NSF SBE Advisory Committee Convenes for Fall 2022 Meeting

December 2022

The National Science Foundation (NSF) Social, Behavioral and Economic (SBE) Sciences Directorate Advisory Committee held its fall 2022 meeting December 15–16. The agenda included updates on directorate activities and discussion of federal policy updates impacting NSF.

Kellina Craig-Henderson, assistant director of the SBE directorate, provided an update on the SBE budget and an overview of the authorized funding provided in the CHIPS and Science Act for NSF. Robert Groves, Georgetown University, updated the advisory committee on the activities of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Societal Experts Action Network (SEAN), supported with NSF funding. Groves noted that, while SEAN was successful in serving as a bridge from social science findings to real-world applications throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, there were challenges in translating national-level findings to local phenomena.

John Finamore, chief statistician at the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES) in SBE, described the Analytics for Equity Initiative, which seeks to fund researchers who leverage federal data sets to answer policy and research questions. Several federal agencies are involved, with NSF supporting projects in STEM education and STEM research. A broad agency announcement to support Phase 1 projects is expected to be issued in January.

Committee members also heard updates on the implementation of the CHIPS and Science Act, particularly for programs within SBE. John Garneski, budget officer for SBE, highlighted provisions in CHIPS and Science that will support and expand research in SBE sciences and increase and strengthen statistical activities, using SBE sciences to inform NSF activities and national priorities.

The meeting agenda included small-group discussions on SBE engagement on partnerships and the recent memorandum on public access to federally funded publications and related data issued by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). During a broader discussion on the OSTP public access policy, NSF staff highlighted current practices and NSF-funded activities that advance access to publications and data, including through investments in infrastructure.

NSF officials also detailed some of the agency’s ongoing and future public outreach activities that inform NSF’s policy, noting that they were also aiming to avoid unintended consequences that might undermine equity. Committee members relayed questions about the potential for increased costs for NSF research grants awards, goals on future policies on open access, and coordination with other federal agencies.