Director's Voice Blog

In the monthly Director’s Voice Blog, OBSSR leadership discusses timely topics related to behavioral and social sciences research (BSSR). Subscribe to receive updates.

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As we celebrate 25 years of OBSSR, we have asked the former Directors to reflect on their time at OBSSR. This guest blog was authored by OBSSR’s first Director, Norman B. Anderson, Ph.D.
“You tell me what you need people to do, and I’ll tell you how to help them do it.” Although a simplification, this statement by social and behavioral scientists to our infectious disease colleagues illustrates the nature of our collaboration during an infectious disease outbreak like the current COVID-19 outbreak. Without this collaboration, we risk that people will not do what we are telling them to do.
How time flies! OBSSR released its third strategic plan in September, 2017, and we are already halfway through this five-year plan. OBSSR has organized its functions and activities to achieve the objectives of this strategic plan and has made significant progress on these objectives. Internally, OBSSR is performing a mid-course evaluation to assess what has been accomplished and what remains to be accomplished under the current strategic plan, but in parallel we have also begun planning for the next strategic plan, and we want your input.
This year, 2020, marks the 25th anniversary of the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) at the National Institutes of Health. OBSSR was enacted by Congress in 1993 and established two years later in July, 1995 to identify projects of behavioral and social sciences research that should be conducted or supported by the
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…