Director's Voice Blog

In the monthly Director’s Voice Blog, OBSSR Director William T. Riley, Ph.D., discusses timely topics related to behavioral and social sciences research (BSSR). Subscribe to receive updates from OBSSR Director William T. Riley, Ph.D.

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The fourth NIH Behavioral and Social Sciences Research Festival was held on December 6, 2019. The festival serves two purposes, to highlight some of the recent behavioral and social science supported by the NIH, and to bring together behavioral and social science program officers, review administrators, and intramural scientists across the NIH to network face-to-face.
Over the years, NIH has released policies to encourage data sharing.  Our first data sharing policy in 2003 was limited to awards requesting more than $500,000 in direct costs in any year.  Subsequent data sharing policies focused predominantly on genomic data sharing (Genome-Wide Association Studies Policy; Genomic Data Sharing Policy).  There are clear and well-accepted advantages of data sharing including increasing sample size, facilitating reproducibility analyses, and increasing the impact of the taxpayer’s investment in data collection to advance science.  These advantages are not limit…
The National Institutes of Health has awarded $945 million in total fiscal year 2019 funding for grants, contracts and cooperative agreements across 41 states through the Helping to End Addiction Long-term Initiative or NIH HEAL Initiative. The trans-NIH research effort aims to improve treatments for chronic pain, curb the rates of opioid use disorder (OUD) and overdose and achieve long-term recovery from opioid addiction.
The research that NIH funds doesn’t always fall neatly into a single category. Basic research involving humans that seeks to understand the fundamental aspects of phenomena also may meet the NIH-definition of a clinical trial. We refer to these studies as BESH – Basic Experimental Studies involving Humans (see our previous blog). Since this type of research meets the NIH definition of a clinical trial, these trials must register and report summary results information for transparency and other purposes outlined in the NIH Policy on the Dissemination of NIH-Funded Clinical Trial Information. Ho…
On June 6, 2019, the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) hosted the 12th NIH Matilda White Riley Behavioral and Social Sciences Honors. Each year, this honors event commemorates the contributions of Dr. Matilda White Riley (PDF, 684 KB), who advanced health-related behavioral and social sciences research at the NIH and served many of the functions of OBSSR before the Office was created nearly 25 years ago.
The National Institutes of Health Health High-Risk, High-Reward program (HRHR) is a Common Fund effort created to accelerate the pace of biomedical, behavioral, and social science discoveries by supporting exceptionally creative scientists conducting highly innovative research. The program seeks to identify scientists with high-impact ideas that may be risky or at a stage too early to fare well in the traditional peer review process. The program encourages creative, outside-the-box thinkers to pursue exciting and innovative ideas in any area of biomedical, behavioral, or social sciences resear…
For a number of years, OBSSR has made available a fact sheet(PDF, 1,071 KB) that lists some key accomplishments of health-related behavioral and social sciences research. That fact sheet, developed in 2013, is becoming dated and is a short list of only a few key accomplishments resulting from behavioral and social sciences research. The NIH behavioral and social sciences staff could generate an updated list, but we can generate a much more extensive and diverse list of accomplishments if we enlist the help of the larger behavioral and social sciences research community. Plus, your crowdsourcin…
A few months ago, back in August 2018, we authored a blog letting the community know that we were working on a new resource for behavioral and social science researchers to prepare research protocols for human studies measuring a behavioral or social outcome or testing a behavioral or social science-based intervention. We are now happy to report back that the template has been finalized and is ready for researchers to utilize. Even better news is that the template has been fully integrated into the NIH’s Clinical e-Protocol Writing Tool!
In the State of the Union Address, the President announced the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) initiative on Ending the HIV Epidemic. The goals are bold, to reduce new infections by 75% in 5 years and by 90% in 10 years, but are possible due to advances in two areas of research supported by the NIH. First, extensive research on HIV has produced an armamentarium of testing strategies and treatments that have extended the lives and quality of life of people infected with HIV and provided effective prevention strategies. Second, for over a decade, NIH has supported implementation s…
On January 2, 2019, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) released a Request for Information (RFI) seeking input on its Strategic Plan 2020-2024. From a collaborative process involving external and internal stakeholders, six themes have emerged for which NICHD is seeking public input.