After the Comments: What’s New With OppNet?

OppNet will use recently collected RFI data to plan for new funding opportunities, scientific initiatives, a summer/fall 2010 meeting aimed at identifying research areas with the greatest potential for making a significant impact in basic research and human health.

Glad you asked!  Recall that OppNet is the trans-NIH initiative coordinated by the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) to fund basic behavioral and social sciences research (b-BSSR).  Twenty-four NIH institutes and centers are contributing funds, and the Office of the Director at NIH has contributed funds as well.

NIH issued a Request for Information asking for input about initiatives and ideas for OppNet support.  Respondents were asked about:

  • The Challenge (most critical, health related challenges that will benefit from b-BSSR); 

  • The Opportunity (most promising b-BSSR targets that will inform solutions to those problems, which could include scientific research, research training or core/shared resources (e.g., databases, assessment tools) in the basic behavioral and social sciences); 

  • Outcome Indicators-- (measures to indicate whether the proposed activities were successful in meeting the Challenge).

NIH analyzed the comments after the participation window closed on February 19, 2010. Its preliminary data show that responses were submitted from 318 individuals, including 286 submissions from extramural individuals and organizations (including APA), and 32 submissions from NIH staff.  Scientific themes that emerged from the response data include: decision making; cognitive and emotional processes; social, personality and cultural factors; health behaviors and disparities; the intersection between behavior and gene/environment interactions; lifespan/developmental perspectives; psychosocial stress; sleep and circadian rhythms; and neurobiology/neuropsychology. 

OppNet will use the RFI data to plan for new funding opportunities and other scientific initiatives to be launched in fiscal year (FY) 2011. These data will also inform the scientific focus of a summer/fall 2010 meeting with members of the extramural research community for additional input on b-BSSR research areas with the greatest potential for making a significant impact in basic research and human health. Information about this meeting will be posted as soon as it is available on the OppNet website.