Blog Archives

National Academies Releases Resource on Communicating Newsworthy Social and Behavioral Science

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) have released a digital resource on how to communicate newsworthy social and behavioral science. The resource offers insights and strategies on a variety of communication topics including the concept of newsworthiness, differences of background between journalists and scientists, common challenges facing the media in reporting on science, and suggestions for scientists and journalists to consider when choosing to communicate science. The information imparted in the resource includes segments recorded from a Roundtable on Communication and Use of Social and Behavioral Science along with short checklists and testimonials from the roundtable’s panelists. The resource can be found on the National Academies’ website.

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Posted in Issue 25 (December 22), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

Day One Project Seeks Input on Top 100 Science Roles in Government

The Day One Project is seeking the science community’s input on the most important science and technology roles in government. An initiative of the Federation of American Scientists, the Day One Project seeks to involve the science and technology community in the presidential transition by “developing new proposals on key issues that can be useful to policymakers on the first day of a new presidential term and beyond.”

As part of an effort to identify the top 100 most important federal positions for science and technology, the project is seeking ideas for both what these roles are currently, as well as ideas for positions that could or should be created. In addition, the initiative is interested in identifying individuals who have the unique perspectives and scientific expertise necessary to fill these vital leadership roles.

Ideas must be submitted through Day One’s website by December 1, 2020.

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Posted in Issue 23 (November 24), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

AAAS Forum Focuses on COVID Impacts, Systemic Racism in Science

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) held its annual Science & Technology Policy Forum in a virtual format on October 13-14. The forum featured two days of panels and lectures focused on pressing policy issues facing the sciences. The majority of the first day’s sessions focused on how COVID-19 has impacted science and innovation, the essential role science has played in responding to the pandemic, and lessons that can be drawn from this experience to strengthen the science and technology enterprise going forward. The second day featured a number of sessions on confronting the dark history of racism in science as well as present inequities that continue to persist for people of color working in the sciences. Presenters identified ways the scientific community can move forward to earn back lost trust and to make the scientific enterprise a more equitable endeavor. More information on the sessions is available on the AAAS website, where recordings will be posted.

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Posted in Issue 21 (October 27), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

Research!America Requesting Proposals for 2020-2021 Microgrants

Research!America has announced that it is accepting proposals from graduate and postdoctoral-led science policy groups for the 2020-2021 round of microgrants funding projects connecting scientists with public policy experts. These grants aim to support early-career scientists with funding for civic science projects including virtual events, podcasts, data visualization projects, and startup funding. One microgrant track, the Science Meets Science track, pairs social scientists with scientists from other fields to fund interdisciplinary civic science projects. All early-career scientists selected for the microgrant program will have access to various science policy resources including webinar trainings, a formal science policy course, and participation in a science advocacy forum. Proposals for microgrants are due November 9. More information is available on the Research!America website.

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Posted in Issue 21 (October 27), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

CNSF Hosts Congressional Briefing on Undergraduate Learning During COVID-19

On October 22, the Coalition for National Science Funding (CNSF), of which COSSA is a member, hosted a virtual briefing for Congressional staffers on undergraduate learning during COVID-19 and how funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) can address gaps in learning. The briefing featured presentations from Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology at North Carolina A&T State University Adrienne Aiken Morgan and Assistant Vice Chancellor for Digital Innovation and Enterprise Learning at Northeastern University Kemi Jona. In addition, brief remarks were offered by Representatives G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) and Katherine Clark (D-CA). The briefing was moderated by Associate Executive Director of the American Mathematical Society Karen Saxe.

The presentations covered a wide range of relevant issues including the transition of education to remote learning, the importance of virtual internships, differences in equity and access for those seeking virtual internships, lessons learned from the current pandemic that can impact future crises, the role of mental health in affecting learning ability, and how remote learning affects historically Black colleges and universities differently than other institutions. In addition, the presenters highlighted social science as especially useful in informing policy changes to improve learning behaviors. A recording of the briefing will be posted by CNSF when available.

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Posted in Issue 21 (October 27), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

Get Out the Vote with “Vote Science Strong”

Research!America, a DC-based advocacy organization working in support of health and medical research, has partnered with several scientific organizations on a website aimed at equipping the scientific community with resources to help make informed decisions at the polls this November. Vote Science Strong seeks to make scientific research—across all domains—part of the conversation in this year’s elections. It includes several different tools to help scientists engage with candidates, such as through town hall meetings and social media, and includes factsheets on the benefits of research to various aspects of life. Help amplify science in this year’s elections by visiting Vote Science Strong and sharing the resources with your colleagues.

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Posted in Issue 20 (October 13), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

Symposium Highlights New Social Science Research on COVID-19

On October 9, the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education (DBASSE) at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in collaboration with COSSA, the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences, the Federation Associations in Behavioral and Brain Sciences, and SAGE Publishing held a seminar on “Responding to COVID-19: Emerging Insights from Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences.” The event included brief presentations from social scientists engaged in research on the impacts of COVID-19 and breakout sessions that paired these scientists and other experts with policymakers engaged in responding to the pandemic.

The first session, focused on education and health, began with a presentation from Dr. Abram Wagner, Research Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, who described his work on vaccine hesitancy in diverse communities and the potential implications for a COVID-19 vaccine. Dr. Roxane Cohen Silver, Professor of Psychological Science, Medicine, and Public Health at the University of California Irvine School of Social Ecology, shared her research on the collective trauma of COVID-19 and the association between stress and media coverage of the pandemic. Dr. Hirokazu Yoshikawa, Professor of Globalization and Education at NYU Steinhardt, discussed the research he has conducted on interventions to address educational disparities during the pandemic, such as integrating community supports and services into schools.

The second session featured research on the economy and workforce. It began with a presentation from Dr. Jeffrey C. Johnson, Professor of Anthropology at the University of Florida, who talked about the disruption on food supply chains and the ways the pandemic has reshaped the business models of independent restaurants and restaurant suppliers in particular. Dr. Enrica Ruggs, Assistant Professor of Management and the University of Memphis Fogelman College, shared details of her research on the ways the pandemic has impacted the working lives of people of color and other historically marginalized groups differently by exacerbating existing disparities. Lastly, Dr. Judy Chevalier, Professor of Finance and Economics at the Yale School of Management, shared details of her research using commercial cell phone data to follow the movements of nursing home staff and develop an understanding of the potential transmission networks between nursing homes.

A recording of the event will be made available on the National Academies website.

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Posted in Issue 20 (October 13), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

Sunshine Hillygus Delivers 2020 Henry and Bryna David Lecture on Young Voter Behavior

On October 5, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) featured Dr. Sunshine Hillygus as the 2020 Henry and Bryna David Lecturer. A political scientist from Duke University, Dr. Hillygus spoke on the participation of young voters in the United States and how current barriers and opportunities to mobilize young voters could shape the nature of U.S. elections.

The Henry and Bryna David Lecture honors a leading innovator in the behavioral and social sciences who is invited to deliver the eponymous lecture and publish an article in Issues in Science and Technology magazine based on that lecture. A video recording of the Henry and Bryna David Lecture will typically be available on the National Academies website within a few weeks after the event.

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Posted in Issue 20 (October 13), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

COSSA to Co-Host Symposium on “Responding to COVID-19: Emerging Insights from SBE Sciences”

COSSA is collaborating with the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education (DBASSE) at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences; the Federation of Associations in Behavioral and Brain Sciences; and SAGE Publishing to host a seminar bringing together policymakers and social science researchers working on pressing COVID-19 issues. The virtual event, “Responding to COVID-19: Emerging Insights from SBE Sciences” will take place on Friday, October 9 from 12:45-5:00 pm Eastern Time and will feature 3 public sessions highlighting emerging findings from policy-relevant social science research. More information on speakers and registration is available on the event website.

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Posted in Issue 19 (September 29), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

National Academies Leaders Raise Concern about Politicization of Science

On September 24, the presidents of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) issued a joint statement expressing concern about reported political interference in science related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The statement by Dr. Marcia McNutt, NAS, and Dr. Victor Dzau, NAM, reads:

“As advisers to the nation on all matters of science, medicine, and public health, we are compelled to underscore the value of science-based decision-making at all levels of government.  Our nation is at a critical time in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic with important decisions ahead of us, especially concerning the efficacy and safety of vaccines.  Policymaking must be informed by the best available evidence without it being distorted, concealed, or otherwise deliberately miscommunicated.  We find ongoing reports and incidents of the politicization of science, particularly the overriding of evidence and advice from public health officials and derision of government scientists, to be alarming.  It undermines the credibility of public health agencies and the public’s confidence in them when we need it most.  Ending the pandemic will require decision-making that is not only based on science but also sufficiently transparent to ensure public trust in, and adherence to, sound public-health instructions.  Any efforts to discredit the best science and scientists threaten the health and welfare of us all.”

You can follow COSSA’s COVID-19 coverage and access several resources at www.cossa.org/covid-19.

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Posted in Issue 19 (September 29), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

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