February 2014 Issue • Volume 42 • Issue 2

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Science Policy

OBSSR Enacts Twitter Chats on Career Development

In addition to providing training that is geared toward research or grant funding, the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Behavioral and Social Science Research (OBSSR) also coordinates career development for students and early career trainees and helps connect them to behavioral and social scientists in education, administration, and policy. OBSSR understands that today’s tech-savvy students and trainees are exploring multiple career paths, and that the job-market is competitive. That is why they are using Twitter Chats. Their first Twitter Chat was on Careers in the Behavioral Sciences at the NIH. The Twitter Chat feed can be found using the hashtag #obssrchat.  OBSSR is planning more career chats, but the topics are under development. Post suggestions on Facebook or like current ideas at www.facebook.com/OBSSR.NIH and follow on Twitter @NIHOBSSR.

A Updated Census.gov Website

This month, the U.S. Census Bureau released a beta version of its new census.gov website. With a new look and topic-based navigation, the redesigned site provides easier access to statistics on America’s people, places, and economy. So, what is new? The site includes topic-based navigation built around 11 topics, such as health, families, and education, and centralizes statistical content from numerous surveys. Another difference is contextual navigation, with pages that now provide multiple paths to get to information. For instance, many pages now have helpful related links. The site also uses new colors and offers more white space and narrower columns to allow for easier reading and navigation. For more information, see www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/miscellaneous/cb14-28.html or follow @uscensusbureau on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube for the latest Census Bureau news and information.

NSF Releases 2012 U.S. Doctoral Degree Recipient Data

The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently released a report, titled Doctorate Recipients from U.S. Universities: 2012, which unveils important trends in U.S. doctoral education. The report calls attention to important trends in doctoral education organized around five key questions, among them: Who earns a U.S. doctorate? Which fields attract students? What influences the path to the doctorate? Annual counts of doctorate recipients are a direct measure of the investment in human resources devoted to science, engineering, research, and scholarship. These can serve as leading indicators of the capacity of knowledge-creation and innovation in various domains. Understanding the themes outlined in this report is critical to making informed improvements in this country’s doctoral education system. Trends in the report can be examined in greater depth by visiting www.nsf.gov/statistics/sed/2012/start.cfm.

NSF Study Shows Declines in Federal Funding for Research and Development

Recent data collected by the National Science Foundation indicate that federal budget authority for research and development (R&D) and R&D plant budget together totaled $134 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2013—an estimated 7.1 percent decline from FY 2012. The FY 2013 decline stems from spending cuts and sequestration mandated by the Budget Control Act of 2011.

National defense typically accounts for at least half of the annual federal budget authority for R&D and R&D plant ($72 billion in FY 2013, or 54 percent). A sizeable portion of the remainder goes toward the broad categories of health ($30 billion in FY 2013), space flight, research and supporting activities ($11 billion) and general science and basic research ($10 billion). For more information on this report, see www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=130156reports and other products.

 

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