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Feb 10 -- The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) publishes a request for information (RFI) soliciting input from the public regarding potential priority questions that can guide evidence-building activities. Suggestions should be submitted by March 31, 2021.
 
The Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018 (Evidence Act, Pub. L. 115-435) requires each federal agency to develop, as part of the agency strategic plan issued every four years, a systematic evidence-building plan (or “learning agenda”) to identify and address policy questions relevant to the strategies, programs, policies, and regulations of the agency. The plan must contain (1) a list of policy-relevant questions for which the agency intends to develop evidence to support policymaking; (2) a list of data the agency intends to collect, use, or acquire to facilitate the use of evidence in policymaking; (3) a list of methods and analytical approaches that may be used to develop evidence to support policymaking; (4) a list of any challenges to developing evidence to support policymaking, including any statutory or other restrictions to accessing relevant data; (5) a description of the steps the agency will take to accomplish items (1) and (2) above; and (6) any other information as required by guidance issued by the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). In developing the evidence-building plan, the agency must consult with stakeholders, including the public, agencies, State and local governments, and representatives of non-governmental researchers.  
 
On January 27, 2021, President Biden issued a Memorandum on Restoring Trust in Government Through Scientific Integrity and Evidence-Based Policymaking, which reinforces the importance of the evidence-building plan.   

DHS is committed to evaluating the effectiveness and efficiency of its programs, policies, and regulations. DHS will use its evidence-building plan to coordinate and communicate how evaluation, statistics, research, and analysis will be used to help the Department achieve its mission.

Through this RFI, DHS is soliciting suggestions from a broad array of stakeholders across public and private sectors that may be familiar with or interested in the work of DHS and wish to volunteer suggestions for studies that could help DHS improve the effectiveness and efficiency of DHS strategy, programs, policies and regulations. DHS invites suggestions in many forms—such as questions to be answered, hypotheses to be tested, or problems to be studied—and focused on any area of Department's work, including strategy, policy, programs, regulations, management, and operations. Responses to this RFI will inform the Department's ongoing development of a set of questions that will guide direction and evidence-building activities, such as foundational research, policy analysis, performance measurement, and program evaluation.
 
FR notice of RFI: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/02/10/2021-02735/request-for-information-evidence-building-activities

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