The NIH Basic Behavioral and Social Science Opportunity Network, known as “OppNet,” was a 2010-2013 collaborative initiative that included the NIH Office of the Director and the 24 Institutes and Centers (ICs) that support and administer research projects. OppNet identified cross-cutting basic social and behavioral research areas and published funding opportunities to stimulate basic behavioral and social sciences research (bBSSR) applications that complemented the interests and missions of the ICs.
OBSSR provided management, operational, and financial support for this NIH-wide initiative. OppNet’s Steering Committee provided scientific and strategic guidance to concept teams that consisted of program directors across the NIH. The OBSSR Director and the Director of the National Institute on Aging co-chaired the OppNet Steering Committee. This webpage provides active NOFOs and archival information related to the OppNet initiative, including NOFOs and funded projects by fiscal year, and an executive summary of an evaluation October 2017 report (269KB). For more information on OppNet, contact
William Elwood, Ph.D.
OppNet has multiple active funding opportunities for investigator-career development and research projects. All our Notices of Funding Opportunities (NOFOs) focus on basic social, psychological, and biological sciences to advance the understanding of mechanisms and processes that can occur individually, synergistically, and within environments and lead to behavioral and social functions with specific implications on health and wellbeing. Applications to OppNet NOFOs may involve animal models, human subjects, or existing data. NIH policies require multiple versions of NOFOs to accommodate project types and design; be certain your proposed project aligns with the appropriate version of a NOFO and that the NIH Institutes, Centers, and Offices that interest you participate in that OppNet NOFO.
Research on Biopsychosocial Factors of Social Connectedness and Isolation on Health, Wellbeing, Illness, and Recovery (R01)
This series of NOFOs invite research projects that seek to explain underlying mechanisms, processes, and trajectories of social relationships and how these factors affect outcomes in human health, illness, recovery, and overall wellbeing. Both animal model and human subjects research projects are welcome. Select the version that most closely aligns with your project’s study design.
- PAR-21-349: Research on Biopsychosocial Factors of Social Connectedness and Isolation on Health, Wellbeing, Illness, and Recovery (R01 Basic Experimental Studies with Humans Required)
- PAR-21-350: Research on Biopsychosocial Factors of Social Connectedness and Isolation on Health, Wellbeing, Illness, and Recovery (R01 Clinical Trials Not Allowed)
- PAR-21-352: Research on Biopsychosocial Factors of Social Connectedness and Isolation on Health, Wellbeing, Illness, and Recovery (R01 Clinical Trial Required)
NIH Policies on Human Subjects Research and NIH bBSSR NOFOs
OBSSR acknowledges that disease-, risk-, and wellness-contexts can provide opportunities to study basic behavioral or social processes, basic biobehavioral or biosocial interrelationships, or methodology and measurement relevant to the NIH definition of basic behavioral and social science research (b-BSSR). Given the NIH mission, OppNet NOFOs welcome applications that propose projects in a broad variety of settings, including general population and clinical samples. Projects also can include disease (or risk-factor) outcomes, so long as the focus of a study is on basic behavioral or social processes, basic biobehavioral or biosocial interrelationships, or methodology and measurement relevant to BSSR research.
Consequently, OppNet strongly encourages interested researchers to consult the bBSSR and BSSR definitions and the scientific contacts listed on each OppNet NOFO before deciding whether and how to apply.
Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects ('Common Rule') and the NIH’s efforts to improve rigor, reproducibility, and reporting across scientific disciplines involved in health-related research, the NIH uses the term clinical trial broadly, "A research study in which one or more human subjects are prospectively assigned to one or more interventions (which may include placebo or other control) to evaluate the effects of those interventions on health-related biomedical or behavioral outcomes." Click the graphic below for NIH resources to determine whether your proposed research study with human subjects meets NIH’s definition of a clinical trial.
At OppNet’s inception, the Steering Committee requested a seminar series to educate the entire NIH community on basic behavioral and social sciences. The following titles link to archived videocasts that are available to the public.
- The amygdala and emotion in human and non-human primates, March 25, 2011
- Big man on campus: Social regulation of gene and endocrine expression in human and nonhuman primates, March 20, 2012
- Cultural neuroscience: Closing the gap in population mental health disparities, January 8, 2016
- Geospatial frontiers in health and health behaviors research: Key pathways forward, March 6, 2014
- Maternal/caretaker response to child’s distress and pain, September 19, 2011
- Survey biology, June 28, 2011
- OppNet-funded research projects on biopsychosocial mechanisms and processes in resilience and health, March 11, 2021
Reports, proceedings, and articles
Over the years, OppNet activities have led to many types of publications in addition to the articles published by OppNet grantees. Listed below are OppNet-related publications that are less likely to be found through PubMed.gov or the Results section of any NIH grant found through NIH RePORTER.
- Integrating behavioural, biomedical, and social processes in resilience and health research over the human lifecourse, 2023
- Supporting research on integrative mechanisms of resilience across time and scale, 2021
- Evaluation of a mid-career investigator career development award: Assessing the ability of OppNet K18 awardees to obtain NIH follow-on research funding, 2018
- Insights from the OppNet initiatives on psychosocial stress and sleep: Themes for multidisciplinary team science research, 2016
- Evaluation of the NIH OppNet Initiative: Executive Summary, 2017
- A manual for cultural analysis, 2018, from R24MD008818-01
- Report of the Working Group of the NIH Advisory Committee to the Director on research opportunities in the basic behavioral and social sciences, 2004