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COSSA advocates for sustainable federal funding for and widespread use of social and behavioral science research and federal policies that positively impact the conduct of research.


Statement on the Retirement of Dr. William T. Riley

Washington, D.C. ‚ÄĒ The Consortium of Social Science Associations (COSSA) and its member associations congratulate Dr. William T. Riley, Associate Director for Behavioral and Social Sciences Research and Director of the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research within the National Institutes of Health (NIH), on his upcoming retirement and express our deeply felt gratitude for his 16 years of public service.

Over the course of his career, Dr. Riley has worked to amplify the contributions of behavioral and social science research (BSSR) to improving health for all. In particular, during his tenure as Director of NIH’s Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) starting in 2015, Dr. Riley ensured these sciences were integrated into research across the NIH’s Institutes and Centers, helping to shed light on the human dimensions of health.

Dr. Riley has also been a valued partner and conduit between NIH leadership and the external research community. Despite the many demands on his attention and his active collaboration with other federal agencies across the government, Dr. Riley was never too busy to engage in meaningful, impactful conversations with the extramural research community, whether patiently listening to concerns, raising new opportunities, or collectively strategizing ways to best promote our sciences. His receptiveness, generosity, and candor exemplify public service and the behavioral and social science research enterprise is stronger because of his leadership.

COSSA wishes Dr. Riley the very best in his retirement and thanks him for his many years of leadership in the social and behavioral sciences.

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New NIH ‚ÄúClinical Trials‚ÄĚ Definition to Impact Basic Social and Behavioral Science Research


The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has been working for the last few years to enhance its stewardship of and increase transparency over the clinical trials it funds. The agency, which is the largest funder of clinical trials in the U.S., issued a Notice of Revised NIH Definition of ‚ÄúClinical Trial‚ÄĚ (NOT-OD-15-015) in late 2014 laying out a new, expanded definition to govern which research projects are to be categorized as a ‚Äúclinical trial‚ÄĚ from here on out.

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HHS Announces Final Changes to Human Subjects Research Regulations


During the final days of the Obama Administration, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released the final text for its changes to the Common Rule, the regulations that govern research with human subjects, completing a revision process started in 2011. The Common Rule, which was last updated in 1991, affects research supported by 16 federal departments and agencies, including the Departments of Health and Human Services, Agriculture, Defense, Education, Commerce, Labor, and Veterans Affairs, as well as the National Science Foundation.

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