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Public Affairs Update

  • Kaufman Named Acting OBSSR Director . . . .Effective April 1, Peter Kaufman officially assumed the helm as Acting Associate Director for Behavioral and Social Science Research and head of the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Named to this post on February 25th by NIH Acting Director Ruth Kirchstein, Kaufman was visibly involved in meeting with staff and others much of March. Kaufman has been at NIH since 1983, most recently as Group Leader of the Behavioral Medicine Group in the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute’s (NHLBI) Division of Epidemiology and Clinical Applications. Meanwhile, with a March 1 closing date, the search for a Director for OBSSR is well underway.

  • And at NSF, Breckler Acts . . . .Steve Breckler, Program Director for Social Psychology at the National Science Foundation (NSF), was appointed Acting Director of the Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences after Hilleary Everist’s departure from NSF in early March. A search for this position is also underway.

  • Meanwhile 2001 Budget Request for Science Looks Good . . . . The administration sent to the hill a pro-science budget for 2001. The two agencies key for federal support of the social and behavioral sciences (NSF and NIH) are slated for a boost. The proposed increase for NSF is $675 million or 17.3 percent; for NIH (which gets much more added by Congress), it is $1 billion or 5.6 percent. Importantly, at NSF, almost one-half of the increase would go to enhance support for core programs rather than for new Foundation-wide initiatives. The request for the NSF Directorate for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (SBE) is a solid 19.8 percent increase—to $175.14 million. Its impact at the program level and for sociology remains to be seen, but the overall “asking” figure is the largest requested in NSF’s history. While the percent increase at NIH is much smaller, it is expected that money will be provided by Congress to keep NIH on the budget doubling track.

  • Speaking of Doubling . . . . Speaking to the NSF Science Board right after he started the job, Norman Bradburn, new Assistant Director for the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences, signaled a goal of budget doubling for SBE in three years. With prospects of a major new initiative for 2003 in SBE, Bradburn indicated he would create a “special strategic planning team” to take the lead and coordinate with the SBE Advisory Committee, other NSF directorates, and the relevant scientific communities.

  • SBE Issues Call for Second Infrastructure Competition . . . . As part of SBE’s continuing effort to invest in the infrastructure of the social and behavioral sciences, a second competition is being launched this year with an August 4 deadline and fiscal year 2001 funding. Large-scale infrastructure projects are encouraged that can widely support addressing new and challenging questions across the social and behavioral sciences. Infrastructure projects include data collection and data base construction, web-based data archiving, web-based collaboratories, and center programs. The full announcement is available at Direct inquiries to Paul Chapin, Senior Program Director for Scientific Initiatives, or (703) 306-1760.

  • NSF Seeks Proposals on the Information Technology Workforce—Focus on Women and Minorities . . . .With a June 22 deadline, a new Information Technology Workforce (ITW) competition is being held by NSF to support a broad set of studies focusing on the under-representation of women and minorities in the IT workforce. Three broad themes (environment and culture, the educational continuum, the workplace) signal the scope of research being sought. Projects can vary in size, with funding up to three years; multi-disciplinary collaboration is encouraged. The full announcement is available at; also direct inquiries to