The mission of OppNet is to pursue opportunities for strengthening basic behavioral and social science research (b-BSSR) at the NIH while innovating beyond existing investments.
- OppNet advances basic behavioral and social science research through activities and initiatives that build a body of knowledge about the nature of behavior and social systems.
- OppNet prioritizes activities and initiatives that focus on basic mechanisms of behavior and social processes; that are relevant to the missions and public health challenges of multiple NIH Institutes, Centers and Offices (ICOs); and that build upon existing NIH investments without replicating them.
According to NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins, “Basic behavioral and social science research contributes to our understanding of the complex factors that affect individuals, our communities and our environments.” Results from b-BSSR inform new approaches to increase adoption of healthier practices, ensure adherence, and reduce risky behaviors. NIH initiated the Basic Behavioral and Social Science Opportunity Network (OppNet) in November 2009 to expand the NIH portfolio in basic scientific inquiry that explains the mechanisms and processes that influence individual and group health-related behaviors. By September 2015, OppNet provided $76,373,000 to 173 extramural research projects for new awards and out-year funding.
All NIH Institutes and Centers (ICs) collectively fund and manage OppNet. Twenty-four ICs and five program coordination offices within the NIH Office of the Director integrate existing NIH efforts, target research challenges best met collectively, and collaborate on new research initiatives in complementary scientific areas. OppNet also relies on its stakeholders, who have provided scientific perspectives through a Request for Information in January-February 2010, and a public conference in October 2010.
At the request of NIH ICO Directors, OppNet initiated a quarterly symposium series, Human and Model Animal Research in the Basic Behavioral and Social Sciences. The initiative also collaborates with its member institutes on the OppNet Forum, intermittent lectures in disease- and setting-specific research with implications across many b-BSSR areas. OppNet posts videocasts and other materials from each forum and symposium on its website as a resource for all our stakeholders.