April 08, 2022
Year of Evidence for Action Kicks Off!
By Christina Ciocca Eller, OSTP; Mariam Gulaid, OSTP/OMB; Evidence Team, OMB
Today, the Biden-Harris Administration launched a "Year of Evidence for Action" at its first-ever White House Summit on Evidence for Action, co-hosted by the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
During this Year of Evidence, the Administration will:
- Share leading practices from Federal agencies to generate and use research-backed knowledge to advance better, more equitable outcomes for all of America;
- Strengthen and develop new strategies and structures to promote consistent evidence-based decision-making inside the Federal Government; and
- Increase connection and collaboration among researchers, knowledge producers, and decision makers inside and outside of the Federal Government.
Motivated by the Memorandum on Scientific Integrity and Evidence-Based Policymaking, the bipartisan Foundations for Evidence-Based Policy Act of 2018, and related Guidance issued by OMB, Federal agencies have embarked on ambitious planning processes, including the creation of Annual Evaluation Plans, Learning Agendas, and Evaluation Policies. Federal agencies also have appointed Evaluation Officers, Chief Data Officers, and Statistical Officials to lead this work, further building the internal capacity for evidence-based policy and practice.
As many examples of evidence-based practice and policy pursued by Federal agencies show: people benefit when evidence informs U.S. Government decisions. Those marginalized in the housing market gain access to fairer, better housing options. People struggling in the wake of COVID-19 are able to access effective programs like Registered Apprenticeships, which pave the way to fulfilling, high-paying jobs. And students have better academic outcomes when schools embrace evidence-based strategies for teaching and supporting their needs, no matter where they live, creating better, more equitable futures.
Through the Year of Evidence for Action, we will continue the effort to build, nurture, and expand a culture of evidence across the Federal Government. Many of these activities are well underway; you can learn more about them by reading Federal agencies' Learning Agendas.
In the Executive Office of the President, we also have a variety of new efforts underway. Here are just a few examples:
Connecting the Research Community to Evidence Priorities inside the Federal Government through a Novel Funding Pilot: The Analytics for Equity Pilot, a first-of-its-kind initiative led by National Science Foundation (NSF), OSTP, and OMB, will leverage NSF's experience in funding research grants and connecting with academics. To do so, it will distribute targeted funding to external research teams that submit rigorous proposals to directly address Federal agencies' priority learning questions that focus on equity. The Pilot aims to include participation from academics with a broad range of institutional affiliations and areas of expertise. Agency partners will help shape the Pilot's focus on key thematic areas and will provide guidance on data resources and agency needs. In addition to NSF, agency partners for this Pilot include the Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Department of Labor's Chief Evaluation Office, and the Environmental Protection Agency. For more information, including details on the forthcoming Call for Proposals and relevant deadlines, by emailing NSF's Evaluation and Assessment Capability Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Building Skills and Knowledge within the Federal Evidence Community: The OMB Evidence Team is partnering with HHS and agency evaluation experts to develop the Federal Evaluation Toolkit. This resource will help build evaluation skills among the Federal workforce broadly by addressing the value of evaluation, how to interpret and communicate results to Agency leaders, and how leaders can – and should – use results to support decision-making.
Mobilizing Social and Behavioral Research Evidence to Inform Policy: The OSTP-led National Science and Technology Council will re-charter the Social and Behavioral Sciences Subcommittee of the Committee on Science. This Subcommittee was decommissioned in the previous Administration, and now will be reconstituted with the directive to carry out short-term, high-priority tasks regarding the use of social and behavioral science evidence in Federal practices and policies, and then will lay the groundwork for longer-term coordination of agency efforts related to these topics. The first short-term task will be to deliver whole-of-government Blueprint for the use of social and behavioral science research to advance evidence-based policymaking, due by April 30, 2023, per the Subcommittee Charter.
The Biden-Harris Administration's commitment to making evidence-based decisions rooted in the best available science and data builds on two, central priorities: upholding scientific integrity and advancing equity. Both of these priorities require another priority: diversity, inclusion, and strong relationships – between scientists, practitioners, and the public – built on trust.
But we cannot do this work alone.
An essential goal of the Year of Evidence is to build closer connections between diverse knowledge producers and decision makers inside and outside of the Federal Government. As one important step, OSTP expects to co-host a series of events over the course of the Year of Evidence with leading non-profits and academic organizations to co-develop concrete strategies for mobilizing research-based evidence that can make life healthier, safer, more equitable, and more prosperous for the American public. These organizations have demonstrated expertise in translating research evidence to practice and policy, and include: the Data Foundation; the Evidence-to-Impact Collaborative at the Pennsylvania State University; the Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy at the University of Illinois-Chicago and the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability; Pew Charitable Trusts; the Policy Lab at Brown University; Results for America; and the Urban Institute.
We plan to keep the public updated and to share more examples of how evidence is being used meaningfully, Government-wide, throughout the Year of Evidence. But we are also eager to learn from you! We encourage you to participate in the Year of Evidence in these five, practical ways:
Pursue policy-relevant research related to Administration and Agency priorities, which can be found in President Biden's letter to the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), or in Federal agencies' Learning Agendas and Annual Evaluation Plans, or to cross-cutting Administration priorities such as those found in the draft President's Management Agenda Learning Agenda.
Apply for contracts and grants that focus directly on evidence-building in support of the Federal Government, such as the new Analytics for Equity Initiative described above, co-developed by NSF, OSTP, and OMB.
Join the evidence infrastructure of the Federal Government by pursuing employment in Federal agencies as program evaluators, data scientists, or science and technology policy analysts.
Consider taking a tour in public service through an Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) assignment, which allows for short-term engagements on behalf of the Federal government for qualifying individuals. Examples of offices that might host an IPA assignment include the Office of Evaluation Sciences in the General Services Administration, the Evidence Team at OMB, or policy offices in the Executive Office of the President, among other opportunities.
Help the Federal Government to build capacity by sending ideas, resources, guides, and other materials on evidence creation and use directly to email@example.com.
- By sending information to firstname.lastname@example.org, each participant (individual, team, or legal entity) warrants that they are the sole author or owner of, or has the right to use, any copyrightable works that the Submission comprises, that the works are wholly original (or is an improved version of an existing work that the participant has sufficient rights to use and improve), and that the Submission does not infringe any copyright or any other rights of any third party of which participant is aware.
- Each participant (individual, team, or legal entity) also consents to the contents of their submission being made available to all Federal agencies and their employees on an internal-to-government website accessible only to agency staffpersons.
- Participants will not be required to transfer their intellectual property rights to OMB, but Participants must grant to the Federal government a nonexclusive license to apply, share, and use the materials that are included in the Submission. To participate in this request, each participant must warrant that there are no legal obstacles to providing the above-referenced nonexclusive licenses of participant rights to the Federal government.