NIH

NIH To Hold Two-Part Webinar Series on New Data Management and Sharing Policy

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) will be hosting two interactive webinars on August 11 and September 22. The first event will cover the basics of NIH’s new Data Management and Sharing (DMS) Policy, including data sharing expectations and how to prepare a future DMS plan, which is expected to go into effect on January 25, 2023. The second event will go into more depth on those topics and expand upon privacy protection and data sharing limits. The events will feature the NIH Director of Scientific Data Sharing Policy Division Taunton Paine, the Director of Genomic Data Sharing Policy Implementation…

NIMH Releases 2022 Update to Strategic Plan for Research

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently made updates to its Strategic Plan for Research, the planning document released every five years to outline the agency’s research priorities and strategize future agency activities. In addition to the development of a new strategic plan every five years, NIMH treats it as a “living document” by making routine updates as needed. The strategic plan incorporates updates into four high-level goals to guide the Institute: Define the Brain Mechanisms Underlying Complex Behaviors Examine Mental Illness Trajectories Across the Lifespan Strive for Prevention and Cures Strengthen…

House Committee Marks Up ARPA-H Authorization Legislation, Advances to House Floor

On May 18, the House Energy and Commerce (E&C) Committee marked up several pieces of legislation including the Advanced Research Project Agency for Health (ARPA-H) Act (H.R. 5585), authorization legislation for the newly established health research agency. During the markup, the bill championed by the E&C Health Subcommittee Chair Anna Eshoo (D-CA) was amended to explicitly state that ARPA-H would be established as an “independent operating division within the Department of Health and Human Services” and directs the Biden Administration to transfer ARPA-H away from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), pushing back on the Administration’s recent move to house…

Congress Holds FY 2023 Budget Hearings for NIH

Over the past few weeks, the House and the Senate held their respective budget hearings for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for fiscal year (FY) 2023, hearings that typically feature the NIH director and several of the directors of NIH’s institutes and centers (ICs). On May 11, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS) held its hearing led by Full Committee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Subcommittee Ranking Member Tom Cole (R-OK). Witnesses included Acting Director of NIH Larry Tabak, Director of the National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development…

NIH Council Approves Report on Behavioral and Social Sciences Research Integration

During the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Council of Councils Meeting on May 19-20, a report on the  Working Group on Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (BSSR) Integration was presented and approved by the Council. The report, which was presented by Acting Director of the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) and Acting Associate Director for BSSR at NIH Dr. Christine Hunter, is the work of the working group chartered by the Council of Councils and charged with examining the proportion of NIH research with a significant social or behavioral component and the representation of BSSR in the…

Newly Created Advanced Research Agency Transferred to NIH

On April 20, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra announced that the newly created Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) would be formally transferred to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). ARPA-H, which has been a frequently touted priority for the Biden Administration, was newly established in March with the passage of the final appropriations bills for fiscal year (FY) 2022. Although initially established as an independent agency, the appropriations bill gave the HHS secretary authority to transfer ARPA-H elsewhere within the Department, including NIH (see COSSA’s analysis of the final FY 2022 Appropriations…

NIH Seeks Next Leader of Behavioral and Social Science

The National Institutes of Health has initiated a search for the next Director of the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) and NIH Associate Director for Behavioral and Social Sciences Research. OBSSR and its team serve as the “NIH focal point for establishing agency-wide policies and goals in behavioral and social sciences research, and coordinates the activities undertaken in the performance of this research.” The position was most recently held by William T. Riley until his retirement at the end of 2021 (see previous coverage). Dr. Christine Hunter, OBSSR Deputy Director, is currently leading the office on an…

NIH Issues Solicitations for Community-Level Solutions to Prevent Gun Violence

The National Institutes of Health (NIH), led by the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR), has issued a pair of funding opportunity announcements that will fund research related to preventing gun violence. These solicitations are enabled by Congressional funding for firearm violence prevention research first passed in fiscal year (FY) 2020 (see previous coverage). The first solicitation, Research on Community Level Interventions for Firearm and Related Violence, Injury and Mortality Prevention will “support a network of research projects to develop and test interventions at the community or community organization level that aim to prevent firearm and related violence,…

NIH to Hold Webinar on Social and Behavioral Health Impacts of COVID

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Social, Behavioral, and Economic (SBE) Health Impacts of COVID-19 initiative will hold a webinar on April 27-28, 2022 to present findings from research funded by this program. Topics covered will include mitigation efforts, biological correlates, morbidity and mortality, social networks, disadvantaged populations, time use and families, and interventions. Full details about the webinar are available on the registration page.

NIH Seeking Comments on Upcoming Diversity Strategic Plan

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has released a Request for Information (RFI) seeking stakeholder comments in regards to the proposed framework for the NIH-Wide Strategic Plan for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) currently in development. This strategic plan is being developed in response to an Executive Order on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility in the Federal Workforce released in June 2021 by the Biden Administration. The framework currently names three major objectives of the strategic plan: Implement organizational practices to center and prioritize DEIA in the workforce; Grow and sustain DEIA through structural and cultural change; and Advance…

House Subcommittee Weighs Arguments for an Independent ARPA-H

On February 8, the Subcommittee for Health within the House Committee on Energy and Commerce (E&C) held a hearing on the proposed Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) with a heavy focus of the discussion on the structure of the agency within the federal government. Among other issues, members of the Committee heard testimony on whether a DARPA-like research agency should be housed within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as proposed by the Biden Administration or established as an independent agency under the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Witnesses included Vice Chancellor for Science Policy and…

NIH Releases Collection of Resources Highlighting Accomplishments in Behavioral and Social Sciences Research

The Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently released an installment of fact sheets and infographics containing summaries of important advancements in public health with major contributions from the behavioral and social sciences. The collection of resources focuses on the ten following public health topics: Sleep Chronic Pain Diabetes Intimate Partner Violence Teen Pregnancy Tobacco Use Depression Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Phobias Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder OBSSR had released a previous resource in 2013 highlighting achievements of the behavioral and social sciences acknowledging OBSSR’s 20th anniversary. The full collection of resources is available on…

Larry Tabak Named Acting Director for NIH, Questions Remain Regarding Presidential Nomination

On December 9, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra announced that Larry Tabak, current principal deputy director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), would take leadership of NIH as acting director beginning on December 20. Current NIH director Francis Collins announced his intent to step down earlier this year after 15 years of service in the role as the agency’s director (see previous coverage for more details). Tabak has been a mainstay at NIH, serving as director of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) for a decade prior to his naming as principal deputy…

NIH to Hold Series of Listening Sessions on UNITE Initiative and Racial Equity

Throughout the end of 2021 and early 2022, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will be holding a series of listening sessions to gather stakeholder feedback on achieving racial equity as part of the agency’s UNITE Initiative. The UNITE Initiative, which was launched by NIH in March 2021, is intended to analyze and address the agency’s practices to better foster diversity, equity, and inclusion in the biomedical research enterprise (see previous COSSA coverage for more details). A full list of the upcoming sessions and registration information is available here.

Cures 2.0 Bill Introduced in the House, Includes RISE Act and ARPA-H Authorization

On November 16, Representatives Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Fred Upton (R-MI) introduced the Cures 2.0 Act, long anticipated legislation aiming to bolster the U.S. biomedical research enterprise. Most notably, the legislation would authorize $6.5 billion for an Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H), a long-touted Biden Administration priority. Unlike the previously introduced Advanced Research Project Agency-Health (ARPA-H) Act (H.R. 5585) which authorizes $3 billion for an independent ARPA-H within the Department of Health and Human Services, the Cures 2.0 Act would establish ARPA-H within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) (see previous coverage for more details). In addition to…

NIH Holds Annual Behavioral and Social Science Research Festival

On November 18-19, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) held the 2021 Behavioral and Social Science Research Festival, an annual event designed to highlight the contributions of recently funded behavioral and social science projects to health research via presentations by extramural and NIH scientists from across the spectrum of disciplines. The two-day event was held virtually. The event hosted presentations on a variety of behavioral and social science topics, with heavy emphasis on health equity among minority populations, mental and cognitive health, and behavioral responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s festival…

NIH to Host 2021 Behavioral and Social Sciences Research Festival

On November 18 and 19, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) will host the 2021 NIH Behavioral and Social Sciences Research Festival. The virtual festival brings together researchers from around NIH and will feature four plenary sessions. Among other presenters, Director of the National Institute on Nursing Research (NINR) Shannon N. Zenk will serve as a keynote presenter and outgoing OBSSR Director Bill Riley will deliver remarks on “the State of Behavioral and Social Science Research at the NIH.” Registration details and more information about the festival may be found on the…

ARPA-H Authorization Bill Introduced in the House

On October 15, Representative Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Chairwoman of the Health Subcommittee within the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, introduced the Advanced Research Project Agency-Health (ARPA-H) Act (H.R. 5585), a bill authorizing the agency that has been a key priority in the Biden Administration’s budget for fiscal year (FY) 2022 (see previous coverage). Notably, the bill would not establish ARPA-H within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as the White House and some appropriators in both chambers have proposed, but rather within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), setting up a potential conflict between appropriators and authorizers…

Bill Riley to Retire as Director of NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research

On September 30, William T. Riley, Associate Director for Behavioral and Social Science Research (BSSR) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Director of the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR), announced his retirement from NIH at the end of December 2021. OBSSR Deputy Director Christine Hunter will take over as Acting Director position until a permanent replacement is named. Riley, who has led BSSR efforts at NIH for the past seven years, has been a tremendous proponent of the social and behavioral sciences through his previous roles at NIH including in the National Cancer Institute (NCI),…

October Headlines to Feature Deep Dive on Opportunities in the Basic Behavioral and Social Sciences at NIH with Outgoing OBSSR Director

COSSA members can sign up for our monthly Headlines webchat to catch up on the most important social and behavioral science news from the past month. October’s webinar will feature a deep dive discussion with Dr. William T. Riley, Director of the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), who will share findings from the recent NIH Advisory Committee Working Group report, Trans-NIH Research Opportunities in the Basic Behavioral and Social Sciences. Individuals employed by or affiliated with a COSSA member organization can register for the webchat here.

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