Manufacturing at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • Roger Beachy, President of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center

Roger Beachy currently serves on the NSB and has been reappointed for a second term while the three other appointees would be new members of the advisory body. Since there are eight members with expiring terms on the NSB this year, four more appointments have yet to be announced.

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Posted in Issue 9 (April 22), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

OSTP Director Kelvin Droegemeier Named Acting NSF Director

Kelvin Droegemeier, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), has been named the acting director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) until the Senate confirms a permanent successor to the previous NSF Director, France Córdova. Córdova finished her six-year term heading the agency in March 2020 (see previous COSSA coverage for more details). The White House announced the nomination of Sethuraman Panchanathan as NSF Director in January 2020, however the timeline for the Senate to consider Panchanathan’s nomination has been made unclear by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Prior to his tenure as OSTP Director, Droegemeier served two terms on the National Science Board, the governing body for NSF, and nearly a decade as vice president for research for the University of Oklahoma. The news release can be found on the NSF website.

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Posted in Issue 8 (April 14), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

Work on FY 2021 Appropriations Slows as Congress Works to Address Coronavirus Outbreak

While it is expected that Congress will soon put its regular appropriations work on hold as work shifts to address the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, committees have begun hearing testimony from Trump Administration officials on federal agencies’ budget proposals for fiscal year 2021. White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) Director Kelvin Droegemeier testified in front of the House Science Committee on the Administration’s budget for research and development (see previous coverage), NIH leadership testified before the House Appropriations Committee (see related article), and Department of Commerce leadership testified before the House and Senate Appropriations Committees. No appropriations bills have been released or considered by the Committees. As the process moves forward—if it moves forward—COSSA will produce analyses of the proposals important to the social and behavioral sciences.

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Posted in Issue 6 (March 17), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

OSTP Requests Information on Open Access in Peer-Reviewed Publications

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) released a request for information on the implications of open access to peer-reviewed publications and data resulting from federally funded research. The request is intended to follow up on a 2013 memorandum from OSTP titled Increasing Access to the Results of Federally Funded Scientific Research and a 2019 report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) providing recommendations for increasing public access of unclassified published research.

OSTP is most interested in hearing perspectives on the following topics:

  • The existing limitations of communicating research outputs and how to improve communications;
  • The role of federal agencies in making federally funded research freely accessible and in engaging with other sectors to achieve these goals;
  • The benefits towards American science and competitiveness that are provided by immediate access to federally funded research and potential challenges in those areas; and
  • Any additional information relevant to Federal policy on public access to research.

OSTP will accept comments through March 16, 2020.  Lisa Nichols, OSTP’s Assistant Director for Academic Engagement, is leading this effort and will be the featured presenter during COSSA’s members-only Headlines webchat on March 12. COSSA members can RSVP here.

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Posted in Issue 5 (March 3), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

March’s Headlines Webchat to Feature OSTP Assistant Director for Academic Engagement

headlines bannerCOSSA members are encouraged to sign up for the monthly Headlines webchat on Thursday, March 12. The COSSA team will break down the most important social and behavioral science news from the past month and answer your questions. The February chat will feature a deep dive discussion with Dr. Lisa Nichols, Assistant Director for Academic Engagement at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). 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 3), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

House Science Committee Holds Hearing on FY 2021 Research and Development Budget Request

On February 27, the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology held a hearing to review the Administration’s fiscal year (FY) 2021 budget request for research and development (see COSSA’s analysis of the President’s budget request). Dr. Kelvin Droegemeier, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), was the committee’s only witness and discussed the administration’s priorities across federal science agencies.

Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) expressed concern for proposed cuts to research funding at the National Science foundation (NSF), NASA, the Department of Energy, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). In her opening statement, she shared that the cuts appear to be driven by an ideology in the administration that “aggressively seeks to undermine faith in science and scientists and to discount expertise at all levels of government and society.” Her fellow Democrats echoed these concerns, particularly around cuts to the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA-E), the role of OSTP in federal rulemaking, and the prioritization of certain programs at the expense of others within agencies, including human space flight at NASA and computer science at NSF.

Committee Ranking Member Frank Lucas (R-OK) commended Dr. Droegemeier for prioritizing the security of U.S. research and research into so-called “industries of the future”— including artificial intelligence and 5G — in the FY 2021 research and development budget. Republicans inquired about the implementation of the Securing American Science and Technology Act and the activities of the Joint Committee on the Research Environment (JCORE). A recording of the hearing, along with Dr. Droegemeier and Chairwoman Johnson’s open statements are available on the Science Committee’s website. Ranking Member Lucas’ opening statement is available on the Science Committee Republican’s website.

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Posted in Issue 5 (March 3), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

COSSA Responds to JCORE RFI

In response to a request for information (RFI) from the Joint Committee on the Research Environment (JCORE) (see previous coverage), COSSA submitted a collection of resources produced by its member associations relevant to JCORE’s four primary areas of interest: (1) Research Rigor and Integrity; (2) Coordinating Administrative Requirements for Research; (3) Research Security; and (4) Safe and Inclusive Research Environments. As COSSA’s letter states, “Given [the social sciences’] focus on the human condition across multiple scales, it is not surprising that our sciences have a lot to say about the topics of interest to JCORE.” The document is intended to inform the Trump Administration’s work in these important areas as well as communicate the expertise that already exists within many social and behavioral science fields. The letter is available on COSSA’s website.

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Posted in Issue 3 (February 4), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

OSTP Requests Feedback on Data Repositories and Data Sharing

The While House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) issued a Request for Public Comment on January 17 on Draft Desirable Characteristics of Repositories for Managing and Sharing Data Resulting from Federally Funded Research. The request, published in the Federal Register, was issued on behalf of the multi-agency Subcommittee on Open Science of the National Science and Technology Council’s Committee on Science. The proposed set of desirable characteristics are intended to improve the consistency of information that federal agencies provide to the scientific community about the long-term preservation of data resulting from federally funded research.

The Subcommittee on Open Science will use the feedback to develop a common set of characteristics that federal research funding agencies can use to improve the management and sharing of data from federally funded research. Comments are due by March 6, 2020. The full Request for Comment can be read in the Federal Register.

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Posted in Issue 2 (January 21), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

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