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NSF Funded Research Potential Emerges for I-O and Human Factors

Two program areas at the National Science Foundation (NSF) appear to have great potential for I-O and human factors researchers in areas like decision-making and risk, management science and organizational design, adaptation and resistance to technological change, and the dynamics of change in human behavior.

By Dianne Brown Maranto and Heather O'Beirne Kelly

Two program areas at the National Science Foundation (NSF) appear to have great potential for I-O and human factors researchers in areas like decision-making and risk, management science and organizational design, adaptation and resistance to technological change, and the dynamics of change in human behavior. APA members John Hollenbeck and Eduardo Salas met with NSF staff in the Social, Behavioral and Economic (SBE) Sciences Division in December to learn more about their programs and to highlight the value of industrial-organizational (I-O) and human factors research.

NSF's Decision, Risk & Management Sciences (DRMS) Program is not new, and may be quite familiar to cognitive psychologists, but may not be prominent with I-O and human factors researchers who often get funding through independent organizations or federal departments such as Homeland Security or the Office of Personnel Management. However, NSF's DRMS program supports exactly the kinds of research I-O and Human Factors psychologists are particularly skilled in, such as group decision-making, risk management, human performance, organizational behavior, and group/team processes. We encourage APA members to check out the DRMS website to identify specific funding opportunities and obtain submission information.

NSF's Human and Social Dynamics (HSD) priority area is a brand new, foundation-wide research initiative designed to encourage multi-disciplinary collaboration across all the NSF Directorates, including SBE. The HSD priority area aims to foster breakthroughs in knowledge about human action and development as well as organizational, cultural, and societal adaptation to change. This priority area is very broad and has potential funding for many fields of psychological research in addition to I-O and human factors, including cognitive, social, developmental, educational, community and quantitative psychology. Within its overarching framework are three topical emphasis areas: (1) agents of change, (2) dynamics of human behavior, and (3) decision making and risk; and three resource-related emphasis areas: (1) spatial and social science, (2) modeling human and social dynamics, and (3) instrumentation and data resource development. In its first year of major funding in 2004, NSF anticipates awarding at least $18,000,000 in HSD research, educational, infrastructure and exploratory grants. HSD will focus on funding multi-disciplinary proposals, so this is also an opportunity for psychological researchers to team up with other disciplines. Please take the time to review the full HSD announcement for much more detailed information about areas of emphasis and submission instructions.