NSF and NIH Advisory Boards Meet
NSF and NIH Advisory Boards Meet

November 2018

In the past two months, advisory boards and committees of federal agencies that support education research have met to discuss priorities and key policy areas.

The National Science Board (NSB) met November 28–29, welcoming new members Maureen Condic (University of Utah), Suresh Garimella (Purdue University), Steven Leath (Auburn University), Alan Stern (Southwest Research Institute), and Stephen Willard (Cellphire, Inc.). France Córdova, director of the National Science Foundation (NSF), provided an update to NSB members on recent major awards bestowed on NSF grantees and outreach to science and business communities. Córdova also updated the NSB on interagency activities that include NSF’s leadership in artificial intelligence.

The NSB Committee on Oversight discussed plans for the NSB Vision Project. The committee is focusing on several themes: NSB as a consistent proponent for fundamental research; addressing international issues such as the increase in foreign students in the United States and their involvement in the workforce; and higher education and the role of states and the private sector in supporting scientific enterprise and workforce development.

The committee discussed responsible conduct of research in light of the recent National Academies’ report “Fostering Integrity in Research.” With an emphasis on promoting positive research integrity, NSB plans to build on resources such as the Online Ethics Center and to encourage faculty training. In 2019, NSB will hold a Promising Practices Summit with universities to understand best practices in ethics training.

NSB heard an update from Michael Kratsios, deputy U.S. chief technology officer and deputy assistant to the president at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Kratsios highlighted three pillars of the White House technology policy agenda—leadership in emerging technologies, empowering Americans to innovate, and protecting and defending U.S. technology abroad.

In addition, Emilda Rivers, director of the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, detailed plans for collecting statistics on the skilled technical workforce.

On December 6–7, NSF’s Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE) Advisory Committee held its first meeting with Arthur (Skip) Lupia as leader of the SBE Directorate. In his opening comments to the advisory committee, Lupia highlighted his strategy to promote research supported by SBE in three ways: developing iconic human-scale narratives to be proactive on the value of SBE research, having conversations about repositioning the SBE portfolio to make the mission’s consistency and value more apparent, and obtaining leverage to create new opportunities.

During the meeting, committee members discussed compelling SBE work that policymakers and the public should know more about and strategies for communicating the work of SBE to non-SBE audiences.

The advisory committee also received an update from Rhonda Davis and Robert Cosgrove and from the NSF Office of Diversity and Inclusion on sexual harassment policies at NSF, including compliance with Title IX and the new term and condition for NSF grantees.

On December 13–14, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Advisory Committee to the Director (ACD) met. NIH staff provided an update on the agency’s efforts to combat harassment, including publishing a notice in the Federal Register to announce a policy for NIH staff, conducting a climate assessment survey with NIH employees, and establishing a working group of 15 members to develop a report and recommendations on how NIH can be part of the solution to drive incentives to prevent harassment among NIH grantees.

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