Also in this Issue
APA Comments on Draft NIH Reauthorization
In July, Chairman Joe Barton (R-TX), Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, finally released a "discussion draft" of his plan to reorganize the National Institutes of Health that he believes will help the agency achieve more efficiency, transparency, and accountability. The draft bill seeks not only to expand the NIH Director's budgetary authority, but also to create a new Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives within the Office of the Director to oversee strategic planning for trans-institute initiatives.
In initial comments on the draft, APA requested a more explicit commitment to behavioral research, basic research, as well as the continuation of the statutory authority for the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences and the elimination of separate grant-making authority for the new division. A second draft, which incorporated some of APA's requested changes, was released in August. APA will continue to work with Chairman Barton's office to advocate for stronger support for behavioral research at NIH.
Psychologists Denise Park and Anthony Pratkanis Testify in Senate
Two eminent psychologists were invited to testify on July 27 before the Senate Special Committee on Aging about elderly victims of consumer fraud schemes. Denise Park, PhD (University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign) described results of her research on cognitive changes in older adults that may make them particularly vulnerable to consumer fraud. Social psychologist Anthony Pratkanis, PhD (University of California-Santa Cruz) described his work as a member of a team including staff from the American Association of the Advancement of Retired Persons and the WISE senior center, surveying victims of consumer fraud. Senator Gordon Smith (R-OR) chaired the hearing and at least ten members of the committee heard all or part of the testimony.
IES Board Approves Education Research Priorities
In September, the National Board for Education Sciences approved a broad statement of the research priorities for the Institute of Education Sciences (IES). According to the statement, the long-term goals associated with the Institute’s priorities are fourfold: First, to develop or identify a substantial number of programs, practices, policies, and approaches that enhance academic achievement and that can be widely deployed; second, to identify what does not work and what is problematic or inefficient, and thereby encourage innovation and further research; third, to gain fundamental understanding of the processes that underlie variations in the effectiveness of education programs, practices, policies, and approaches; and fourth, to develop delivery systems for the results of education research that will be routinely used by policymakers, educators, and the general public when making education decisions.
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NSF Accepts Quick-Turnaround Grant Proposals Related to Hurricane Katrina
The National Science Foundation's (NSF's) Human and Social Dynamics priority area (HSD) will accept Small Grants for Exploratory Research (SGER) proposals for research related to hurricane Katrina. SGERs are small in scale and reviewed quickly, and often are designed to support research within unusual contexts such as the aftermath of natural disasters, in which availability of and access to data are accompanied by urgent time and physical constraints. Psychological researchers interested in submitting SGER proposals to HSD should contact Robert O'Connor, program director in the Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE) Directorate, prior to submission to discuss their ideas. Dr. O'Connor may be reached by email and by phone at 703-292-7263. For additional information about SGER proposals, see the Grant Proposal Guide, Section II.D.1.
Changes in NIH Rules to Help Grantees Affected by Hurricane Katrina - APA Considering Actions to Help
Noting the need for flexibility as NIH grantees along the Gulf Coast assess damage to their research labs or populations, NIH has announced the following steps:
1. NIH encourages grantees to discuss any damage to their research program with their NIH program officer as soon as possible.
2. NIH will consider requests for administrative supplements for extensions in time that include personnel costs; and replacement of equipment, supplies and unique resources damaged or lost as a result of the storm. Instructions are on the NIH Grants web page.
APA is currently considering actions to help members whose research has been affected by Hurricane Katrina. Please check the APA website for updates and announcements.
NSF Announces Position Opening for Director of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences Division
NSF is looking to hire a Division Director for Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences (BCS) within its Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE) Directorate. The announcement is for a one to three year limited term appointment, with the possibility of hire at the Senior Executive Service (SES) level on a permanent or temporary basis, or through the Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA). The NSF announcement notes that the BCS Division Director "provides leadership and direction to the NSF Division responsible for funding research and education activities, both nationally and internationally, to develop and advance scientific knowledge focusing on human cognition, language, social behavior and culture, as well as research on the interactions between human societies and the physical societies and the physical environment." Annual salary range for SES positions is $107,550 to $149,200. The application deadline is October 14, 2005 and the NSF human resources contact is Hugh Sullivan (703.292.4376).
APA Invites Psychological Researcher to Participate in Capitol Hill Lobby Day on Behalf of NSF
The Public Policy Office invited Abby Baird, PhD, a psychological researcher from Dartmouth, to represent psychological science at the September Capitol Hill Lobby Day sponsored by the Coalition of National Science Funding (CNSF), of which APA is an active member. Baird was part of a multidisciplinary group of scientists who visited their New Hampshire and Maine congressional delegations to advocate for increased funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF). Negotiations currently are underway between the House and Senate to bridge the gap between the NSF appropriation levels in their two FY06 funding bills, and despite the challenges of an extremely tight budget climate (especially in light of Hurricane Katrina), Baird and her colleagues made an impressive case for strengthening federal support for basic research.