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The National Science Foundation (NSF) has selected Fay Lomax Cook to serve as Assistant Director for the Directorate for Social, Behavioral & Economic Sciences (SBE). SBE’s mission is to promote the understanding of people and their lives by supporting research that reveals basic facets of human behavior and helps provide answers to important societal questions and problems. SBE works with other disciplines to ensure that basic research and solutions to problems build on the best multidisciplinary science. Cook is a professor at Northwestern University, where she is a faculty fellow of the Institute for Policy Research and a professor of human development and social policy in the School of Education and Social Policy. From 1996 to 2012, she directed the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University, which is one of the nation’s leading centers of nonpartisan, interdisciplinary, policy-relevant research. Her research focuses on the interrelationships between public opinion and social policy, the politics of public policy, public deliberation, energy policy, and the dynamics of public and elite support for programs for older Americans, particularly Social Security. Cook will begin her NSF appointment in September 2014. For more information, visit http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=130732.
With appropriations season starting on Capitol Hill, a coalition of 14 business, higher education, and scientific organizations launched a creative video that urges Congress to Close the Innovation Deficit with strong federal investments in research and higher education. The four-minute video can be viewed at www.innovationdeficit.org. It explains the direct link between basic research, economic growth, improved medical treatments, and national security; the risk that recent cuts to research pose to the United States’ role as the global innovation leader at a time when other nations are rapidly increasing their research investments; and the significant benefits that renewed investments in research would bring the country. The innovation deficit is the gap between actual and needed federal investments in research and higher education at a time when other nations, such as China, India and Singapore, are dramatically boosting research funding to develop the next great technological and medical breakthroughs.