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OBSSR Seeks Input on 2022-2026 Strategic Plan

The NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) is seeking broad public input on important new directions for health-related behavioral and social sciences research (BSSR). Specifically, OBSSR requests input on research directions that will support the achievement of the scientific priorities in the OBSSR Strategic Plan 2022-2026 (see the current strategic plan) and that will advance or transform the broader health impact of BSSR.  OBSSR is interested in focusing on research directions that are trans-disease and cross-cutting in nature and address critical gaps in the field.

The role of OBSSR is to coordinate and promote BSSR research across the NIH and assist NIH Institutes and Centers in developing research and training resources to advance the field.  OBSSR supports a broad range of BSSR disease, condition, population, and setting specific priorities across the NIH covering the spectrum from basic to implementation science research.

OBSSR would like input on the most important or cutting-edge, trans-disease research directions that would accelerate progress in these three strategic priority areas:

  • Synergy in Basic and Applied BSSR
  • BSSR Resources, Methods, and Measures
  • Adoption of Effective BSSR in Practice

To ensure consideration, responses must be submitted by March 29, 2020 through OBSSR’s crowdsourcing IdeaScale website.

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Posted in Issue 4 (February 18), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

NIH Requesting Comments on Strategic Plan

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) released a request for information (RFI) asking for stakeholder comments on the proposed framework for the NIH-Wide Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years (FYs) 2021-2025 slated for a December 2020 release. Rather than focus on specific research opportunities or institute initiatives, NIH releases a strategic plan every five years to highlight the achievements of the agency and set broader priorities.

The proposed framework for the new strategic plan highlights several cross-cutting themes for NIH including increasing diversity, reducing health disparities, optimizing data science, promoting collaborative science, and addressing public health challenges across the lifespan. These themes would support three major objectives for NIH:

  • Advancing Biomedical and Behavioral Sciences;
  • Developing, Maintaining, and Renewing Scientific Research Capacity; and
  • Exemplifying and Promoting the Highest Level of Scientific Integrity, Public Accountability, and Social Responsibility in the Conduct of Science.

Comments will be accepted through March 25, 2020. More information about the NIH-Wide Strategic Plans can be found on the NIH website.

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Posted in Issue 4 (February 18), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

National Institute of Mental Health Requests Information on Draft 2020 Strategic Plan

In December 2019, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) within the National Institutes of Health released a Request for Information (RFI) soliciting public feedback on its draft Strategic Plan for Research. NIMH publishes a strategic plan for research every five years with updates to the Institute’s stated research priorities. The deadline to submit feedback has been extended to January 15, 2020. The draft of the strategic plan and more information can be found on the NIH website.

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Posted in Issue 1 (January 7), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

NICHD Releases 2020 Strategic Plan

The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) released their 2020 strategic plan, a guiding document laying out the institute’s research priorities for the next five years. Earlier this year, COSSA submitted comments on behalf of the social and behavioral science community addressing a draft version of the strategic plan.

The NICHD strategic plan lays out five main research objectives:

  • Understanding the molecular, cellular, and structural basis of development;
  • Promoting gynecologic, andrologic, and reproductive health;
  • Setting the foundation for healthy pregnancies and lifelong wellness;
  • Improving child and adolescent health and the transition to adulthood;
  • Advancing safe and effective therapeutics and devices for pregnant and lactating women, children, and people with disabilities.

The full strategic plan and more information can be found on the NICHD website.

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Posted in Issue 19 (October 1), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

COSSA Submits Comments on Draft NICHD Strategic Plan

On January 2, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) released a request for information (RFI) to accompany the institute’s strategic plan for the next five years, allowing the community to comment on the scientific themes, goals, and opportunities under consideration in the new plan. On February 15, COSSA submitted an official response to the RFI on behalf of the social and behavioral science community. COSSA’s comments included the following recommendations:

  • The Strategic Plan should focus on the “whole person,” to include research on development at the molecular, cellular, social, environmental, behavioral, biobehavioral, and other levels.
  • The Strategic Plan should not overlook the importance of research at all stages of child development, from prenatal/infancy through adolescence, and in normative and non-normative or at-risk environments.
  • The Strategic Plan should strongly emphasize research on social determinants of health.

More information about the NICHD strategic plan can be found on the institute’s website; COSSA’s comments can be found here.

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Posted in Issue 4 (February 19), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

NIH Releases Data Science Strategic Plan

On June 4, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) released its first strategic plan for data science. The strategic plan will serve as a roadmap for modernizing the NIH-supported biomedical data science ecosystem and provide leadership within the broader biomedical research data community. NIH will begin implementing the plan over the next year and focus on usability of NIH-funded biomedical data sets and resources, integration of existing data management tools and development of new ones, and the growing costs of data management. NIH will seek community input during the implementation phase and plans to hire a Chief Data Strategist to help advance data science across the intramural and extramural research communities. Read more here.

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Posted in Issue 12 (June 12), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

NSF Issues 2018-2022 Strategic Plan

Alongside the release of the fiscal year (FY) 2019 budget request (see related article), the National Science Foundation issued its latest five-year strategic plan, Building the Future: Investing in Discovery and Innovation, NSF Strategic Plan for FY 2018-2022. The new report outlines the agency’s strategic goals and objectives, which include: (1) expand knowledge in science, engineering, and learning; (2) advance the capability of the Nation to meet current and future challenges; and (3) enhance NSF’s performance of its mission.

The plan also states that a “Performance Plan for FY 2019” has been developed and that it includes the following “Agency Priority Goal”: “Expand public and private partnerships to enhance the impact of NSF’s investments and contribute to American economic competitiveness and security.” Regarding this goal, the strategic plan states that “by September 30, 2019, NSF’s number of partnerships and/or award actions with other federal agencies, private industry, and foundations/philanthropies will grow by 5 percent…” The plan also lists three long-term performance goals: (1) ensure that key FY 2019 NSF-wide program investments are implemented and on track; (2) ensure program integrity and responsible stewardship of major research facilities and infrastructure; and (3) inform applicants whether their proposals have been declined or recommended for funding in a timely manner. Full details of NSF’s FY 2019 Performance Plan are not currently public since NSF has not yet released its complete FY 2019 budget request.

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Posted in Issue 4 (February 20), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

HHS Requests Comments on Draft Strategic Plan

The Department of Health and Human Services has invited comments on its draft strategic plan for fiscal years (FY) 2018-2022. The plan describes how the Department plans to advance its mission according to five strategic goals: “(1) Reform, Strengthen, and Modernize the Nation’s Health Care System; (2) Protect the Health of Americans Where They Live, Learn, Work, and Play; (3) Strengthen the Economic and Social Well-Being of Americans across the Lifespan; (4) Foster Sound, Sustained Advances in Sciences; and (5) Promote Effective and Efficient Management and Stewardship.” HHS is accepting comments through October 26, 2017. More information is available in the Federal Register notice.

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Posted in Issue 19 (October 3), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

OBSSR Director Comments on 2017-2021 Strategic Plan

National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research Director William (Bill) Riley recently released commentaries on the office’s 2017-2021 Strategic Plan three scientific priorities.

  • Priority One: Improve the synergy of basic and applied behavioral and social sciences research
  • Priority Two: Enhance and promote the research infrastructure, methods, and measures needed to support a more cumulative and integrated approach to behavioral and social sciences research
  • Priority Three: Facilitate the adoption of behavioral and social sciences research findings in health research and in practice.

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Posted in Issue 6 (March 21), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

Healthier Lives Through Behavioral and Social Sciences Research: NIH OBSSR Releases Strategic Plan for 2017-2021

obssr-sp-2017-2021_page_01On November 23, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) officially released its Strategic Plan 2017-2021. The plan focuses on the scientific priorities and fundamental research challenges that “OBSSR is uniquely positioned to address,” according to OBSSR Director William Riley. The overarching theme of the three “equally important scientific priorities identified in the plan … is to encourage a more cumulative and integrated behavioral and social science research enterprise that extends from basic science through the adoption of approaches to improve the nation’s health.”

Specifically, the three priorities are:

  1. Improve the synergy of basic and applied behavioral and social sciences research (view video).
  2. Enhance and promote the research infrastructure, methods, and measures needed to support a more cumulative and integrative approach to behavioral and social sciences research (view video).
  3. Facilitate the adoption of behavioral and social sciences research findings in health research and in practice (view video).

These priorities, according to the plan, “were determined based on their potential to have the greatest impact on the largest proportion of health-related behavioral and social sciences research.” To address the priorities, OBSSR intends to depend on four foundational processes, which are “central functions consistent with the OBSSR mission that can be marshalled to meet the objectives of the scientific priorities” outlined in the plan. The four processes are communication, program coordination and integration, training, and policy and evaluation (view video).

Upon releasing the plan, Riley acknowledged that OBSSR received “excellent support for the development of this plan from NIH leadership, including the NIH Director and Deputy Director, the Director of the Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives, and from NIH Institute and Center Directors.” Additionally, NIH Director Francis S. Collins and Riley authored an editorial published in Science Translational Medicine highlighting scientific and technological advances that are transforming the behavioral and social sciences. The OBSSR Strategic Plan 2017-2021 can be downloaded here.

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Posted in Issue 23 (December 13), Update, Volume 35 (2016)

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