The Editors encourage submission of any announcements, and/or letters to the editors, regarding psychological science.
Comments on the content and presentation of the newsletter are also appreciated.
Kristi S. Multhaup
Mark E. Faust
UNC at Charlotte
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Brigham and Women's Hospital
Harvard Medical School
University of Missouri
Members-At-Large of the
Bob Cook (09-12)
Nancy Dess (09-12)
David Washburn (08-11)
Jeremy Wolfe (08-11)
Mark Bouton (07-10)
University of Vermont
Nora Newcombe (07-10)
Graduate Student Representative
Representative to APA Council
Randy Engle (10-12)
Emanuel Donchin (08-10)
University of South Florida
Janet Duchek (Awards)
Wash. U., St. Louis
Lisa Savage (Fellows)
John Wixted (Program)
Charles L. Brewer
Early Career Psychologist
California State U. at Fullerton
APA Science Directorate Update
Deputy Executive Director
APA Science Directorate
In recent months the staff of the APA Science Directorate has pursued a number of efforts aimed at enhancing the status and impact of psychological science:
Psychology and Climate Change. In 2008 the APA Council of Representatives and Board of Directors established a Task Force on the Interface Between Psychology and Global Climate Change. The task force was chaired by Janet Swim (Penn State) and included Paul Stern (National Academies of Science), Elke Weber (Columbia University), and five other experts from various areas of psychology. The work of the task force was supported and managed by the Science Directorate.
The group prepared a comprehensive report that synthesizes current scientific literature and thought on how people understand the risks of climate change, the psychological and contextual determinants of human behaviors that affect climate, the psychosocial impacts of climate change, how people adapt to and cope with threats related to climate change, psychological factors that drive and limit action on climate change, and the roles of psychologists in responding to climate change.
The report was formally received by the Council of Representatives at its August 2009 meeting. The task force also produced policy recommendations, a number of which are likely to be offered by APA governance groups as resolutions and action items for Council consideration over the next year. The full task force report and related materials can be found at: http://www.apa.org/science/climate-change.
Psychology as a STEM Discipline. APA president James Bray has established a Task Force on the Future of Psychological Science as a STEM Discipline. STEM – which stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics – is a term that is frequently used in discussions and efforts aimed at improving science funding and education in the United States. Psychology faces the challenge that it is not consistently categorized as a STEM discipline and thus is often excluded from federal and private initiatives to advance STEM research and training.
The aim of the task force is to analyze why psychology is not always considered to be a STEM discipline, articulate the arguments for inclusion of psychology among STEM disciplines, and develop an advocacy strategy for putting forward those arguments to relevant leaders and institutions.
The task force is chaired by John Dovidio (Yale); other members are Frank Durso (Georgia Tech), David Francis (University of Houston), David Klahr (Carnegie Mellon), Jennifer Manly (Columbia University), and Valerie Reyna (Cornell). The Science Directorate and Education Directorate are jointly supporting the task force’s work. A report and recommendations from the task force are expected in early 2010.
The task force invites comments and suggestions from psychologists working in all areas. You may send your thoughts to me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or contact any of the task force members directly.
Federal Funding. For fiscal year 2009, both the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health received significant budget increases. NSF received an increase of 7% in its base budget to $6.49 billion, while NIH received a 3% increase in its base to $30.40 billion. On top of those increases, the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (ARRA – the economic stimulus legislation) provided one-time supplementary funds of $3.0 billion to NSF and $10.4 billion to NIH.
It is expected that research funded through the ARRA will be heavily scrutinized by scientific and public interest groups. APA has advocated for and will monitor ARRA funding of behavioral science research, and will also work to defend behavioral science projects funded through ARRA if they come under unwarranted criticism. Information about funded projects can be found at the NSF and NIH websites (see http://www.nsf.gov/recovery and http://grants.nih.gov/recovery).
The appropriations process and other policy efforts for fiscal year 2010 are already underway. Among the items that the APA government relations staff is focusing on are:
• Support for the Administration’s proposed 8% increase in NSF’s FY2010 budget, as well as for doubling NSF’s budget over the next decade (see APA testimony).
• Support Congressional efforts to provide NIH with an FY2010 budget increase greater than the 1.4% proposed by the Administration, with the goal of a 7% increase.
• Influence the development of NIH’s upcoming funding initiative for basic behavioral and social science research to ensure that it encompasses a broad range of areas within both human and non-human animal research.
• Monitor and respond to the ongoing study of the proposed merger of the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (see APA statement).
• Support a strong role for behavioral research within federal initiatives for comparative effectiveness research (see article in July PSA).
• Seek increases in funding for scientific research sponsored by the Department of Veterans Affairs (see article in May PSA).
• Reverse the Administration’s proposed budget cuts for basic and applied research (including behavioral) at the Department of Defense (see article in July PSA).
• Support establishment of an office for social and behavioral science research within the Department of Energy (building on the APA Climate Change report).
Newsletter Highlights. Finally, I’d like to note two features in the Science Directorate’s monthly newsletter Psychological Science Agenda that may be of particular interest to Division 3 members. First, the May issue of PSA included a special section on Evolutionary Theory and Psychology. The section consists of eight commentaries by a diverse set of scientists and thinkers on the significance of Darwin’s work and of current views of evolution for contemporary psychology.
Second, each issue of PSA now contains a list of funding announcements for research and training specifically for psychological scientists. The list aims to be comprehensive and includes opportunities not only from NSF and NIH but also from other agencies such as the Departments of Defense, Education, Justice, and Labor, and NASA.
As always, I encourage you to contact me with any questions and ideas on how the Science Directorate can best serve the psychological science community. I wish you all a great fall and winter.