Congressional News

Debt Limit Deal Struck, Spending Caps Likely for FY 2024-25

Over the Memorial Day weekend, the White House and House Republican leadership agreed to a budget deal that would keep the U.S. from defaulting on its debt, at least until after the 2024 elections. The agreement would suspend the U.S. debt limit until January 2025. However, as Republicans have been demanding, the suspension would come with limits—as well as some cuts—to discretionary spending over the next two years.

Should it make it through the House and Senate, the deal would set caps on discretionary spending at levels roughly 5 percent or $40 billion below current levels. However, by reclaiming unobligated COVID relief spending and other emergency funding appropriated over the last few years and reallocating it to discretionary accounts, the caps are said to have less of an impact. All told, the White House estimates that nondefense, non-veterans-related spending for FY 2024 would come in $1 billion below this year’s (FY 2023) level. For FY 2025, the deal would limit growth to 1 percent for discretionary spending. If enacted, these numbers promise to make the next few years very difficult for discretionary programs, including for research funding.

Lawmakers are back in Washington this week to consider the bill, with the House eyeing a vote on Wednesday. They will try to pass it by June 5, the date on which the White House Office of Management and Budget says the U.S. may default on its obligations.

The White House and House Republicans have issued separate factsheets on the deal. In addition, COSSA signed-on to a letter with hundreds of other organizations arguing against cuts to nondefense discretionary spending.

This is a developing story.

Executive Branch News

NEW FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES: NIH Launches New UNITE E Initiatives
The National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) UNITE “E” Committee has been working to develop a strategy to advance racial equity and create a more inclusive biomedical research environment (see previous coverage on NIH’s UNITE activity). On May 17, the Committee announced the launch of new initiatives, including innovative funding programs and policy changes. New funding opportunities are as follows:

  • The Research With Activities Related to Diversity (ReWARD) program aims to enhance the span and location of research and research-related activities supported by NIH. The program will provide R01 grants to institutions to support the health-related research of scientists who significantly contribute to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) and who are not currently supported by NIH research project grant funding. First application due date: June 5, 2023; Earliest start date: April 2024.
  • The Instrumentation Grant Program for Resource-Limited Institutions aims to enhance research capacity and educational opportunities at resource-limited institutions by providing funds to purchase modern, scientific equipment. Applications must list three major users, which include researchers who have a scientific need for the instrument or those who wish to use it for teaching upper-level undergraduate or graduate courses. First application due date: July 3, 2023; Earliest start date: April 2024.
  • The STrengthening Research Opportunities for NIH Grants (STRONG): The STRONG initiative’s Structured Institutional Needs Assessment and Action Plan Development for Resource-Limited Institutions program will provide grants to institutions with limited resources to help them assess their research capacity building needs and develop action plans to meet those needs. Examples of the types of needs that institutions might identify include, but are not limited to: equipment or other infrastructure; renovations or new facilities; enhancement or establishment of sponsored programs administrative capabilities; faculty or staff recruitment in strategic areas; new training or mentoring programs for faculty and staff; new educational opportunities for students; and changes to institutional promotions, teaching, or sabbatical policies. First application due date: September 18, 2023; Earliest start date: July 2024.

The UNITE E Committee has also launched a prize competition to recognize effective strategies for enhancing DEIA in research environments: the NIH Institutional Excellence in DEIA in Biomedical and Behavioral Research Prize Competition. The prize competition aims to recognize transformative cultures, systems, projects, and processes developed by academic institutions to promote inclusive excellence and create environments that foster and value a culture of DEIA. NIH will award up to 10 prizes of $100,000 each through the competition. Up to half of the prizes will be set aside for consideration for limited resourced institutions. To participate, registration is required by September 12; entries are being accepted through, September 26, 2023.

REQUEST FOR INPUT: PCAST Discusses AI Implications
On May 18 and 19, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) held a public meeting focusing on artificial intelligence (AI) development. The meeting was centered on understanding how the development of AI technology would affect both the scientific enterprise and society. Dr. Fei-Fei Li, the Co-Director of the Stanford Institute of Human-Centered AI, emphasized the importance of using AI as a tool to benefit productivity and not as a replacement for human work. During the sessions, speakers highlighted the value of AI for innovation while emphasizing the need for ethical guidelines and development transparency.

Prior to the meeting, PCAST announced a new working group on generative AI and a request for public input on how to prevent the negative uses of AI. PCAST is seeking to understand how policies, technologies, and infrastructure can be implemented to detect and prevent misinformation with a focus on protecting democracy. Comments can be sent to pcast@ostp.eop.gov through December 31, 2023.

NEW FUNDING OPPORTUNITY: NSF Releases Dear Colleague Letter Opportunity for High School Students
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has released a Dear Colleague Letter focused on High School Student Research Assistantships in the Social, Behavioral and Economic (SBE) Sciences. The opportunity invites SBE scientists, with existing NSF awards, to apply for additional funding to provide high school students with research experience in the field.

NSF awardees may apply to support two students and are encouraged to support underrepresented groups and locations that may have less access to SBE research opportunities. A list of eligible NSF programs can be found here.

 

REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS: NIJ Launches Competition on New Data Collection Models 
The National Institute of Justice (NIJ), the research arm within the U.S. Department of Justice, has launched the Innovations in Measuring Community Perceptions Challenge to develop new methods of measuring community attitude about public safety. NIJ has identified a gap in methods able to link to specific geographical locations and is seeking to develop new models to collect this type of data. NIJ is requesting that proposals consider how the model will interact with different communities; how the model will remain cost effective for widescale deployment and scalable to different area sizes; and how the model will collect data accurately while ensuring data protection as a priority. There will be two categories for the competition: survey methods using probability or nonprobability; and approaches using non-survey methods for measurements.

NIJ encourages entries from all disciplines as well as entries from practitioners, public and private entities, research laboratories, startup companies, students, and more. Entries may be submitted individually or as a team. For more information on requirements, please refer to the NIJ’s website.

Entries can be submitted through this form and any questions can be sent to community.perceptions@ojp.usdoj.gov. Challenge entries are requested by July 31. Winners are expected to be announced on November 1.

 

Resources & Opportunities

Nomination Opportunities
·    NEW: NASEM: Call for Experts: Consensus Study on PreK-12 STEM Education and Workforce Development in Rural Areas (Closes: June 7, 2023)

 

Funding Opportunities
·    NIH: Research on Biopsychosocial Factors of Social Connectedness and Isolation on Health, Wellbeing, Illness, and Recovery (R01 BESH Required) (R01 Clinical Trials Not Allowed) (R01 Clinical Trial Required) (Closes: June 22, 2024)

·    NIH: Notice of Special Interest (NOSI): Validation of Digital Health and Artificial Intelligence Tools for Improved Assessment in Epidemiological, Clinical, and Intervention Research (Closes: March 9, 2024)

·    NIH: Maximizing Opportunities for Scientific and Academic Independent Careers (MOSAIC) Institutionally-Focused Research Education Award to Promote Diversity (Closes: November 16, 2023)

·    NEW: NIH: Accelerating Behavioral and Social Science through Ontology Development and Use: Dissemination and Coordination Center (PAR-23-181 and PAR-23-182) (Closes: October 4, 2023)

·    NIH: Institutional Excellence in Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility in Biomedical and Behavioral Research Prize Competition (Closes: September 26, 2023)

·    NIH: Advancing Gender Inclusive Excellence (AGIE) – Coordinating Center (Closes: May 31, 2023)

·    NSF: Growing Research Access for Nationally Transformative Equity and Diversity (GRANTED) (Rolling Deadline)

 

Requests for Comment & Calls for Papers
·    NASEM: Call for Information: Policies and Practices for Supporting Family Caregivers Working in Science, Engineering, and Medicine (Closes: June 1, 2023)

 

Notices, Resources, & Reports
·    NASEM: 2020 Census Data Products: Demographic and Housing Characteristics File

 

Open Positions, Fellowships, & Professional Development Opportunities
·    William T. Grant Foundation: William T. Grant Scholars Program (Closes: July 5, 2023)

 

Upcoming Events
·    Inclusion and Advancement of LGBTQ+ People in STEM Fields Symposium, May 30, 2023, Washington, DC

·    Society for Prevention Research Annual Meeting, May 30-June 2, 2023, Washington, DC

·    Law and Society Association Annual Conference, June 1-4, 2023, San Juan, PR

·    American Psychological Association Annual Convention, August 3-5, 2023, Washington, DC

·    Joint Statistical Meetings, August 5-10, 2023, Toronto, ON, Canada

·    American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, August 17-21, 2023, Philadelphia, PA

·    American Political Science Association Annual Meeting & Exhibition, August 31-September 3, 2023, Los Angeles, CA

 

A list of COSSA members’ annual meetings and other events can be found on the COSSA events page. COSSA members who have an upcoming event they would like to see listed in the Events Calendar and on our website should send an email to ebailey@cossa.org.

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