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.
Today (February 18), we release a RFI and IdeaScale campaign seeking your input to identify important new directions for health-related behavioral and social sciences research (BSSR). Our current plan describes three scientific priorities:
- Improve the synergy of basic and applied behavioral and social sciences research
- Enhance and promote the research infrastructure, methods, and measures needed to support a more cumulative and integrated approach to behavioral and social sciences research
- Facilitate the adoption of behavioral and social sciences research findings in health research and in practice
Within these broad scientific priorities, we are seeking input on new objectives, directions, and strategies to consider for the next strategic plan. While we do not anticipate a major departure from these scientific priorities, if there are important new directions for the behavioral and social sciences that cannot be addressed within these three scientific priorities, we will consider those as well. Given OBSSR’s unique role within NIH, we are specifically interested in research directions that are trans-disease and cross-cutting in nature.
OBSSR already has made good progress toward our current strategic plan priorities in a number of areas. To facilitate basic science and translation to applied research, we have continued to support trans-NIH basic science efforts via OppNet, improved our coordination with other funding agencies such as the National Science Foundation, and produced specific initiatives to encourage novel intervention development grounded in basic science findings. To advance methods and measures, we have launched the Intensive Longitudinal Health Behaviors Network (ILHBN), funded R25 and T32 training initiatives, and have a number of ongoing projects to facilitate data sharing and harmonization. To facilitate adoption in practice, we have led implementation training efforts (e.g., TIDIRH), improved our ability to identify and monitor implementation science grants, and explored implementation collaborations with other agencies.
Although we have accomplished much, there is considerable work remaining to achieve the overarching theme of our current strategic plan “to encourage a more cumulative and integrated BSSR enterprise that extends from basic science through the adoption of approaches to improve the nation’s health.” We look forward to the input of the research community in generating new objectives, directions, and strategies that will influence the development of our next strategic plan.
Our IdeaScale crowdsourcing campaign, at obssr.ideascale.com, will be open for comments until March 29, 2020 (midnight ET). I encourage you to take a few minutes to contribute your best ideas of how OBSSR can meet its mission to enhance the impact of health-related behavioral and social sciences research, coordinate behavioral and social sciences research conducted or supported by the NIH and integrate these sciences within the larger NIH research enterprise, and communicate health-related behavioral and social sciences research findings to various stakeholders within and outside the federal government.