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Academies Report Calls for Better Integration of Social Science into the USGCRP

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has released a new report, Enhancing Participation in the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP). The report offers recommendations on broadening participation of federal agencies in the USGCRP by identifying new partnership and enhancing existing ones. As part of its recommendations on better meeting the USGCRP’s goal of advancing science related to global change, the report reiterates a call from the 2012 Academies review of the USGCRP’s strategic plan that the program “’better integrate the social and ecological sciences’ and…move toward ‘an integrated observational system that connects observations of the physical environment with a wide variety of social and ecological observations.’” The new report notes that “achieving this expansion presents a grand challenge, especially considering budget constraints and the fragmented structure of federal research,” but suggests a way forward: “For challenges like better integration of social and ecological sciences, one set of promising opportunities for advancing science under the constraints mentioned lies in more fully engaging agencies that already collect data relevant to the USGCRP mission.”

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Posted in Issue 19 (October 20), Update, Volume 34 (2015)

How People Learn II: The Science and Practice of Learning

On June 10, the National Research Council (NRC) Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education (DBASSE) Board on Behavioral, Cognitive, and Sensory Sciences (BCSS) held its inaugural meeting to update and extend the 2000 NRC report, How People Learn.

The ad hoc committee is chaired by Cora Marrett, former Deputy Director of the National Science Foundation. Marrett observed that many things have changed since the original report was released and acknowledged the “phenomenal group of volunteers” tasked with updating the report. (more…)

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Posted in Issue 11 (June 16), Update, Volume 34 (2015)

NRC Board on Children, Youth, and Families Seeks Director

The Board on Children, Youth, and Families (BCYF) at the National Research Council is inviting applications for a new Board Director. The Director is responsible for overseeing activities of the Board, which “brings a multidisciplinary and evidence-based perspective to bear on the development of policies and programs for children, youth, and families, drawing upon the collective knowledge and analytic tools of the behavioral, health and social sciences.” More information and application instructions are available here.

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Posted in Issue 10 (June 2), Update, Volume 34 (2015)

NRC Report Offers Guidance on Team Science

Given the increasing number of scientists engaged in collaborative research, referred to as “team science,” the National Research Council (NRC) appointed the Committee on the Science of Team Science, chaired by Nancy J. Cooke, Arizona State University, to conduct and release a consensus study to provide guidance for these science teams or groups. The study was funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and Elsevier, and the final report, entitled Enhancing the Effectiveness of Team Science, was released on April 24. (more…)

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Posted in Issue 9 (May 19), Update, Volume 34 (2015)

NRC Workshop Discusses Changing Social Norms

The National Research Council’s Committee on the Science of Changing Behavioral Health Norms held its first workshop on March 18, “Lessons Learned from Diverse Efforts to Change Social Norms.” The project, which is housed within the Board on Behavioral, Cognitive, and Sensory Sciences, is co-sponsored by the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The committee is charged with helping SAMHSA “implement strategies that improve attitudes and beliefs about mental and substance use disorders.”

Sessions focused on messaging strategies, methods for communications efforts, big-picture looks at social change, and case studies, with speakers discussing lessons learned from past efforts to educate and reduce negative attitudes toward mental illness, HIV/AIDS, and epilepsy; prevent bullying of gay and lesbian teens; and decrease tobacco use in youth. Common themes of the presentations included the importance of building evaluation into campaigns from the start, tailoring the message and strategy to the habits of the target population, and having the flexibility to adapt efforts to changing environments.

The webcast and slides will be made available on the committee’s website. A follow-up workshop, on “Opportunities and Strategies to Promote Behavior Change in Behavioral Health,” is planned for April 15.

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Posted in Issue 5 (March 24), Update, Volume 34 (2015)

NRC Committee on Law and Justice Seeks New Director

The National Academies’ National Research Council (NRC) is conducting a search for a new board director for its Committee on Law and Justice. Established in 1975, the Committee’s mission is to “improve research methods and information to inform and support the development of national and state-level criminal justice policy, and to extend and help advance criminological and criminal justice research.” The director will work with the Committee Chair, senior staff, and Committee members to “provide intellectual leadership by identifying current and emerging issues in criminal justice; develop workshops, conferences, and studies by separate panels of experts; and seek funds for these activities from Federal Government agencies and public and private foundations.” Qualified candidates will have substantial experience working at the intersection of research, policy, and practice. More information about the position is available here.

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Posted in Issue 2 (January 27), Update, Volume 34 (2015)

NRC Roundtable Discusses Need for Improved Public Understanding of Social Science Research

On January 8, the National Research Council (NRC) Roundtable on the Application of Social and Behavioral Science Research convened its first meeting. Chaired by Arthur “Skip” Lupia from the University of Michigan, the Roundtable brings together a diverse set of stakeholders in the social and behavioral science community to discuss ways to improve public understanding of social science research as well as the research community’s understanding of the uses of research by various sectors, such as industry, military, or public health. Membership includes “those who create SBS research, those who use it, and those who know how to communicate about it.” COSSA Executive Director Wendy Naus made a presentation to the Roundtable at the January meeting, setting the political context for social and behavioral science research, particularly in the Congress.

COSSA members including the American Educational Research Association, American Psychological Association, and the Institute for Social Research are sponsors of the Roundtable.

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Posted in Issue 1 (January 13), Update, Volume 34 (2015)

DBASSE Announces New Director of Human-Systems Integration Board

Last month, the National Research Council’s Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education (DBASSE) announced the appointment of Dr. Poornima Madhavan as the next director of the Board on Human Systems Integration (BOHSI). Madhavan comes to the National Academies from Old Dominion University, where she is associate professor of human factors in the department of psychology, as well as director of undergraduate research. BOHSI issues reports and provides expertise on a range of topics, which include “scientific and technology challenges of virtual reality, research needs for human factors, mental models of human-computer interaction, nuclear safety, the future of air traffic control, the effects of musculoskeletal disorders in the workplace, human factors in the design of tactical displays, organizational linkages,” among others.

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Posted in Issue 16 (September 8), Update, Volume 33 (2014)

NRC Releases Implementing Juvenile Justice Reform Report

This month, the Committee on Law and Justice within the National Research Council’s Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education (DBASSE) released a report, Implementing Juvenile Justice Reform: The Federal Role. The report is a follow-on to the 2013 report, Reforming Juvenile Justice: A Developmental Approach, and is “designed to provide specific guidance to [the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) in the Department of Justice] regarding the steps that it should take, both internally and externally, to facilitate juvenile justice reform grounded in knowledge about adolescent development and effective interventions.”

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Posted in Issue 16 (September 8), Update, Volume 33 (2014)

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