FABBS Responds to NIH Requests for Comment

March 1, 2019

FABBS submitted comments to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) draft themes for their strategic plan. FABBS’ comments highlighted specific examples of how behavioral and cognitive sciences have contributed to NICHD accomplishments and identified where these sciences are currently missing in the draft themes. The plan is expected to strongly influence NICHD’s future research directions and funding decisions, including the level of support for behavioral and brain sciences. According to the most recent NICHDevelopments, now that comments have been submitted, NICHD staff will be analyzing the responses and convening small working groups to review and finalize the plan’s research themes. NICHD intends to communicate and implement the plan in June and July. FABBS appreciated the opportunity to comment and will continue to follow the process closely.

FABBS Council Representative for the International Society for Developmental Psychobiology Dragana Claflin, Wright State University; FABBS board member Sandra Graham, UCLA; FABBS Council Representative for the Society for Research in Child Development Laura Namy, Executive Director; and FABBS board president, Nora Newcombe, Temple University shaped FABBS’ comments.

FABBS responded to a request for comment from OBSSR about the definition of behavioral and social science research. FABBS encouraged OBSSR to be mindful not only of the accuracy of the definition, but also how it would be used as part of the NIH-wide Research, Condition, and Disease Categorization. RCDC is used to measure how much NIH invests in specific research topics, including the behavioral sciences. FABBS recognizes the challenge of accurately measuring the proportion of a given grant in different disciplines, however, the current NIH RCDC process disproportionately overstates the investment in behavioral and social sciences.