NIH Working Group Presents Report on Opportunities in Basic Behavioral and Social Science Research

During the May 20-21 meeting of the Council of Councils at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a Working Group on Basic Behavioral and Social Science Research (bBSSR) presented a report analyzing past support for basic research on behavioral and social phenomena related to health and areas ripe for additional study. The working group report, co-chaired by the Director of NIH’s Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) Dr. Bill Riley, looks at the historical trends of basic research at NIH and identifies potential trans-NIH opportunities to fill gaps in the agency’s efforts. The presentation touched on several trends in NIH basic behavioral and social science research, including the proportions of basic to applied research and neuroscientific and non-neuroscientific research at NIH over time. Several research topics were identified as needing more basic research including behavioral, cognitive, and social neuroscience; sleep and sex; epigenetics; infectious diseases; social interactions and health; maintaining behavior change; health processes; and the science of science. Although some concerns were raised by Council members about the absence of research on abuse and neglect, the findings of the report were generally well received. The report is available in full on the NIH website.

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