Also in this Issue
Senate Confirms New Director of NSF and Psychologist for National Science Board
On November 20th, the Senate confirmed appointments of eight scientists to the National Science Board (NSB), the 24-member independent body designated by Congress to oversee and establish policies for the National Science Foundation (NSF) and provide advice to the President and Congress on science and engineering issues. Prominent among this group is Alan I. Leshner, the first psychologist to serve on the NSB in several decades. Leshner, a Fellow of APA and current Chief Executive Officer of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), will serve through May, 2010. He noted: "I'm delighted by this appointment. NSF is a wonderful agency that serves a vital role in the advancement of science worldwide. I look forward to bringing my training in and perspective from psychology and neuroscience to the National Science Board's important policy discussions."
President Bush’s nominee for Director of NSF, Arden L. Bement, Jr., also received Senate confirmation for a period of six years, during which time he will serve in an ex officio capacity on the NSB. Bement has served as NSF’s Acting Director since February, 2004, while he continued to serve as the Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) within the Department of Commerce (his NSF appointment coincides with official resignation from his position at NIST). Bement, an engineer by training, has had a long career in industry, government and academia. He faces immediate challenges at NSF in terms of resources (one of his stated priorities), particularly in light of funding cuts to the agency in the Fiscal Year 2005 budget up for final congressional approval in the December lame duck session.
Congress Upholds Support for Peer Review
Congress completed its work on the omnibus appropriations legislation that includes funding for the Department of Health and Human Services and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). A primary concern for APA was the possible inclusion of amendment language approved in the House version of the bill that aimed to restrict funding for two grants funded by the National Institute of Mental Health. Both of the grants were behavioral research projects that had been through the peer review process at NIH. While a similar amendment was not adopted in the Senate version of the bill, it was up to the House and Senate members of the conference committee to negotiate the differences between the two versions of the bill. APA staff met with congressional offices throughout the fall to educate members about the importance of this issue and ensure that the language was not included in the final bill.
While recognizing the public health mission of the agency, the final appropriations legislation rejected the Neugebauer amendment language and reaffirmed Congress' support for the National Institutes of the Health (NIH) and the peer review system. The report accompanying the bill states, "The conferees reiterate their support of the two-tiered peer review process used by NIH to judge research grant applications and continue to expect NIH to ensure that its funds are allocated to research that is both scientifically meritorious and has high potential public health impact."
Science Policy Takes A Holiday at the White House
Science Policy staff recognize the value of taking an occasional break from the rigors of lobbying to celebrate the holiday season. And perhaps nowhere is that holiday spirit more evident here in Washington than in the jolly smiles of the U.S. Secret Service guarding the East Wing of the White House. It was there on December 12 that Director of Science Policy Geoff Mumford spent a lovely Sunday afternoon as the guest of Dr. Susan Brandon, OSTP AD for Social, Behavioral and Educational Sciences, eyeing some impressive old growth forest (indoors no less) adorned with enough lighting to challenge the East Coast power grid. As Susan and I strolled along discussing issues such as the administration's on-going nanotech initiatives, it was clear that no one had briefed the White House Chef, who had constructed a rather elaborate out-sized ginger bread house. But no matter, listening to children caroling or playing in a woodwind ensemble, it was hard not to have a positive outlook for 2005 knowing that APA has such a welcoming colleague and advocate for psychology in this White House. So here's wishing our OSTP friends and our SPIN readers the very best for the Holidays!
APA Science Policy Fellowship Applications Due January 3, 2005
Applications are due January 3, 2005 for APA's annual Science Policy Fellowship program. Each year, APA places a psychological scientist in an executive branch research funding/coordinating office. Past Fellows have worked at the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and most recently, the Central Intelligence Agency. In addition to duties as a special assistant in a science mission agency or office, the Fellow attends an orientation program on congressional and executive branch operations and a year-long seminar series on issues involving science and public policy. For more information, contact Dr. Heather Kelly in APA's Public Policy Office via email or phone at 202.336.5932.
APA Science Directorate Offers New Summer Fellowships in Counterintelligence Research
The APA Science Directorate and Public Policy Office will offer two new exciting summer research fellowships in 2005, in collaboration with senior psychologists working in the Department of Defense's Counterintelligence Field Activity Office (CIFA). The summer fellowships, open to APA or APAGS members at both the post-doctoral and senior graduate level, will provide opportunities to spend eight weeks at CIFA's headquarters here in the Washington, DC area. Research Fellows will work on topics relevant to countering terrorist activity, reducing "insider threat" and developing counterintelligence threat trend analysis. Stipends for Fellows may range from $8,000-12,000. Applications must be received by Dr. Heather Kelly in APA's Public Policy Office by March 1, 2005.
Air Force Research Lab Looking for Senior Scientist
The U.S. Air Force Materiel Command has issued a scientific and professional recruiting announcement seeking a Senior Scientist in the area of cognitive engineering/modeling. Applications must be received by the closing date of February 5th, 2005. The announcement describes the Senior Scientist's role:
"Serves as senior research scientist and independent researcher in the field of cognitive engineering and human systems modeling technology. The incumbent serves to focus research and development efforts associated with cognitive psychology, human factors, perception, and performance, and to strengthen the in-house activities of the laboratory. Conceives, plans, and advocates major research and development activities; interacts and consults with the Director, division chiefs and staff concerning the total research program and results; monitors and guides the quality of scientific and technical resources; and provides expert technical consultation to other Air Force organizations, DOD and government agencies, universities and industry. Position requires an internationally recognized authority in the field of cognitive engineering and modeling technology with the ability to conceive, conduct and lead advanced research and development. The incumbent must make significant contributions to the advancement of knowledge in the field as evidenced by numerous important scientific publications and by citation of the work by others, and by receipt of patents and/or awards."