U.S. Army, National Cancer Institute, and National Science Foundation Describe Behavioral Science Research Needs and Opportunities

2010_annualmeeting.jpgFABBS held its Annual Council of Representatives Meeting on December 6, 2010, drawing in speakers from multiple federal agencies to discuss how behavioral sciences research can further their missions. Speakers from the U.S. Army Medical Research Program, National Cancer Institute, and National Science Foundation highlighted current research opportunities and anticipated needs in talks that spanned the day.

Dr. Katherine Nassauer, Program Manager in the Military Operational Medicine Research Program, provided an overview of the medical research focus of each military branch, the governance structure for armed services research, and the core research programs. Special attention was given to the Military Operational Medicine Research Program that includes posttraumatic stress disorder, suicide behavior, alcohol and drug use, co-occuring mental disorders, family transitions and well-being, traumatic brain injury, sustained fatiguing work and its physical/mental impact, and resilience.

Download a copy of Dr. Nassauer’s presentation and information on funding opportunities »

In an afternoon session, attendees heard from Dr. William Klein, Associate Director of the Behavioral Research Program, Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences of the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Klein described the breadth of the Division’s research portfolio which includes surveillance, epidemiology, health services, behavioral science, and cancer survivorship. He outlined several recent priorities such as stress and cancer research, numeracy and decision-making (e.g., how the public evaluates a 30% risk), dyadic processes, human factors, and discrimination and disparities (to name a few). NCI’s involvement in OppNet and other basic behavioral science activities was also described. Dr. Klein concluded his presentation by identifying twelve open funding announcements for behavioral scientists.

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In another session, Myron Gutmann, Assistant Director for the National Science Foundation for the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences Directorate, informed the FABBS Council of Representatives that the SBE 2020 call for white papers produced 244 responses from a wide range of sciences, institutions, and investigators. Some forty percent of the submissions were in traditional SBE areas, whereas the remainder involved other areas such as interdisciplinary research and education. Gutmann stated that the SBE Directorate is in the process of identifying themes, and both NSF staff and extramural scientists will be given the opportunity to identify gaps. In addition, the NSF SBE Advisory Committee is preparing its own report on grand challenges/opportunities for the SBE sciences in the next decade. Both will feed into future budget planning.