FABBS 2021 Annual Meeting Highlights Opportunities Ahead

FABBS met virtually on December 6 for our 2021 annual meeting, bringing together our board members, representatives from our 28 scientific society members and three corporate affiliates to reflect on the past year and identify priorities going into 2022.

Despite the obvious challenges presented by the pandemic, 2021 was an exciting year for FABBS. The organization grew, adding two new staff members, including a third full-time position, and began regularly hosting interns to better meet our advocacy and science communication goals. FABBS also welcomed two new member societies, the International Congress of Infant Studies and Flux: the Society for Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience.

We worked to provide new resources for our members, creating a public scholarship toolkit and webinar series, and supporting an interdisciplinary Data Sharing Seminar Series for Societies. Some highlights from FABBS advocacy efforts include:

  • Launched the Friends of NIMH
  • Worked with NSF to expand eligibility for the S-STEM program to the behavioral and social sciences
  • Shared input with OSTP and NIH, at their invitation, to inform ARPA-H
  • Communicated with Congressional Science Committees to inform NSF authorization legislation
  • Secured Congressional support for funding increases for the Office of Behavioral and Social Science Research at NIH

Over the past few years, FABBS has had the good fortune to collaborate with incredible partners at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Science Foundation (NSF). These colleagues work tirelessly to advance the sciences of mind, brain, and behavior. We were excited to welcome two such individuals and hear them reflect on their tenures as they prepare to leave federal service. We offered our thanks and congratulations to:

  • Arthur “Skip” Lupia, Assistant Director for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences, NSF
  • William “Bill” T. Riley, Director of the Office of Basic Behavioral and Social Science Research, NIH

Dr. Lupia is completing his rotation at NSF and returning to the University of Michigan, and Dr. Riley is retiring after seven years at the helm of OBSSR. Thank you Skip and Bill for all your dedicated work advancing the behavioral and brain sciences!

As part of ongoing efforts to create more effective bridges between federal policymaking and behavioral and brain research, Dr. Vivian Tseng, Senior Vice President of Programs, William T. Grant Foundation and FABBS Secretary, chaired a discussion on Connecting Science to Policy, featuring guest speakers:

  • Timothy Persons, Chief Scientist, Government Accountability Office
  • Baruch Fischhoff, Howard Heinz University Professor, Carnegie Mellon University
  • Saima Hedrick, Executive Director, Society for Research in Child Development

We also had the tremendous opportunity to host Dr. Sethuraman Panchanathan, Director of the National Science Foundation. Director Panchanathan spoke to attendees about his vision for NSF and key priorities that he hopes to make progress on during his six-year term leading the agency. Attendees were able to pose questions to Director Panchanathan about the BRAIN Initiative at NSF, the importance of collecting accurate demographic information, and more. We are grateful to Dr. Panchanathan for joining our meeting, and hope that this served as an informative experience, both for him to hear our members’ priorities, and for our members to understand better his motivations and goals as Director of NSF.

Following each presentation, attendees joined breakout sessions to discuss challenges and brainstorm opportunities for FABBS to build on our advocacy and education efforts. The insights shared and ideas generated in these sessions have given FABBS a roadmap for the coming year, and we are excited to get to work.