Psychologists Cheer Selection of Behavior Change Initiative for NIH's Roadmap

On February 29, the NIH leadership reviewed new proposals and selected which current initiatives to retain for "Roadmap 2.0," the third cohort of trans-institute Roadmap programs.

On February 29, the NIH leadership reviewed new proposals and selected which current initiatives to retain for "Roadmap 2.0," the third cohort of trans-institute Roadmap programs. The Roadmap, funded by the NIH Common Fund, has its own funding stream and is one of the few sources of "new money" at NIH, given the current flat budget. Two new initiatives were approved, one of which targets behavioral research.

"The Science of Behavior Change" was selected as a pilot. Its purpose is to establish the groundwork for a unified science of behavior change that capitalizes on both the emerging basic science and the progress already made in the design of behavioral interventions in specific disease areas. By focusing basic research on the initiation, personalization, and maintenance of behavior change, and by integrating work across disciplines, this Roadmap effort and subsequent trans-NIH activity could lead to an improved understanding of the underlying principles of behavior change. This should drive a transformative increase in the effectiveness and (cost) efficiency of many behavioral interventions. The results of this pilot will be used both to assess which larger scale Roadmap activities in the science of behavior change will be most productive and to ensure that an interdisciplinary scientific community is prepared to undertake the transformative research on behavior change that will be required.

Requests for Applications that are relevant to this initiative will be published on a variable timeline, but the earliest may be released this fall, with awards made in the summer of 2009. Updates to the Roadmap website will be provided as detailed implementation plans are developed.

The other new initiative approved by the NIH leadership is "The Development of New Protein Capture Technologies." Its goal is to promote the development of new high through-put technologies for the generation of libraries of diverse small molecules that specifically or selectively recognize, bind and "capture" human proteins or that distinguish among the natural variants of a single protein.