Notice Number: NOT-OD-16-018
Release Date: October 30, 2015
Response Date: November 20, 2015
Division of Program Coordination, Planning and Strategic Initiatives
Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR)
The purpose of this Request for Information (RFI) is to solicit broad public input on the core scientific and policy areas of basic and applied behavioral and social sciences research that hold extraordinary opportunities to achieve the stated mission of the OBSSR and NIH. This RFI is intended to inform OBSSR’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2016–2020 Strategic Plan.
The Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) proposes to revise and update its 2007 strategic plan (https://obssr.od.nih.gov/pdf/OBSSR_Prospectus.pdf). In the 1993 Public Health Service Act, the U.S. Congress established OBSSR in the NIH’s Office of the Director in recognition of the key role that behavioral and social factors often play in illness and health. The charge to the Office was outlined in the public law that authorized the office. Specifically, “with respect to research on the relationship between human behavior and the development, treatment, and prevention of medical conditions” the Act requires the Office’s Director to:
Coordinate research conducted or supported by the agencies of the NIH; and
Identify projects of behavioral and social sciences research that should be conducted or supported by the national research institutes, and develop such projects in cooperation with such institutes
One challenge is that behavioral and social sciences research (BSSR) covers a wide range of disciplines, scientific topics, and methods. The behavioral and social sciences includes neuroscience, psychology, sociology, anthropology, economics, communication sciences, and various public health sciences. BSSR is conducted by all of the NIH Institutes and Centers (IC), and all the Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives (DPCPSI) Program Offices play a role in coordinating aspects of BSSR across NIH. Moreover, there have been rapid changes in the behavioral and social sciences, and emerging scientific research questions and concerns have come to light. These emerging and rapidly changing research challenges necessitate that OBSSR examine how it can most effectively and uniquely address these challenges. To address this question, OBSSR will develop a new plan to guide the Office’s activities for the next five years. Given the rapidly changing nature of behavioral and social sciences research, this road map will need to be iterative and regularly updated. Specifically, OBSSR’s goal in launching a new strategic planning process is to determine the future directions and activities that will ensure that it continues to achieve this mission.
In addressing the charge to define a vision that will guide the development of a transformational behavioral and social science research agenda, the OBSSR is considering the critical challenges in the behavioral and social sciences that currently hinder scientific advancement and that, if resolved, would have broad, transformative impact on the behavioral and social sciences.
This RFI is intended to gather broad public input on the scientific priorities to be considered for the OBSSR strategic planning process. Specifically, OBSSR seeks input on the scientific and policy areas of basic and applied behavioral and social sciences research that hold extraordinary opportunities to achieve the stated mission of the OBSSR and NIH. In particular, comments are being sought regarding critical challenges that currently hinder scientific advancement in the behavioral and social sciences, the resolution of which would have broad and transformative impact on the behavioral and social sciences.
The OBSSR invites input from researchers in academia and industry, health care professionals, patient advocates and advocacy organizations, scientific or professional organizations, federal agencies, and other interested members of the public. Organizations are strongly encouraged to submit a single response that reflects the views of their organization and membership as a whole.
Responses to this RFI must be submitted electronically to OBSSRStrategicPlan@mail.nih.gov.
Responses will be accepted through November 20, 2015. Responses to this RFI are voluntary. Please do not include any proprietary, classified, confidential, or sensitive information in your response. The NIH will use the information submitted in response to this RFI at its discretion and will not provide comments to any responder's submission.
The collected information will be reviewed by NIH staff, may appear in reports, and may be shared publicly on an NIH website. The Government reserves the right to use any non-proprietary technical information in summaries of the state of the science, and any resultant solicitation(s). The NIH may use the information gathered by this RFI to inform the development of future funding opportunity announcements.
This RFI is for information and planning purposes only and should not be construed as a solicitation or as an obligation on the part of the Federal Government, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), or individual NIH Institutes and Centers. No basis for claims against the U.S. Government shall arise as a result of a response to this request for information or from the Government’s use of such information
Please direct all inquiries to:
G. Stephane Philogene, Ph.D.
National Institutes of Health (NIH)