Healthier Lives Through Behavioral and Social Sciences Research
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Home > About OBSSR > Mission


Mission and Core Activities

OBSSR Mission (PDF 1.3MB)

Situated within the Office of the Director, the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) furthers the mission of the NIH by emphasizing the critical role that behavioral and social factors play in health, health care, and well-being. With a budget of approximately $27 million, the OBSSR serves as the focal point for the coordination and development of policies, goals, and objectives in the behavioral and social sciences at the NIH. The OBSSR's mission is: (1) to integrate a behavioral and social sciences perspective across the NIH; (2) to disseminate behavioral and social sciences research findings; and (3) to provide advice to and communicate with the NIH Director, Congress, other government agencies, the research community and the general public on matters regarding behavioral and social sciences research. The OBSSR's primary activities include:

Developing and Supporting a National Research Agenda:

Two  men shaking handsThe OBSSR plays a leadership role in setting priorities for behavioral and social sciences research, in developing ideas for funding initiatives related to the behavioral and social sciences, and in gaining the support for them within the NIH. The OBSSR convenes the NIH Behavioral and Social Sciences Research Coordinating Committee (BSSR-CC) monthly to enhance the integration and coordination of behavioral and social sciences research/training activities within the NIH. With input from the BSSR-CC, the OBSSR coordinates scientific activities in the behavioral and social sciences across the NIH. The OBSSR is also active in organizing cutting-edge funding initiatives supported by multiple Institutes and Centers within the NIH and multiple agencies across the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Promoting Dialogue between Scientists and the Public:

Group of people  sitting and smilingThe OBSSR regularly convenes a series of guest lectures and symposia on selected topics in the behavioral and social sciences. These presentations by prominent behavioral and social scientists provide the NIH community and the general public with overviews of current research on topics of scientific interest.

Briefing the Director of NIH:

People sitting in a meetingThe visible presence of behavioral and social sciences research in the intellectual community on the NIH campus is of critical importance to increasing support for these sciences. The Office briefs the NIH Director on discoveries and developments in the field.

Training and Career Development of Behavioral and Social Scientists:

A woman sitting behind a desktop computerActivities organized or sponsored by the OBSSR provide substantive training on important behavioral and social scientific topics through workshops, lecture series, and summer institutes. Additional training resources can be accessed through webinars, videocasts, and the OBSSR's e-learning opportunities.






Past Mission

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                  Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research, Office of the Director
National Institutes of Health, 31 Center Drive, Building 31 Room B1C19, Bethesda, MD 20892
Phone: 301 402 1146 | Fax: 301 402 1150

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