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OBSSR Connector Monthly Newsletter

The Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) Connector Monthly Newsletter is a monthly e-newsletter featuring updates from OBSSR Director William T. Riley, Ph.D., information about behavioral and social sciences in the news, events and announcements, findings from recently published research, funding announcements, and other updates. The current newsletter is provided below.
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OBSSR Connector Monthly

June 18, 2019

Director's Voice

High-Risk, High-Reward Research of the Behavioral and Social Sciences. 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 research within the NIH mission.

This blog was co-authored by Dr. Elizabeth (Betsy) Wilder, Director of the NIH Office of Strategic Coordination (OSC). More information about OSC and The Common Fund can be found here.

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Research Spotlights

Findings from Recently Published Research


Graphic of female sitting down and curled up, associated with June 2019 research spotlight article on Youth suicide rates in the U.S. increasing, especially in younger girls.

Youth suicide rates in the U.S. increasing, especially in younger girls

Researchers funded by the NIMH recently reported a disturbing trend in suicide rates in the United states. Suicide is the second leading cause of death in the U.S. for youth ages 10 to 19 years old. Historically, the rates of suicide have been higher in males than in females across all age groups, even though female youth attempt suicide and report contemplating it more often. Read More

Graphic of brain with interconnected neurons in different colors, associated with June 2019 research spotlight article on What has happened to the 'golden rule'? Shifting moral rules and insights into social decision-making.

What has happened to the “golden rule”? Shifting moral rules and insights into social decision-making

Recently, a study supported by a grant from the NIMH was published where researchers characterized different moral strategies in the context of reciprocity behavior and the brain circuits involved. In societies with diverse populations, different individuals may use different sets of moral principles, and thus have differing moral strategies, which can influence everyday social behavior.
Learn More

Graphic of an older and younger African-American female hugging and smiling, associated with June 2019 research spotlight article on Researchers make strides in treating depression in Parkinson's Disease.

Researchers make strides in treating depression in Parkinson’s Disease

Depression is one of the most common and debilitating nonmotor complaints in patients with Parkinson's disease (PD). Recently, researchers supported by a grant from the NINDS examined the impact of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) on depressive symptoms in PD. Depression in PD is associated with a faster decline in cognition and physical health, poorer quality of life, and more distress in those caring for patients with PD.
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In the Know

Events and Announcements


NIH TIDIRH is now accepting applications

OBSSR, in coordination with a number of NIH Institutes and Centers and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), is hosting this Training Institute to provide participants with a thorough grounding in conducting dissemination and implementation (D&I) research across all areas of health and health care. The Institute will utilize a combination of a 5-month online course between September 3, 2019 and January, 2020 culminating in a 2-day in-person training to be held January 23-24, 2020, in Bethesda, MD. This training is designed for doctoral-level investigators at any career stage interested in conducting D&I research. For questions about the training, please contact OBSSR program staff at Applications are being accepted through Sunday, June 23, 2019.
Apply Now


NIH OBSSR Methodology Seminar: Text Mining for Behavioral and Social Sciences Research - Friday, August 9, 2019

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) invites you to attend the NIH OBSSR Methodology Seminar: Text Mining for Behavioral and Social Sciences Research on Friday, August 9, 2019, from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm in Conference Room A1/A2 at the Neuroscience Center (NSC) Building, 6001 Executive Blvd, Rockville, MD 20852. Free registration for this event is requested.The seminar will not be live webcast. In-person attendance is encouraged. A public access video archive will be provided following the event. View the meeting agenda.
Register Now


The NSF 2026 Idea Machine

The NSF 2026 Idea Machine is a competition to help set the U.S. agenda for fundamental research in science and engineering. Participants can earn prizes and receive public recognition by suggesting the pressing research questions that need to be answered in the coming decade, the next set of “Big Ideas” for future investment by the National Science Foundation (NSF). It's an opportunity for researchers, the public and other interested stakeholders to contribute to NSF's mission to support basic research and enable new discoveries that drive the U.S. economy, enhance national security and advance knowledge to sustain the country's global leadership in science and engineering. Watch the video pitches and review entries through June 26, 2019 at
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Request for Information (RFI): Inviting Comments on Non-Human Animal Models of Substance Use Disorders

The development, validation, and use of animal models that address real-world complexities of SUDs is a priority focus of NIDA’s mission. Certainly, animal models are integral to substance use/SUD research; however, no single animal model completely recapitulates human SUDs, and unappreciated limitations of current models may impede progress toward understanding, treating, and preventing SUDs. The need to examine the translational value of current animal models is underscored by recent technological advances and the development of sophisticated tools allowing for in-depth interrogation of basic biological mechanisms in behaving animals. This RFI intends to create a discourse amongst the scientific community and NIDA on the strengths and weaknesses of current non-human animal models of SUDs and to provide insight on how these models may be optimized to best reflect the human condition. Responses to this RFI will be accepted through July 8, 2019.
Submit a Response


NIH Strategic Plan for Tribal Health Research

Recently, the NIH Tribal Health Research Office is pleased to announce the release of the first NIH Strategic Plan for Tribal Health Research. The FY 2019–2023. Strategic Plan marks a milestone for the NIH in that it establishes a roadmap for the agency to address health research needs for American Indian and Alaska Native communities. The plan identifies four overarching goals:

Goal #1 - Enhancing communication and collaboration
Goal #2 - Building research capacity for American Indian and Alaska Native Communities
Goal #3 - Expanding research
Goal #4 - Enhancing cultural competency and community engagement

This is an important step toward improving the health and health-related outcomes of Native communities and is a fundamental principle in NIH’s mission to enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce illness and disability, and to improve the health of the nation.
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Webinar Recording: The Eureka Research Platform - A Resource for Mobilizing Research

The OBSSR Director’s Webinar recording, featuring guest presenter Jeffrey Olgin, M.D., Gallo-Chatterjee Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Chief of the Division of Cardiology at the University of California, San Francisco, is now available. Dr. Olgin’s presentation provided an overview of the Eureka Research Platform, an NIH-funded resource for conducting research using mobile technology. He also described the resource (including its capabilities), provided a description of ongoing studies using the platform, and shared lessons learned and the mechanisms by which the resource can be used for NIH-funded studies.
Go There Now


NIH Behavioral and Social Sciences Research Festival

SAVE THE DATE: Friday, December 6, 2019 — NIH Campus, Natcher Conference Center (Bldg. 45). The Annual NIH Behavioral and Social Sciences Research Festival will be hosted by OBSSR and the NIH Behavioral and Social Sciences Research Coordinating Committee. The purpose of the festival is to highlight recently funded behavioral and social sciences research that the NIH supports; bring together behavioral and social scientists within the NIH extramural and intramural communities to network with each other and share scientific ideas; and explore ways to advance behavioral and social sciences research.

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Funding Announcements

BRAIN Initiative: Secondary Analysis and Archiving of BRAIN Initiative Data (R01 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)

This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) encourages secondary analysis of the large amounts of existing data related to the BRAIN Initiative. The data do not need to be held in one of the funded BRAIN Initiative data archives, but the data must be held in a data archive that is readily accessible to the research community. Support will be provided for innovative analysis of relevant existing datasets using conventional or novel analytic methods, data science techniques, and machine learning approaches. Support may also be requested to prepare and submit existing data into any of the BRAIN Initiative data archives. Investigators should not underestimate the time and effort that may be necessary to curate or harmonize data. Open Date (Earliest Submission Date): August 6, 2019.
View FOA

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Protocol Template for Behavioral and Social Sciences Research

Resource for communicating the science, methods, and operations of a clinical trial

This Protocol Template for Behavioral and Social Sciences Research is a suggested format for clinical trials that are testing a behavioral or social intervention or experimental manipulation. The template can also be a useful tool for those trials funded by NIH Institutes or Centers that do not require stand-alone clinical protocols. Using the template to anticipate decision points and potential challenges before a study launches can help avoid delays down the road. Use of the protocol template is encouraged but not required.
Go to the Template


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Social and Behavioral Research eLearning Course

Good Clinical Practice in Social and Behavioral Research

Complete the free NIH Good Clinical Practice (GCP) Training through the Society of Behavioral Medicine. In September 2016, the NIH issued a Policy on Good Clinical Practice Training for NIH awardees involved in NIH-funded clinical trials. The principles of GCP help assure the safety, integrity, and quality of clinical trials. Certificates will be given upon completion of the training. Take The Training

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