Blog Archives

OBSSR Seeks Examples of Behavioral and Social Science Accomplishments

The Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is seeking contributions from the stakeholder community of examples of noteworthy advances in health that would not have been possible without the behavioral and social sciences. The project will be hosted on a crowdsourcing platform that will allow anyone to contribute an idea or vote on the best submissions. OBSSR is seeking as broad a list as possible—achievements do not need to have been funded by NIH or represent recent advances. More details are available in a blog post from OBSSR Director Bill Riley. Ideas can be submitted through the IdeaScale platform through July 31.

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Posted in Issue 9 (April 30), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

National Academies Seeking Community Input on First Phase of Alzheimer’s Decadal Survey

The National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine released a call for white papers from the scientific and stakeholder communities on the first phase of a decadal survey focused on reducing the burden of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) and Alzheimer’s Disease Related Dementias (ADRD). Individuals and organizations, especially those in the fields of behavioral and social science research and aging at large, are encouraged to submit white papers providing direct input into the initial work of the decadal. White paper submissions are due June 15, 2019. More information and submission guidelines can be found on the National Academies’ website.

The decadal survey on AD and ADRD is being led by the National Academies’ Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education (DBASSE) and is focused on assessing how research in the behavioral and social sciences can reduce the burden of individuals affected by AD and ADRD over the next decade. More information about the decadal survey can be found on the DBASSE website.

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Posted in Issue 9 (April 30), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

IES Requests Comment on Proposed Priorities

The Institute of Education Sciences (IES), the statistics, research, and evaluation arm of the Department of Education, has released a request for comment on proposed priorities for IES. The Federal Register Notice explains that the request is part of the process required by the agency’s authorizing legislation to receive public comment on priorities the Director of IES recommends to the National Board for Education Sciences.

Proposed priorities fall into two categories: A Focus on Outcomes and Increasing Dissemination and Use. The Outcomes priority includes specific outcomes at the preschool, K-12, and postsecondary levels of education. The Dissemination and Use priority includes a renewed focus on enhancing the experience of What Works Clearinghouse users, increasing outreach to teachers, and investing in postsecondary programs that support education researchers.

Comments will close on May 28, 2019. More information can be found in the Federal Register.

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Posted in Issue 7 (April 2), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

NIH Requests Input on Updated Definition of “Behavioral and Social Sciences Research”

On January 14, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) issued a request for information (RFI): Request for Information (RFI): Input on Revised Definition of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research at NIH (NOT-OD-19-032). NIH’s Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) is in the process of updating the definition of “behavioral and social sciences research” (BSSSR) that it uses to assess and monitor NIH BSSR funding. The current definition was originally developed in 1996 but has been updated periodically since then. Like the current definition, the proposed definition is somewhat lengthy (the full definition is included in the RFI). It begins:

“The behavioral and social sciences at the NIH include a multi-disciplinary set of research disciplines that have in common the study of behavior and social processes relevant to health.

“BSSR at the NIH involves the systematic study of behavioral and social phenomena, as well as their causes and consequences:

    • ‘Behavioral’ refers to overt or observable actions and to mental phenomena such as knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, cognitions, and emotions that are inferred from behavior.
    • ‘Social’ refer to the interactions between and among individuals, and to the activities of social groups, institutions, and environments, including family, community, school, workplace, economic, cultural, and policy environments.”

NIH is interested in comments that discuss whether the new definition is clear, whether it captures the full range of the NIH’s health-related behavioral and social sciences research, and how well it distinguishes BSSR from other disciplines of research. Comments will be collected through OBSSR’s crowdsourcing IdeaScale website and must be submitted by February 22, 2019.

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Posted in Issue 2 (January 22), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

Census Reissues Request for Input on 2020 Data Products

The Census Bureau has reopened a request for comments published over the summer to encourage additional feedback on how data products from prior decennial censuses (including summary and detailed tables, national and state demographic profiles, and topical briefs) have been used. As part of the Bureau’s ongoing efforts to safeguard privacy, some data products released after previous decennial censuses may be eliminated. Stakeholder input is necessary to help the Bureau prioritize which data products are most important to maintain. More information, including specific questions of interest to the Bureau and a spreadsheet containing a complete list of data products and tables, is available in the original Federal Register notice published in July. Note: this request does not have any bearing on the inclusion of a citizenship question in the 2020 Census. Comments must be submitted by November 8, 2018.

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Posted in Issue 21 (October 30), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

NIH Seeks Input on BRAIN Initiative

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is seeking feedback through November 15 on a Request for Information (RFI) on the next phase of the Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative (NOT-NS-18-075). The agency is requesting input on the vision, priorities and goals outlined in the 2014 strategic plan, specifically in the following areas: ideas for new tools and technologies that have the potential to transform brain circuit research, questions about brain circuit function in humans or animal models that could be addressed with new technologies, considerations for data sharing infrastructure and policies, questions about ethical implications of BRAIN-supported neurotechnologies and advancements, approaches for disseminating new tools and technologies, and training the broader neuroscience research community. The American Psychological Association (APA), a COSSA member, provides additional details here.

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Posted in Issue 21 (October 30), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

OMB Seeks Comments on Standards for Maintaining, Collecting, and Presenting Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity

On September 30, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released a Federal Register Notice soliciting comments regarding “Review and Possible Limited Revision of OMB’s Statistical Policy Directive on Standards for Maintaining, Collecting, and Presenting Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity.” These standards were last revised in 1997. The Notice observes that since the revisions were implemented, “much has been learned about how these standards have improved the quality of Federal information collected and presented on race and ethnicity.” Accordingly, the Notice identifies areas that may “benefit from further refinement” (see the Notice for full details).

Specifically, OMB is seeking comments in three areas: “(1) The adequacy of the current standard in the areas identified for focused review; (2) specific suggestions for the identified areas that have been offered; and (3) principles that should govern any proposed revisions to the standards in the identified areas.” Comments are due by  “no later than [30 days from publication of this notice]” which would be on or around October 31.

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Posted in Issue 20 (October 18), Update, Volume 35 (2016)

Request for Information Solicits Input on International Trends in Cardiovascular Morbidity and Mortality

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently released a request for information (RFI) (NOT-HL-16-440) seeking input for an October 2018 conference that will address “international trends in cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.” The conference will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the landmark “Conference on the Declining Mortality from Coronary Heart Disease” (CHD). That conference brought together experts from epidemiology, clinical research, cardiology, and public health. Similarly, NHLBI would like to bring experts “in a broad range of fields to consider from a global perspective where we are in terms of understanding the direction, magnitude, differences, and drivers of trends in cardiovascular disease worldwide.” The RFI emphasizes that out of necessity, the proposed 2018 meeting will be transdisciplinary, stressing that the questions “about drivers of past changes and likely trajectories” cannot be realized by scientists from one disciplinary area. Responses to the RFI are due by December 31, 2016. For more information see the Notice.

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Posted in Issue 18 (September 20), Update, Volume 35 (2016)

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