November 17, 2014      Volume 33, Issue 21

In This Issue
More Questions than Answers Following Midterm Elections
COSSA & Partners Urge Congress to Complete FY 2015 Omnibus Spending Bill
Scientific Community to Congress: Close the Innovation Deficit
Congress Returns for Lame Duck Session
Aging and Mental Health Institutes Seeks Comments on Draft Strategic Plans
NSF Releases Report on Women, Minorities and Persons with Disabilities in Science
White House Releases Issues Report on Expanding Opportunity and Addressing Unique Challenges Facing Women and Girls of Color
Policy Roundtable Seminar Focuses on Stimulating Innovation in Government
IOM Recommends Including Social/Behavioral Determinants in Electronic Health Records
Academies Board Seeks Nominations for "How People Learn II" Study Committee
NIH: Cancer Prevention, Control, Behavioral Sciences, and Population Sciences Career Development Award
APSA Releases Report on Improving Perception of Political Science
Pedro Noguera Receives SAGE-CASBS Award


More Questions than Answers Following Midterm Elections

Following last week's midterm Congressional elections, Republicans have gained control of both chambers of Congress when the 114th Congress is seated in January. Congress returned last week for the start of a month and a half-long lame duck session. On their plate includes must-pass legislation such as the fiscal year (FY) 2015 appropriations bills and defense authorization bill. However, with the party calculus significantly changed starting next year, action on spending bills and other legislative issues in the lame duck will be all but easy. See the articles that follow for more information.

One thing is for certain-membership on and leadership of Congressional committees important to the COSSA community will change next year. The graphics below provide a preliminary snapshot of the vacancies on relevant committees resulting from the election. What is not shown, however, is the total number of seats Democrats will lose as a result of the new Senate Republican majority; it remains unclear at this time how the majority and minority seats will be divvied up next year, which is expected to result in fewer seats for Democrats on Senate committees.



COSSA will continue to report on the appointments to Congressional committees in the 114th Congress.


COSSA & Partners Urge Congress to Complete FY 2015 Omnibus Spending Bill

On November 12, COSSA joined the biomedical and behavioral science community in signing the Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research letter to Congress. The letter, which was signed by 303 organizations, urges Congress to "complete an omnibus spending package [that] includes a Labor-HHS-Education bill that restores funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to at least pre-sequestration levels." The letter also notes, "An omnibus spending bill with a Labor-HHS appropriation restoring NIH to at least pre-sequester funding levels would mark an important step toward a more sustainable, predictable research environment for patients and their families, as well as for those working to address disease. It also would be a step in the right direction to close the innovation deficit."


On November 14, COSSA joined its partners in the Coalition for National Science Funding (CNSF) on a letter similarly urging Congress to appropriate sustainable funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF) in a FY 2015 omnibus bill.

Scientific Community to Congress: Close the Innovation Deficit 

On November 12, COSSA joined 133 partners throughout the scientific, higher education, business and patient communities on a letter to Congress urging passage of an omnibus fiscal year (FY) 2015 appropriations bills addresses the "innovation deficit" by including increased investments for scientific research and higher education. As the letter states, "the innovation deficit is the widening gap between the actual level of federal government funding for research and higher education and what the investment needs to be if the United States is to remain the world's innovation leader... [T]oday, our leadership faces a serious challenge from other nations that are rapidly increasing their investments in these critical areas while our own spending lags."

Congressional News

Congress Returns for Lame Duck Session 

Congress returned to Washington on November 12 for the start of the post-election lame duck session. Among the must-pass actions in this lame duck session are the fiscal year (FY) 2015 appropriations bills. The current continuing resolution (CR) that has kept the federal government in operation since the start of the fiscal year on October 1 expires on December 11. Leadership and staff of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees have been working behind the scenes on an omnibus bill that would package all twelve of the unpassed appropriations measures into a single package. The goal is to bring the bill to the floor in the House and Senate during the week of December 8, prior to the expiration of the CR. However, support on this approach from rank-and-file members of both parties appears to be waiting on the details of the bill. Other issues-such as impending Executive action on immigration-could further complicate the final negotiations on an FY 2015 appropriations package. Another short-term CR may be in the offing to avoid another government shutdown after December 11. See the articles above for recent COSSA action on FY 2015 funding.

FEderal Agency & Administration News

Aging and Mental Health Institutes Seek Comments on Draft Strategic Plans

The National Institute on Aging (NIA) and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) are each seeking public comment on the development of their respective strategic plans. The plans will guide the Institutes' research priorities.

Read on for details.

NSF Releases Report on Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science

The National Science Foundation's National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES) has released its biennial report, Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering, which provides statistical details on women, minorities, and persons with disabilities in science and engineering education and employment. The data in the 2013 Digest, which is released every two years as mandated by the Science and Engineering Equal Opportunities Act (Public Law 96-516), are publicly accessible online and organized by the following themes: enrollment, field of degree, employment status, occupation, academic employment, and persons with disabilities.

White House Issues Report on Expanding Opportunity and Addressing Challenges Facing Women and Girls of Color

On November 13, the White House Council on Women and Girls (CWG) released a report, Women and Girls of Color: Addressing Challenges and Expanding Opportunity. The Council is chaired by Valerie Jarrett. The report highlights the tremendous achievements women of color have made; it also examines the inequities and "distinct" challenges facing women of color and looks at efforts underway to close the gaps in educational outcomes, pay, career opportunity, and health disparities, among other areas.


Created by President Obama within his first two months of taking office, the CWG's mandate is to "ensure that every agency, department and office in the federal government takes into account the needs and aspirations of women and girls in every aspect of their work."


As part of its efforts to address the barriers and disparities that still exist for many Americans and many women and girls of color in particular, the Council is convening a Working Group on Challenges and Opportunities for Women and Girls of Color. The Working Group will include policy staff from the White House and across the federal agencies. It will also include experts, leaders, and advocates from outside the government to focus on such issues as education, economic security, health, criminal and juvenile justice, violence, and research and data collection.

PUblications & Community events

Policy Roundtable Seminar Focuses on Stimulating Innovation in Government

The National Academies' Policy Roundtable of the Behavioral and Social Sciences held a seminar on October 30 focused on "Stimulating Effective Innovation in Government." The Roundtable is chaired by David T. Ellwood of the Harvard Kennedy School and, beginning in 2015, will be directed by Arlene Lee, Director of the Committee on Law and Justice. For more on the Roundtable, see COSSA's coverage of its last meeting.


Roundtable members are government users and producers of social and behavioral science research and behavioral social and scientists who have spent time in the government (the list of members is available on the Academies' website). It provides a forum to "explore ways in which the behavioral and social sciences can better inform and otherwise contribute to more effective and efficient policies and programs of government." The seminar highlighted several current and past government efforts to implement innovative policies and programs.

Those interested in the Roundtable may also find the recent National Research Council report Furthering America's Research Enterprise of interest (as well as COSSA's coverage of the report).

Read on for more on the seminar.

IOM Recommends Including Social/Behavioral Determinants in Electronic Health Records

On November 13, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released Capturing Social and Behavioral Domains and Measures in Electronic Health Records: Phase 2, which recommends a "concrete approach to including social and behavioral determinants in the clinical context to increase clinical awareness of the patient's state, broadly considered, and to connect clinical, public health, and community resources for work in concert." The report's recommendations takes into consideration the "substantial empirical evidence of the contribution of social and behavioral factors to functional status and the onset, progression, and effective treatment of disease [that] has accumulated over the past four decades."


The study was conducted by IOM's Committee on the Recommended Social and Behavioral Domains and Measures for Electronic Health Records within the Board on Population Health and Public Health Practice. Nancy Adler, University of California, San Francisco, and William Stead, Vanderbilt University, served as its co-chairs and brought together social and behavioral scientists with clinical and public health practitioners and information technology experts.


Read on for more details.

Academies Board Seeks Nominations for "How People Learn II" Study Committee


The National Academies' Board on Behavioral, Cognitive, and Sensory Sciences (BBCSS) is seeking nominations for individuals to serve on the study committee for a new project, "How People Learn II: The Science and Practice of Learning." The study, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, will build on the 2000 National Research Council report How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School "by reviewing and synthesizing research that has emerged across the various disciplines that focus on the study of learning from birth through adulthood in both formal and informal settings."


BBCSS is particularly interested in individuals with experience in cognitive science, learning theory, cognitive neuroscience, learning sciences, educational psychology, workforce development, language and linguistics, culture and diversity, educational assessment, and education technology. Nominations should consist of the candidate's name, affiliation, contact information, area(s) of expertise, and a brief statement on why he or she is relevant to the study topic. Nominations should be sent to Tina Winters at by November 30, 2014. More information is available on the BBCSS website.

FUnding Opportunities

NIH:  Cancer Prevention, Control, Behavioral Sciences, and Population Sciences Career Development Award


The National Cancer Institute (NCI) recently issued a funding opportunity announcement, Cancer Prevention, Control, Behavioral Sciences, and Population Sciences Career Development Award (PAR-15-033). The award supports the career development of junior investigators with research or health professional doctoral degrees who want to become cancer-focused academic researchers in cancer prevention, cancer control, or the behavioral or population sciences. The award provides salary and mentored research support for a sustained period of "protected time" to junior investigators who are interested in developing academic and research expertise in these health-related fields. NCI will contribute up to $100,000 per year toward the salary of the career award recipient and $30,000 per year toward research development costs.


For more information or to apply see the NIH website.

COSSA Member Spotlight

APSA Releases Report on Improving Perception of Political Science

The American Political Science Association (APSA), a COSSA governing member, has published a report entitled Improving Public Perceptions of Political Science's Value. The report was written by a task force chaired by Arthur Lupia, University of Michigan (a member of COSSA's Board of Directors), charged with identifying ways APSA and its members can better explain to the public, policymakers, and the media the contributions political science makes to society. This project comes in the wake of several high-profile attacks by policymakers on the discipline, notably Sen. Tom Coburn's successful attempt to restrict funding of political science projects at the National Science Foundation (NSF) in 2013.

Read on for more on the report.

Pedro Noguera Receives SAGE-CASBS Award

The Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University (CASBS), a COSSA member, and SAGE Publications have named Pedro Noguera, New York University, as the 2014 recipient of the SAGE-CASBS award. Now in its second year, the SAGE-CASBS award recognizes "outstanding achievement in advancing the understanding of the behavioral and social sciences as they are applied to pressing social issues." Noguera, a sociologist, is being recognized for his work on "how schools are influenced by social and economic conditions as well as by demographic trends in local, regional and global contexts." More here.

Events Calendar


Webinar: Producing Government Data with Statistical Confidentiality Controls, American Statistical Association Privacy and Confidentiality Committee, December 17, 2014


A list of COSSA members' annual meetings can be found on the COSSA web page.

Next COSSA Washington Update

In observance of upcoming holidays, the next COSSA Washington Update will be published on Friday, December 5.
Consortium of Social Science Associations 

Governing Members  

American Anthropological Association 
American Association for Public Opinion Research 
American Economic Association 
American Educational Research Association 
American Historical Association 
American Political Science Association  
American Psychological Association 
American Society of Criminology 
American Sociological Association 
American Statistical Association 
Association of American Geographers 
Association of American Law Schools 
Law and Society Association 
Linguistic Society of America  
Midwest Political Science Association 
National Communication Association 
Population Association of America 
Society for Research in Child Development
Membership Organizations
Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences 
American Evaluation Association
American Finance Association
American Psychosomatic Society
Association for Asian Studies
Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management
Association of Academic Survey Research Organizations
Association of Research Libraries
Council on Social Work Education 
Economic History Association
History of Science Society
Justice Research and Statistics Association
Midwest Sociological Society
National Association of Social Workers
North American Regional Science Council
North Central Sociological Association
Rural Sociological Society
Social Science History Association
Society for Anthropological Sciences
Society for Empirical Legal Studies
Society for Research on Adolescence
Society for Social Work and Research
Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues
Society of Behavioral Medicine
Southern Political Science Association
Southern Sociological Society
Southwestern Social Science Association  
Centers and Institutes

American Academy of Arts and Sciences
American Academy of Political and Social Sciences 
American Council of Learned Societies 
American Institutes for Research 
The Brookings Institution 
Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences 
Cornell Institute for Social and Economic Research 
Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan 
Institute for Social Science Research, University of Massachusetts
Institute for Women's Policy Research 
NORC at the University of Chicago 
Owens Institute for Behavioral Research, University of Georgia
Population Reference Bureau
RTI International
Social Science Research Council
Vera Institute of Justice

Colleges and Universities  
Arizona State University
Boston University
Brown University
Carnegie-Mellon University
Clark University
Columbia University
Cornell University
Duke University
The George Washington University
Georgetown University
Harvard University
Howard University
Indiana University
John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY
Johns Hopkins University
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Michigan State University
New York University
North Dakota State University
Northwestern University
The Ohio State University
Pennsylvania State University
Princeton University
Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey
Stanford University
State University of New York, Stony Brook
Texas A & M University
University of California, Berkeley
University of California, Irvine
University of California, Los Angeles
University of California, San Diego
University of California, Santa Barbara
University of Chicago
University of Connecticut
University of Delaware
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
University of Iowa
University of Maryland
University of Michigan
University of Minnesota
University of Missouri, St. Louis
University of Nebraska, Lincoln
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
University of Oklahoma
University of Pennsylvania
University of South Carolina
University of Texas, Austin
University of Texas, San Antonio
University of Virginia
University of Washington
University of Wisconsin, Madison
University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
Washington University in St. Louis
West Virginia University
Yale University


    Executive Director:  Wendy A. Naus
Deputy DirectorAngela L. Sharpe
Assistant Director for Public Affairs: Julia Milton
President:  James S. Jackson 


Address all inquiries to COSSA at newsletter@cossa.orgTelephone: (202) 842-3525


The Consortium of Social Science Associations (COSSA) is an advocacy organization promoting attention to and federal support for the social and behavioral sciences.


ISSN 0749-4394.