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Kristi S. Multhaup
Mark E. Faust
Univ. of North Carolina at Charlotte
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University of Missouri
University of Iowa
Members-At-Large of the
David Washburn (08-11)
Jeremy Wolfe (08-11)
Mark Bouton (07-10)
University of Vermont
Nora Newcombe (07-10)
Gil Einstein (06-09)
Karen Hollis (06-09)
Mount Holyoke College
Graduate Student Representative
University of Iowa
Representative to APA Council
Emanuel Donchin (08-10)
University of South Florida
Thomas R. Zentall (07-09)
University of Kentucky
Michael Beran (Awards)
Mike Young (Fellows, 08-09)
Southern Illinois University
Emily Elliott (Program)
Charles L. Brewer
Early Career Psychologist
California State U. at Fullerton
Science Directorate Update
Howard Kurtzman, Deputy Executive Director
APA Science Directorate
I am pleased to report news from the Science Directorate that may be of particular interest to Division 3 members. Additional information can be found on the Directorate’s website and in our two monthly newsletters, Psychological Science Agenda (SPIN) and Science Policy Insider News (SPIN). Feel free to contact me if you have questions or comments about any of the Directorate’s activities.
NIH and NSF Budgets. The Science Directorate’s Government Relations Office leads APA’s advocacy efforts for increasing the budgets of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF). For NIH, APA is calling for an overall 6.5% increase for FY2009, including expanded support for basic, translational, and clinical behavioral science research. In contrast, the President has proposed that total NIH funding in FY2009 remain at the same level as in FY2008. For NSF, APA seeks an overall increase of 13% for FY2009 (as the President has also proposed) and for a doubling of the budget over the next decade, including greater resources for the behavioral and social sciences.
APA pursues advocacy efforts both on its own and through coalitions such as the Friends of NICHD, the Friends of NIDA, and the Coalition for National Science Funding. Representatives of APA and these coalitions have provided oral and written testimony to various appropriations panels in the House of Representatives and Senate, sponsored exhibits and briefings on Capitol Hill, and have met with individual lawmakers and their staff members.
Final resolution of the FY2009 budget is not expected until late 2008 or early 2009.
NIH Policies and Priorities. NIH has issued a draft implementation plan for enhancing its peer review system. Further details of the implementation will be developed and released over the next year. For more information on changes in NIH peer review, including how APA and individual psychologists have worked to influence those changes, see the articles in the May issue of SPIN and June issue of PSA.
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) recently released the final version of its Strategic Plan. The Government Relations Office is currently engaged in analyzing the plan and assessing the place of psychological and behavioral sciences within it. The shifts in NIMH’s priorities over the last several years, particularly the reduced support for basic behavioral science, remain a major concern for APA and a target for the Science Directorate’s advocacy efforts.
Interviews with two NIH officials have appeared in recent issues of SPIN. In May, Mike Oberdorfer of the National Eye Institute (NEI) offered a candid assessment of the current funding environment and how psychologists can maximize their chances for research funding at NEI. In June, David Abrams, who recently stepped down as Director of the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research, provided a detailed view of that office’s role within NIH and discussed strategies for gaining greater support for the behavioral sciences in the coming years.
Diversity of the Scientific Workforce. The APA and eight other scientific societies cosponsored a meeting, held on February 28, on “Enhancing Diversity in Science.” Participants examined both obstacles to and successful models for the recruitment and retention of underrepresented minorities in science. More information on the meeting and the recommendations coming out of it can be found in the March issue of PSA and at the meeting website.
On July 16, a Congressional briefing was held on how science can inform policies for increasing the role of women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The briefing was organized by the Congressional Caucus on Women’s Issues and Congressional STEM Education Caucus in partnership with APA and other organizations. A full report on the event appeared in the July issue of SPIN.
The Science Directorate, along with the National Science Foundation and other groups, provided support for the fifth annual Quantitative Training for Underrepresented Groups conference, held on August 11-13 at Northeastern University, just before the APA Convention. The conference provided over 50 students and junior scientists with intensive exposure to quantitative methods across a wide range of research areas in psychology, along with academic and career guidance. The conference will be held again in 2009 in Toronto.
Junior Animal Researchers at Convention. For the third consecutive year, the APA Committee on Animal Research and Ethics (CARE) sponsored the “CARE Imprinting Awards,” a competitive mentoring program at the APA Convention for advanced graduate and post-doctoral students working with nonhuman animals. Awardees gave presentations on their research and received scientific and professional advice from senior scientists. This program, which has supported twenty students so far, has been funded by the Science Directorate, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and two corporate sponsors. Additional funding is being sought to continue the program in future years.
Animal Research Videos. Two new segments in the video series sponsored by CARE are scheduled to be released on DVD in October. The videos, which highlight the importance of nonhuman animal research in psychology, are aimed at high school and early college students. The two new segments examine recovery of function and the role of touch in development. The DVD will also include a segment on psychopharmacology which had been previously released in VHS format. To obtain a copy of the DVD, contact the Science Directorate.
Threats to Animal Research. The Science Directorate has spoken out against the recent attacks on scientists who conduct research with nonhuman animals (see the March issue of PSA and the Executive Director’s column in the June issue of Monitor on Psychology). Effective responses to these events require both stringent enforcement of the law and greater efforts by scientists to educate the public about the value of animal research and the ethical and regulatory guidelines that govern it. The Science Directorate is available to assist any psychologist who is the victim of threats or attacks or who wishes to develop educational materials for their community.
A bill titled “The Great Ape Protection Act” was introduced in the House of Representatives in April. In its current form, the legislation would prohibit a wide range of biological and behavioral research with nonhuman primates (see May issue of SPIN). The Science Directorate is monitoring the status of the bill and will advocate for legislation that ensures that primates are afforded humane care but does not prevent the conduct of ethically and scientifically sound research.
On the positive side, the 2008 Farm Bill was enacted without two amendments that APA and other scientific organizations had opposed. One of the amendments would have banned Class B dealer sales of non-purpose bred dogs and cats for research, and the other amendment would have prohibited live animal demonstrations of medical devices for sales purposes. Both amendments were removed from the final version of the bill that was submitted to the President. Althought the President vetoed the large bill (for other reasons), the House and Senate overrode the veto in June and the bill thus became law. For more details, see the July issue of PSA.
Grand Challenges Publications. The Science Directorate has produced two booklets on how psychological science helps us to understand and address grand challenges facing contemporary society. Aimed at a lay audience, they are titled Prolonging Vitality and Global Climate Change. A third booklet, Disparities in Health Care, is in preparation. The booklets are available online or can be ordered from the Science Directorate.
That’s it for now. I wish you all a good fall and winter.