By William Riley, Ph.D., OBSSR Director
The goal was ambitious: Develop a strategic plan in less than 10 months. But the need and the eagerness of staff and stakeholders alike made it clear it would be done.
Today, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) is in the final stages of a strategic planning process, and a draft plan is being prepared for public comment. OBSSR last developed a strategic plan in 2007, which served as point of departure for the new strategic planning process to update our priorities and focus our activities on the areas OBSSR is uniquely suited to lead, in NIH and beyond, in the rapidly changing field of behavioral and social sciences.
Since we launched this effort in August, we have sought input from various stakeholders within and outside of the NIH.
OBSSR priorities support goal to facilitate a more cumulative #behavioral & #SocialSciences enterprise
Ideas and critical input came from OBSSR staff retreats and meetings with directors and behavioral and social science staff within the 27 NIH institutes and centers. We received guidance throughout the process from an NIH strategic planning working group consisting of behavioral and social science leaders at the NIH.
It is hard to overstate the import of this internal NIH feedback in the development of our strategic plan, as it is at the core of OBSSR’s mandate to coordinate and support the behavioral and social missions of the NIH institutes and centers.
Equally useful and important, however, is the contributions we received from the broader behavioral and social sciences research community.
In October, we began soliciting external input by issuing a Request for Information (RFI): Soliciting Input for the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) FY 2016¬-2020 Strategic Plan. The RFI sought input on:
- Which BSSR scientific and policy areas, both basic and applied, may hold extraordinary opportunity for furthering the field; and
- Critical challenges that may impede scientific progress.
We received nearly 60 responses to this RFI.
In January, we convened an expert panel, chaired by Alan Leshner, former director of the NIH National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and CEO emeritus of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), to provide input on behavioral and social sciences opportunities, OBSSR’s role in training and dissemination, and how it can partner to increase its reach and effectiveness.
Based on the wealth of input we have received thus far from all sources and interested parties, we have coalesced around four cross-cutting themes and three scientific priorities.
Learn about cross-cutting themes & scientific priorities in OBSSR Strategic Plan #behavioral #SocialSciences
OBSSR Strategic Plan Cross-cutting Themes
- Program Coordination and Integration
- Policy and Evaluation
OBSSR Scientific Priorities
- Improving the Synergy Between Basic and Applied Research
- Enhancing the Methods, Measures, and Data Infrastructure
- Facilitating the Application and Adoption of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research
These three scientific priorities support an overarching goal to encourage and facilitate a more cumulative behavioral and social sciences enterprise.
To obtain input from the research community on how OBSSR can advance these scientific priorities and address our cross-cutting themes, we have scheduled two webinars. Make sure you register to receive information to attend.
We encourage our various stakeholders, including representatives of professional organizations, universities, the research community, and the general public to attend one of these two webinars to learn more details about the OBSSR Strategic Plan and help shape how we work to achieve these goals and objectives.