NSF SBE Advisory Committee, National Science Board Hold Meetings
NSF SBE Advisory Committee, National Science Board Hold Meetings

November 2017

The Advisory Committee for the National Science Foundation (NSF) Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (SBE) Directorate met November 2–3 in NSF’s new headquarters in Alexandria, VA.

Fay Lomax Cook, Assistant Director for SBE, provided an update on recent SBE activities. Cook noted that NSF is recruiting for three leadership positions in SBE: the director for the Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences, the director of the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, and for Kay’s own position as assistant director, as her four-year term will end on August 31, 2018.

Robert Kaplan (Stanford University) provided an update on a recent National Academies workshop, Graduate Training in the Behavioral and Social Sciences, for which he served as committee chair. Bruce Meyer (University of Chicago), a member of the Commission for Evidence-Based Policymaking, detailed the commission’s approach and the recommendations in its report.

Michael Stern (NORC at the University of Chicago) and Amy O’Hara (Stanford University) described efforts to combine traditional survey data with organic and administrative data. O’Hara mentioned her previous experience in the Census Longitudinal Infrastructure Project (CLIP) and discussed how similar efforts could be applied to the American National Election Study, the General Social Survey, and the Panel Study on Income Dynamics.

Representatives of three teams of SBE Advisory Committee members presented grand challenges that they recommended the directorate pursue as research priorities, including ideas that intersect with education and learning.

The SBE Advisory Committee also discussed communicating social science research. Arthur (Skip) Lupia (University of Michigan), member of the SBE Advisory Committee, recognized AERA’s support for the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Roundtable on the Communication and Use of Social and Behavioral Sciences.

The SBE Advisory Committee will hold its spring meeting May 9–10, 2018.

National Science Board

The National Science Board (NSB) held its fall quarterly meeting November 8–9. NSF director France Córdova provided an update on recent activities and acknowledged five Nobel Prize winners who received funding support from NSF. NSB chair Maria Zuber detailed recent visits to Capitol Hill and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the latter including initial conversations on the NSB nominations process.

NSB External Engagement Committee members described two listening sessions held in Louisiana which provided an opportunity to hear from faculty members, students, industry leaders, and policymakers.  The session at Baton Rouge Community College centered on the skilled technical workforce and those who are employed in STEM positions but may not have a bachelor’s degree.  The session at Xavier University of Louisiana focused on the challenges and opportunities facing women and underrepresented minorities in STEM education.

The National Science Board will hold its next meeting February 21–22, 2018.

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