Blog Archives

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)

OSTP Seeks Input on Research Environment

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) has issued a request for information (RFI) on the research environment. Comments will be used to inform the work of the Joint Committee on the Research Environment (JCORE), a committee of the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC). JCORE was established in May 2019 and comprises four subcommittees: (1) Research Rigor and Integrity; (2) Coordinating Administrative Requirements for Research; (3) Research Security; and (4) Safe and Inclusive Research Environments (see previous coverage).

The request asks for information on actions that Federal agencies can take, working in partnership with private industry, academic institutions, and non-profit/philanthropic organizations, to maximize the quality and effectiveness of the American research environment across JCORE’s four main areas. More information on the specific questions JCORE is seeking feedback on are available in the Federal Register notice. Comments are due by 11:59 pm ET on December 23, 2019.

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Posted in Issue 24 (December 10), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

White House Hosts Summit of the Joint Committee on the Research Environment

The Joint Committee on the Research Environment (JCORE), a committee of the National Science and Technology Council, hosted a White House Summit in Washington, DC on November 5. JCORE was established in May 2019 and, as COSSA has reported, is working to address some of the most pressing challenges facing America’s research and scientific community. COSSA, along with other members of the scientific community, attended and discussed topics including administrative burdens on federally funded research; rigor and integrity in research; and safe, inclusive, and equitable research settings. Representatives from industry, academia, and senior officials from the National Institutes of Health, Department of State, National Security Agency, National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, Department of Agriculture, U.S. Patent and Trade Office, Department of Defense, and National Institute of Standards and Technology also attended. Following the summit, JCORE released a summary including key takeaways in the areas of transparency, integrity, workload and coordination. COSSA will be closely following the work of JCORE; watch for COSSA’s coverage over the coming weeks and months.

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Posted in Issue 22 (November 12), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

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