Blog Archives

National Academies Holds Meetings on the Future of Education Research at IES

On July 7 and 8, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) convened the second and third meetings of the panel on the Future of Education Research at the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) in the U.S. Department of Education (see previous COSSA coverage for more background). While much of these meetings consisted of closed-door sessions, there were three open, public sessions discussing a variety of topics related to the methods and measures used in education research, on the impact of investments in education research, and on training and retaining future talent in the education research enterprise.

The first open session on Methods and Measures in Education Research discussed the infrastructure of IES and the methods it uses to support research. Discussion from the panelists covered how research methods and assessment in education research at IES may change, including the increased importance of data science, a heightened emphasis on diversity and equity in education science, and an acknowledgement of the challenges of IES’ grant cycles being infrequent, lengthy, and lacking in interdisciplinarity. There was also a discussion about interdisciplinary science and the “need to also make space for innovative proposals that don’t neatly fit into one of the existing goals.”

The second open session on Understanding and Assessing Impact of Education Research Investments, which included panel discussions about the role of education research in impacting public policy, practice in the classroom, and the expected timeline of impact of research investments, led to a focus on investment in education research to change the research enterprise and research policy for the better. Equity in education also came up as a major priority and how to measure the impact of research on equity and improve diversity and inclusion in education and research environments.

The third open session on Training and Retaining the Next Generation of Education Researchers focused on building strong career pathways for training professionals in areas of education research, including fostering research on career development in these research areas. Panelists also noted potential barriers for young people to enter professions in education research and the importance of increasing diversity in the education research workforce.

More information about the panels is available on the NASEM website.

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Posted in Issue 15 (July 20), Update, Volume 40 (2021)

National Academies Release Report on Rental Evictions and COVID-19

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) have released a new consensus study report titled Rental Eviction and the COVID-19 Pandemic: Averting a Looming Crisis, which addresses the impending expiration of the federal moratorium on rental evictions on July 21, imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The report offers a set of recommendations to be taken over the next three years to address the impacts of housing instability caused by the pandemic. The report also recommends the establishment of a task force in the Executive Office of the President to prevent rental evictions and housing instability.  Some of the recommendations include:

  • Harnessing existing social programs to connect renters with financial and legal assistance.
  • Providing assistance to renters in traditionally marginalized communities.
  • Expanding social safety net programs during and beyond the pandemic.
  • Improving data collection and reporting to better understand eviction.
  • Commissioning research on housing instability.
  • Increasing the availability of housing choice vouchers and housing search support.
  • Reducing discriminatory housing practices and systemic housing inequities.

The report is available on the NASEM website.

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Posted in Issue 14 (July 6), Update, Volume 40 (2021)

National Academies Holds DEI Summit

On June 29 and 30, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) held a summit to address the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in 21st century science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine (STEMM) organizations. The summit took place over the course of two days with discussions revolving around how systemic racism affects individuals of underrepresented racial and ethnic group in STEMM careers and how to implement strategies and policies that will advance diversity in STEMM environments and organizations.

The first day included discussions on the systemic and structural nature of racism and bias, diving into the historical context for racism in the U.S., the importance of diversity, and institutional practices/patterns of behavior. Victor Dzau of the National Academy of

Medicine (NAM) began by stating, “We need to develop and implement the best practices drawing from research and partnering with fields such as social psychology, industrial organizational psychology, business, and human resources.” This led to a discussion on how changing the rhetoric on these issues is a start, but it will take institutions truly committing themselves to change for real progress to be made. The general consensus of the panelists was that it is crucial to understand the U.S.’s past of racism and inequality to set us on a path forward within STEMM to ensure history does not repeat itself.

The second day focused on how we can move the system forward by exploring the importance of diversity, efforts of the National Academies to date, and other approaches institutions have taken along with the limitations of those approaches. Panelists began by discussing that to optimize some of our nation’s best resources, it is necessary to create environments where all scientists are treated fairly and inclusively. With this, Eliseo J. Pérez Stable of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) noted that to properly implement this kind of equity, one must think about structure and power. All speakers agreed that real change will take a multitude of people and ideas working together to not just discuss but to take real action.

More information is available on the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) website.

This article was contributed by COSSA’s summer intern, Lillian Chmielewska of the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

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Posted in Issue 14 (July 6), Update, Volume 40 (2021)

New National Academies Guidance Offers Resources for Serving Homeless Communities During Disasters and COVID-19

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Societal Experts Action Network (SEAN) (see COSSA’s previous coverage) has published new guidance on Addressing Disaster Vulnerability Among Homeless Populations During COVID-19. The guidance is intended to help policymakers support homeless populations before, during, and after a disaster in the context of COVID-19. According to the guidance, “Understanding the unique challenges of disaster preparedness among homeless communities and the strain on support services caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is critical for effectively planning for and carrying out emergency services and sheltering for homeless populations in the context of COVID-19 and disasters.” The new resource is available as an interactive web tool and as a report on the National Academies website.

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Posted in Issue 13 (June 22), Update, Volume 40 (2021)

National Academies Holds Workshop on Ontologies for Behavioral Science

On May 24th, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) Committee on Accelerating Behavioral Science Through Ontology Development and Use (see previous coverage) held its first virtual workshop, “Why Are Ontologies and How Are They Used in Science?” which explored questions about the classification systems and knowledge structures that scientific disciplines use to establish shared labels, definitions, and frameworks. The workshop was spent establishing what ontologies are philosophically and how scientists usefully apply them into their work as well as discussing current ontologies, such as Research Domain Criteria (RDoC), which has been slowly implemented at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to encourage research on mental disorders and co-morbidities. Members of the panel made note that while there can never be a singular ontology for the behavioral sciences, the goal of the committee is to encourage the creation and utilization of ontologies to make research creation, evaluation, reproduction, and clinical application more efficient and well-rounded. More information is available on the Committee website.

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Posted in Issue 12 (June 8), Update, Volume 40 (2021)

AAAS Fellows to Host Symposium on COVID-19 & Health Inequities

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science and Technology Policy Fellows will host a day-long symposium addressing “Health Inequities Exposed and Exacerbated by the COVID-19 Pandemic’” on Wednesday, June 30, 2021. The symposium will feature expert panels on healthcare access, health literacy, and the long-term social, behavioral, and economic impacts of COVID-19 mitigation efforts. More information about the symposium is available here.

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Posted in Issue 12 (June 8), Update, Volume 40 (2021)

COSSA Joins Science Organizations Highlighting Diversity in STEM on “WMPD Day”

On May 12, scientific organizations, including COSSA, the Federation of Associations in Behavioral Brain Sciences, and SAGE Publishing, will observe “Understanding Diversity in STEM: WMPD Day.” The event takes its name from the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics’ (NCSES) biannual report: Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering. Organizations will hold events throughout the day to recognize, celebrate, and build on the contributions of women, minorities, and person with disabilities in the STEM enterprise. Scheduled activities include a kickoff event with experts from NCSES to discuss the most recent WMPD report (11 AM ET), a mid-day event from FABBS on LGBTQ+ and Multiracial Demographics in WMPD (1PM ET), and a closing event from the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University and SAGE Publishing on building a more diverse and dynamic STEM workforce (4PM ET). A complete list of events is available on the WMPD Day website.

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Posted in Issue 10 (May 11), Update, Volume 40 (2021)

New SEAN Guidance Offers Strategies for Communicating About Vaccine Efficacy

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Societal Experts Action Network (SEAN) (see COSSA’s previous coverage) has published a new guidance on Understanding and Communicating Vaccine Efficacy and Effectiveness. The guidance is intended to help public officials prepare and evaluate their communications efforts around vaccination. It is available as an interactive web tool, with highlights on Communicating Vaccine Efficacy and on Communicating About Efficacy and Effectiveness in the Context of Equity in Covid-19 Vaccine Distribution, as well as a full report on the National Academies website.

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Posted in Issue 9 (April 27), Update, Volume 40 (2021)

National Academies Launches “Hauser Policy Impact Fund” with Webinar Series

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education (DBASSE) has launched a new initiative, the Hauser Policy Impact Fund. The fund, named for longtime (now retired) DBASSE Executive Director Bob Hauser, aims to ensure that social science analysis and synthesis has a better chance to guide informed policy decisions. The activity will begin with a webinar series featuring three issues at the forefront of current policy discussions and that have diversity, equity, and inclusion as a central focus. Each webinar will feature policy and research experts as well as discuss policy implications from relevant DBASSE reports. The first webinar, on immigration, will take place on April 19. More information is available on the National Academies website.

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Posted in Issue 8 (April 13), Update, Volume 40 (2021)

CNSTAT Releases Seventh Edition of Principles & Practices for a Federal Statistical Agency

The Committee on National Statistics (CNSTAT) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has released a pre-publication version of the seventh edition of Principles and Practices for a Federal Statistical Agency, a report released every four years to coincide with presidential terms. The consensus study report provides an explanation of the federal statistical system and offers guiding principles and best practices for federal statistical agencies. The report outlines five guiding principles federal statistical agencies should adhere to in order to produce and disseminate relevant, timely, accurate and credible information to the public and policymakers: (1) produce information relevant to policy issues and society, (2) maintain credibility among data users and stakeholders, (3) build trust among the public and data providers, (4) retain independence from political and other undue external influence, and (5) pursue continual improvement and innovation. CNSTAT will hold a webinar on April 21 to celebrate the report’s release.

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Posted in Issue 7 (March 30), Update, Volume 40 (2021)

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