Board of Scientific Affairs Reviews Priorities
The Board of Scientific Affairs (BSA) met in November to discuss the development and implementation of initiatives that address psychological science. BSA reviewed a Science Directorate document that outlines programs currently in place and suggests future endeavors.
The Board developed a plan on how to initiate the Master Lecture series that it will now oversee. The Continuing Education (CE) Committee coordinated this program for years, but recently decided that the series was no longer central to its mission. BSA members concluded that the series serves as an important vehicle for dissemination of scientific knowledge, so they requested that the Science Directorate be its new home. BSA decided to organize the Master Lectures into topic areas and to solicit nominations for speakers in those areas by the end of the year. BSA also discussed the issue of employment of science-oriented graduate students in applied and industrial settings. The Board reviewed a report from a 1-day meeting of academic and industry scientific psychologists and decided to make the issue a high priority for the Science Directorate. BSA plans to establish a task force to examine the issue, make recommendations, and implement initiatives.
A highlight of the meeting was the Board's discussions with Wendy Baldwin, PhD, Deputy Director for Extramural Research at the National Institutes for Health (NIH), and Anne Petersen, PhD, Deputy Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF). Dr. Baldwin discussed changes underway in the NIH review process and addressed several concerns of BSA members. Dr. Baldwin has direct responsibility for the NIH extramural research program and is supervising several experimental modifications to the NIH peer review system. She informed the group about several innovative initiatives, including a triage pilot where only grants considered competitive go on to receive scores, and 'just in time,' which postpones the collection of certain types of information in grant proposals, such as a complete budget detail, until it is actually needed.
In addition, Dr. Baldwin is overseeing the integration of the grant review systems of the former Alcohol, Drug Abuse and Mental Health Administration institutes--the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism--into the NIH review system. BSA members expressed their concerns about the impact this change may have on the review of grants in the mental health and substance abuse fields. Dr. Baldwin assured them that NIH wants their comments and urged them to continue to make suggestions as the integration process unfolds.
Dr. Petersen, a past president of APA's Division 7, Developmental Psychology, discussed NSF support of fundamental research within the broader government-wide strategic research areas and stressed that NSF will continue to fund basic research. She was also asked by BSA members to comment on general support for behavioral research at NSF and the status of an ongoing review of the Education and Human Resources Directorate at NSF. Dr. Petersen was sworn in as NSF Deputy Director in August 1994. She is the highest ranking woman ever appointed at NSF and will serve as the chief operating officer for the $3 billion federal research agency. In addition, Dr. Petersen oversees NSF's Strategic Areas Policy Group, which coordinates the eight cross-directorate strategic research areas.
In addition, BSA met with the APA Board of Directors for an extensive discussion of issues of mutual concern. BSA encouraged the Board to continue to consider how APA can attract new members by using a variety of mechanisms. BSA and the Board of Directors agreed that this type of discussion was helpful and that direct contact between the Boards would continue.
BSA also met with the Board of Convention Affairs (BCA) to discuss concerns of scientific psychologists about the convention. Some suggestions for improvement included distributing information about Science Weekend earlier in the spring and collecting information from past program chairs regarding their experiences and problems in planning their division programs for convention. The box below lists the new members that the Board selected in the Fall to join BSA and to serve on its committees. All terms run from 1995 to 1997.