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Charles L. Brewer
One of the most unique aspects of psychology is that its applications cut across a number of disciplines including business, law, product design and health, just to name a few. As our society becomes more dynamic and global, the need for applied psychological science expertise will increase. This was recently demonstrated by the Office of Analytic Integrity and Standards (AIS), which sponsored a conference titled Improving Intelligence Analysis: What works? How can we tell? Lessons from outside the Intelligence Community. The Director of AIS stated, “Over the next two days, experts from business and academia will introduce analytic approaches that are beginning to transform work practices in medicine, education, management and social policy. These are not simply fresh ideas, but innovative methods that scientific testing suggests will produce better, more accurate results.” Nearly half of the conference presenters were psychologists and represented a diverse set of psychological science domains. Although the future of applied psychological science is very bright, there still remain a number of challenges that researchers in this area are facing such as lack of funding, licensure issues, and trying to conduct research within a bureaucratic system.
Given the magnitude and influence of applied psychological science, the APA Science Directorate has established a new office (Office of Applied Psychological Science-OAPS) to address the concerns and needs of this constituency base within APA. We are diligently working to develop initiatives that will support, promote and increase the visibility of applied psychology. Grant funding will be an issue that the OAPS will address with the help of the Science Public Policy Office. We also plan to encourage applied researchers to apply for the some of the internal funding available through the Science Directorate, such as the Scientific Conference Grants and the F. J. McGuigan Young Investigator Prize.
Another important goal of OAPS it to make sure that the applied psychological science community is aware of the many resources within the Science Directorate. From advanced training institutes to student research awards, the Science Directorate has a number of programs and initiatives that can be extremely beneficial for the applied research community. Over the next few months we will be asking APA members to provide input and guidance in helping us develop this new office within the Science Directorate.
In addition to the new office, there are other exciting initiatives and programs taking place within the Science Directorate. This past December the second annual Science Leadership Conference (SciLC) was held in Washington, DC. The theme of the meeting was Supporting and Advancing the Careers of Scientists. A number of important and interesting issues were discussed including the future of science within a global context, threats and obstacles to psychological science, IRB’s, and nurturing careers. The highlight of the conference was a poster session that allowed 22 early career behavioral scientists to showcase their research. The Science Public Policy Office has also been hard at work advocating on behalf of APA’s science community by co-sponsoring a briefing with The Friends of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) on drug abuse treatment and the blending of research and practice.