OBSSR

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.

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…

Nominations Open for 2021 Matilda White Riley Honors

The Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is accepting nominations for a social or behavioral scientist to deliver the keynote address at the Matilda White Riley Behavioral and Social Science Honors on May 5, 2021. The Matilda White Riley Honors are an annual event recognizing transformative work in the fields of social and behavioral science along with early-career researchers. This year is the second time the event will be hosted virtually. Nominees should have a research career that has “advanced behavioral and social scientific knowledge in areas within NIH’s mission and…

NIH Releases Report on COVID-19 Vaccine Communication

A panel of social and behavioral scientists coordinated by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has released a report titled “COVID-19 Vaccination Communication: Applying Behavioral and Social Science to Address Vaccine Hesitancy and Foster Vaccine Confidence.” The report, led by the NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI), outlines research-based strategies to communicate the importance of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine while addressing the challenges of vaccine hesitancy and misinformation. The strategies laid out in this report are largely based on the fundamentals of communication research while including specific considerations for individuals at…

NIH to Host Matilda White Riley Honors Virtually on June 8

On June 8, the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will host the annual Matilda White Riley Behavioral and Social Sciences Honors in a virtual capacity. The public event will feature a lecture from the 2020 Matilda White Riley Honors awardee, Toni Antonucci, Program Director and Research Professor in the Life Course Development Program at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan. It will also recognize the accomplishments of several early stage investigators and their research in the behavioral and social sciences. This year marks the 25th anniversary…

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…

NIH to Host 2019 Behavioral and Social Sciences Research Festival

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) is hosting the 2019 NIH Behavioral and Social Sciences Research Festival on December 6 on NIH’s main campus in Bethesda, MD. The festival brings together researchers from around NIH and will feature three plenary sessions. Chanita Hughes-Halbert from the Medical University of South Carolina will serve as a keynote presenter and Alia Crum from Stanford University will serve as a featured presenter. Registration details and more information about the festival may be found on the OBSSR website. Back to this issue’s table of contents.

OBSSR Seeks Nominations for Matilda White Riley Keynote Lecture

The Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is accepting nominations for an social or behavioral scientist to delivery the keynote address at the Matilda White Riley Behavioral and Social Science Honors on June 8, 2020. Nominees should have a research career that has “advanced behavioral and social scientific knowledge in areas within NIH’s mission and Dr. White Riley’s vision.” More information is available here. Nominations may be emailed to Erica Spotts by November 15, 2019. Back to this issue’s table of contents.

OBSSR Releases Revised Definition of “Behavioral and Social Sciences Research”

The Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has completed its revision of NIH’s definition of “behavioral and social sciences research” (BSSR) (see previous coverage) after crowdsourcing input from stakeholders. The new definition begins: “Behavioral and social sciences research at the National Institutes of Health involves the systematic study of behavioral1 and social2 phenomena relevant to health3. 1“Behavioral phenomena” refers to the observable actions of individuals or groups and to mental phenomena such as knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, motivations, perceptions, cognitions, and emotions. 2“Social phenomena” refers to the interactions between and among individuals, and to…

OBSSR Seeks Examples of Behavioral and Social Science Accomplishments

The Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is seeking contributions from the stakeholder community of examples of noteworthy advances in health that would not have been possible without the behavioral and social sciences. The project will be hosted on a crowdsourcing platform that will allow anyone to contribute an idea or vote on the best submissions. OBSSR is seeking as broad a list as possible—achievements do not need to have been funded by NIH or represent recent advances. More details are available in a blog post from OBSSR Director Bill Riley….

NIH Requests Input on Updated Definition of “Behavioral and Social Sciences Research”

On January 14, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) issued a request for information (RFI): Request for Information (RFI): Input on Revised Definition of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research at NIH (NOT-OD-19-032). NIH’s Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) is in the process of updating the definition of “behavioral and social sciences research” (BSSSR) that it uses to assess and monitor NIH BSSR funding. The current definition was originally developed in 1996 but has been updated periodically since then. Like the current definition, the proposed definition is somewhat lengthy (the full definition is included in the RFI). It…

December COSSA Headlines to Feature OBSSR Director

COSSA members are encouraged to sign up for the monthly Headlines webchat on December 13 a 2:00 PM Eastern, in which COSSA staff recap the most important social and behavioral science news from the past month and answer participants’ questions. The December chat will feature a deep dive discussion with Dr. William (Bill) Riley, Director of the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), who will give an update on new initiatives at OBSSR and discuss the next steps for NIH’s controversial clinical trials policy. Individuals employed by or affiliated with a…

OBSSR Soliciting Papers for 11th Annual Matilda White Riley Honors

The Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is seeking paper submissions for its Early Stage Investigator Paper Competition as part of the 11th Annual Matilda White Riley Behavioral and Social Science Honors. Early stage investigators are encouraged to submit one published article from 2017 that reflects social and behavioral science advancements helping to enhance life, lengthen life, reduce illness, and reduce disability. Honorees will present their findings on May 31, 2018 in a public event on the NIH campus. Submissions are due by February 18 and more information can be found…

OBSSR to Host Annual Research Festival on December 8

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) is hosting the “NIH Behavioral and Social Science Research Festival: Connecting People to Advance Health” on Friday, December 8. The festival will bring together behavioral and social scientists from inside and outside NIH to network, collaborate, and share ideas. The agenda will include a keynote address from Dr. Eliseo Perez-Stable of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities as well as plenary sessions on international research, behavioral neuroscience, and social factors and health. This event will not be webcast. More details and registration information…

Collins to Stay on at NIH; Two Other Leadership Positions Announced

On June 6, the President announced that National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Francis Collins will stay on as NIH director. As previously reported, Collins was asked to remain in the position in January by the new administration. Collins continues to enjoy support of the Republican leadership of committees with jurisdiction over the NIH. He was officially appointed to the post despite a May 22 letter from 41 conservative House members urging the President to appoint someone whose views are more aligned the Administration’s “pro-life direction,” citing embryonic stem cell research and human cloning as examples. In addition, NIH recently…

OBSSR Holds 10th Matilda White Riley Behavioral and Social Sciences Honors; Mark Hayward Delivers 2017 Lecture

On April 25, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) hosted its 10th annual celebration honoring Matilda White Riley’s influence in social and behavioral sciences conducted and supported by the NIH. In 2016, OBSSR renamed the celebration Real Life, Labs, Research: Matilda White Riley Behavioral and Social Sciences Honors. The ceremony honors a “who’s who of behavioral and social science research,” noted current OBSSR director Bill Riley (no relation). Mark Hayward, Professor of Sociology, Centennial Commission Professor in the Liberal Arts, and director of the Population Health Initiative at the University of Texas…

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. Back to this issue’s table of contents.

Friends of NIH Behavioral and Social Sciences Research Submit Statement in Support of OBSSR

On March 9, COSSA, as co-chair of the Friends of NIH Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (Friends of NIH BSSR) with the American Psychological Association (a COSSA founding member), submitted a statement for the record in support of the National Institutes of Health and its Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR). The statement emphasizes that the behavioral and social sciences are integral to the NIH mission and highlights the fact NIH supports behavioral and social science research throughout its 27 institutes and centers. The Friends of NIH BSSR is a coalition of professional organizations, scientific societies, and research…

Date Change: 10th Matilda White Riley Behavioral and Social Sciences Honors

The date for the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) 10th Matilda White Riley Behavioral and Social Sciences Honors has been changed to April 25 on the NIH campus. The Honors program pays tribute to the “research trajectory and continuing influence of Dr. Matilda White Riley in the behavioral and social sciences across and beyond” the NIH. For more information about the program see the NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research’s website. Back to this issue’s table of contents.

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