Public Policy Briefs: Federal and Legislative Update for the Behavioral Sciences
The meeting at NSF was held to solicit ideas from the research community on the nature and scope of the proposed center, such as research areas, goals, and the optimum mix of basic and applied research. Structural issues were also discussed as well as training activities associated with the center.
Representatives from all the disciplines funded through NSF's Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences Directorate attended the meeting. NSF representatives stressed that the successful proposal will include a well-integrated plan for an interdisciplinary research agenda. It is expected that the RFP will be issued in January 1995, and the winning proposal will be announced in the summer.
The goal of this series is to produce a document that lays out in broad policy terms the direction of future federal research support. This document will be used to coordinate the vast research enterprise funded by the federal government and to manage efficiently the research funded by the various federal departments and agencies. This is part of a larger effort to construct a coherent federal research policy.
Psychology was well-represented at the meeting, which included break-out sessions to discuss human capital and data needs, health promotion and disease and injury prevention, and health systems and services research. APA, a cosponsor of the forum, was represented by William Howell, PhD.
One unusual aspect of the meeting was the frequent mention of the application of the behavioral and social sciences to solve the problems on PCAST's agenda, such as R&D investment, technology transfer, new roles for the federal labs, health research, and academic science. Psychologist Judith Rodin, PhD, President of the University of Pennsylvania, serves on PCAST. She is the only psychologist on the Council.
PCAST's immediate task is to critique the strategic plans of the nine committees under the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC). These plans include research priorities for federal R&D support. PCAST will most likely meet next at the end of February 1995.