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   Public Policy Report
   Alex Ingrams, Policy Coordinator

It's been a hot summer in Washington in more ways than one. As I write this, the U.S. Senate debates a budget that will cut as much as $1.5 trillion from the federal deficit over the next ten years. The sums involved are extremely daunting in size, but even more daunting is to think of how they will fall on public spending including funding for science. 

In partnership with other science associations I have been taking part in framing our arguments and advocacy efforts on scientific integrity and its corollary of maintaining funding streams for scientific research. There is a wide range of exciting news to share in this update and I particularly want to share news about efforts on National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding. They have frequently summoned urgent and timely action from the SPSSI Policy and Executive Committees, and will be a continued priority of the next 12 months.

In the year of SPSSI's 75th anniversary it is very apt that SPSSI is standing shoulder to shoulder with other organizations promoting the science-based policy that have become its hallmark. As in 1936, SPSSI is playing a continued role in communicating the importance of science for the flourishing and development of society and individuals. 

As part of our work with the Coalition to Promote Research (CPR), the SPSSI Policy Committee wrote a statement on the importance of peer review, and, more recently, the SPSSI Executive Committee signed-off on an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) letter defending vital funding for the NIH in the face of cuts proposed in Congress as a result of budget pressures. It has been particularly challenging working in an environment where some of the political leaders in the United States have taken negative and factually misleading stances on the efficacy of federal science funding agencies. 

While the debate on science funding has been going on, I have been privileged to observe SPSSI members carrying out their research and applying the results to a broad spectrum of social issues. One of the most exciting parts of my work as Policy Coordinator has been to see the outcome of all kinds of research - federally funded, SPSSI funded, and funded by many other sources - for new policy initiatives based on psychological knowledge.

Currently the SPSSI Special Grants Initiative recipients, Meg Bond, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Marta Elliot, University of Nevada Reno and Rebecca Stotzer, University of Hawaii are seeing their first results come through and I am collaborating with them to maximize the policy impact of those results. Starting in July, all recipients of SPSSI research grants now receive a Policy Development Form from Central Office so that it can facilitate and resource the delivery of psychology-based policy initiatives from an early stage.

Please reach out to me if you have any queries about SPSSI policy work and my projects in Central Office. The fortnightly Policy News Update can be subscribed to be emailing me at My weekly blog for news summaries, and current affairs and behavioral science discussion is available at, and also on our Member Forum at Our Facebook and Twitter pages are packed with a wealth of news items and annoucements.


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