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1) Year of Evidence for Action

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 OSTP and 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. . . . 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: The Analytics for Equity Pilot, led by 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 HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the DOL Chief Evaluation Office, and EPA. For more information, including details on the forthcoming Call for Proposals and relevant deadlines, email NSF's Evaluation and Assessment Capability Office at eac@nsf.gov.

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. 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: 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. . . . Help the Federal Government to build capacity by sending ideas, resources, guides, and other materials on evidence creation and use directly to evidence@omb.eop.gov.

FACT SHEET: Biden-⁠Harris Administration Launches Year of Evidence for Action to Fortify and Expand Evidence-Based Policymaking
https://www.whitehouse.gov/ostp/news-updates/2022/04/07/fact-sheet-biden-harris-administration-launches-year-of-evidence-for-action-to-fortify-and-expand-evidence-based-policymaking/

Year of Evidence for Action Kicks Off!
https://www.evaluation.gov/2022-4-7-year-of-evidence-for-action/

2) White House Summit on Evidence for Action (4.7.22)

On Thursday, April 7th, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the White House Office of Management and Budget hosted a Summit to highlight the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to evidence-based policymaking that incorporates the best-available science, research, and data, and advances scientific integrity.

This first of its kind Summit included nearly five hundred participants, including Federal Government leaders and evidence practitioners, as well as leading experts in developing, translating, and using evidence from academia, the non-profit sector, and State, territorial, Tribal, and local governments, and members of the public.

The Summit focused on two Administration pillars: evidence-based policymaking and equity. Through panel discussions with Federal government leaders and evidence practitioners, and a best-in-class example of “evidence for action” provided by research experts outside of the Federal Government, the Summit showcased how policies shaped by the best-available evidence are critical to keeping the American public safe, healthy, informed, and economically prosperous, and serving it equitably.

The head of OSTP and Deputy Assistant to the President Dr. Alondra Nelson, spoke on the first panel, “Lessons from Crossing Divides: Leadership Panel on Evidence for Action.” During the session, she spotlighted the importance of cultivating a “culture of evidence” throughout the Federal Government.

“A culture of evidence is about asking the right questions and consulting the people who need policy to change the most when developing our evidence and ensuring that it informs policy…” said Dr. Nelson. Referencing the historical Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, she continued: “We have had so much discussion of ‘infrastructure’in the Biden-Harris Administration, so I’ve been thinking quite a lot about building bridges… of the metaphorical kind: we need to build evidence bridges and fill them with two- and three-way traffic flows involving communities, evidence creators, and policymakers. That can be done with program resources, through grants, with a commitment to evidence translation—and also by having more conversations and dialogues like this.”

Speakers on the Leadership Panel also pointed to the importance of building and incorporating a wide array of evidence sources to tackle the Nation’s pressing challenges. Dr. Sabeel Rahman, Senior Counselor in the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, commented directly on this issue.

“Government is about solving the most critical, urgent problems that our communities face. And that requires good evidence. But evidence takes lots of different forms. It’s not just what we might conventionally think of as the numbers on a spreadsheet or what comes out of a statistical model, though those are of course important, too,” said Dr. Rahman. “There are so many things that are not easily shoe-horned into a conventional cost-benefit analysis. We really want to make sure we’re thinking about human dignity, equity, the intergenerational effects of climate change, among other considerations.”

Robert Santos, Director of the Census Bureau, also underscored the importance of developing data resources that can support evidence-based policymaking, noting:

“Traditionally, the Census Bureau’s approach has been that we go out and we produce data and make it available. We disseminate it, so that stakeholders can use it as they see fit. But with the Evidence Act, there is a genuine opportunity to flip that model a little bit on its head,” said Mr. Santos. “We at Census and other statistical agencies will continue to do the work of our portfolios as we must. But we must also focus on collecting data that are more relevant to policymakers, to State and local governments, to researchers, and to communities, for their use in evidence-based policymaking…. If the data aren’t useful for creating an evidence base, then evidence-based policymaking can’t occur.”

Readout: https://www.whitehouse.gov/ostp/news-updates/2022/04/14/readout-white-house-hosts-summit-on-evidence-for-action/
Summit Agenda  https://www.whitehouse.gov/ostp/events-webinars/past-events/

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