NIH Celebrates 25 Years of OBSSR, Issues an RFI Regarding Animal Research

July 9, 2020

Though the COVID-19 pandemic has brought public attention primarily to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as a whole has continued to advance the fields of brain and behavioral sciences in June and July.

July 1 marked the 25th anniversary of the NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Science Research’s (OBSSR) founding. Dr. Norman B. Anderson, PhD of Florida State University served as its first Director. Many new discoveries and innovations have been made in the behavioral and social sciences since 1995, and much of the research from the early days of OBSSR is every bit as relevant today as it was back then. OBSSR’s work to increase funding and research in the behavioral and social sciences has enriched other fields within NIH’s framework including neuroscience, genomic science, and computer science. The Division of Program Coordinating, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives at NIH oversees OBSSR and works to not only identify potentially important research, but also fill any financial or departmental gaps that would prohibit further study. FABBS offers an emphatic congratulations to OBSSR for the advances they have made and inspiring projects to come.

On June 19, NIH issued a Request for Information (RFI) regarding biomedical research on animals. The RFI is focused on three areas of improvement: Rigor and Transparency, Optimizing the Relevance to Human Biology and Disease, and Research Culture. Information from this RFI will aid in the creation of a December report to the Advisory Committee to the Director’s Working Group on Enhancing Rigor, Transparency, and Translatability in Animal Research. NIH welcomes the submission of comments, which can be done through an electronic portal no later than July 31.