National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Science Foundation (NSF),
the Department of Defense (DOD), and the Department of Education (ED)
provide the major funding for social/behavioral research. Further support
comes from many other agencies including the Departments of Agriculture,
Commerce, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban
Development, Justice, and Labor, in addition to the Federal Aviation Administration,
the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the National Aeronautics
and Space Administration (NASA). The federal government is the primary
sponsor of both basic and applied research in the social and behavioral
sciences. Highlights of the FY 2006 budget include:
- The limits
on discretionary spending will hinder growth in research budgets at a
time when social/behavioral research results are needed for the nation’s
New leadership at NSF’s Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences Directorate
and NIH’s Office of Behavioral and Social Science Research offer the chance
to explore new opportunities at these agencies.
Human and Social Dynamics (HSD) remains an NSF-wide priority and its funding
significantly expanded in FY 2005. The continued expansion of HSD is limited
in FY 2006 because of the overall budget picture.
- Modest proposed increases to the NIH budget may make it
more difficult to implement recommendations of a new report that called
for additional support for behavioral and social science research that
is not connected to any particular disease or condition.
The Institute of Education Sciences continues its efforts to revamp the education research
system, emphasizing evaluations for evidence-based policy and the What
National Science Foundation (NSF)
Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE) Directorate (www.nsf.gov/sbe)
February 2005, NSF announced that David Lightfoot, a linguist by training and the Dean of the Graduate School at Georgetown University, would assume the SBE Assistant Director post in June.
He replaces Norman Bradburn, who left NSF in March 2004. In the interim,
Wanda Ward has served as acting head of the Directorate. During 2004,
NSF transferred the Office of International Science and Engineering out
of the SBE Directorate into the Office of the Director.
the FY 2005 appropriations bill, for the first time in many years Congress
did not designate funding for the directorates and instead gave NSF Director
Arden Bement the discretion to allocate the amounts (pending congressional
approval). The SBE directorate
received a significant increase from $184.3 million in FY 2004 to $196.9
million in FY 2005, an increase of 6.8 percent (see Table
II-7). In FY 2006, reflecting NSF’s small overall increase, SBE would
get $198.8 million.
of the increase would go to support the SBE-managed Human and Social Dynamics (HSD) NSF priority area. HSD focuses
on supporting projects that focus on how humans and societies understand
and cope with change. It requires multidisciplinary research teams and
interdisciplinary approaches across the sciences. In 2004, HSD received
over 800 proposals to support over 700 different projects. More than 40
percent of the scientists in the proposals came from non-SBE disciplines. Because of severe funding limitations, only 37 awards were
made. In FY 2005, funding for HSD would climb to $38.3 million, with $31
million coming from SBE. The proposed FY 2006 budget asks for $39.5 million
for the priority, with $31.4 million coming from SBE’s budget.
Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences (BCS) division’s funding moved from
$71.5 million in FY 2004 to $79 million in FY 2005 and the proposal for
FY 2006 is $79.8 million. BCS funds research in geography and regional
science, human cognition, linguistics, cognition, perception, and social
interaction, children’s development, and anthropology and archaeology.
There will be a competition for a new Children’s Research Center in FY 2006 as well as a joint undertaking with the National
Endowment for the Humanities and the Smithsonian Institution to document
endangered languages. BCS will also continue its emphasis on linking behavior
and its biological bases.
Social and Economic Sciences (SES) division’s funding grew from $86.4
million in FY 2004 to $92 million, and would go to $92.8 million in FY
2006. SES supports studies in economics, decision making, law and social
science, political science, sociology, measurement methods and methodology,
and the societal and ethical dimensions of science and technology. The
division supports the major longitudinal surveys: the General Social Survey,
Panel Study of Income Dynamics, and the American National Election Studies.
NSF is recompeting the latter two in 2005. SBE also supports interdisciplinary experimental laboratories in political
science, economics, and decision science. There are also five interdisciplinary
centers studying decision making under uncertainty.
Science Resources Statistics (SRS) division is part of the federal statistical
system. After significant boosts to redesign its samples after the 2000
Census, SRS’ funding decreased from FY 2004’s $26.3 million to $25.9 million
in FY 2005. The proposed SRS budget for FY 2006 is $26.2 million. (For
more on NSF SRS, see Chapter 21 on Statistics.)
for the Science of Learning Centers (SLC) would increase from $19.8 million
in FY 2005 to $23 million in FY 2006. The new funding should provide start-up
support for a second cohort of up to four SLCs.
the FY 2006 budget, the Research, Evaluation, and Communication (REC)
component of the EHR directorate would be cut by almost one-half (43.2 percent), resulting in no new REC awards in FY
2006. (For information on the overall NSF budget, see Chapter
Institutes of Health (NIH) (http://obssr.od.nih.gov/)
and social science research is well integrated in most NIH institutes
and centers, though not all, and it features prominently in several NIH
multi-institute research programs including Roadmap initiatives on interdisciplinary
training and clinical research, minority health disparities, and obesity,
Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) in the Office
of the Director coordinates research initiatives that are relevant to
multiple NIH institutes and centers. In December, NIH Director Elias Zerhouni
appointed David Abrams, a health psychologist, as the new Director of
OBSSR. Abrams replaces Raynard Kington, who now serves as NIH’s Deputy Director. Virginia Cain
served as acting director of the Office in the interim.
the halcyon days of the NIH doubling campaign (1998-2003), growth has slowed considerably,
demonstrated by the small percentage increase appropriated
in FY 2005 and the even smaller proposed increase for FY 2006. This has
spread to the behavioral and social science portfolio at NIH. According
to estimates from the NIH Office of Budget (see Table 1 below), growth
of behavioral and social science research (BSSR) from FY 2004 to FY 2005
is approximately $59.9 million. From FY 2005 to FY 2006, the estimated
increase would be only $6.9 million.
1. Behavioral Research and Social Science
Research (in millions)
Largest NIH Funders
FY 04 Actual. FY 05 Est. FY 06 Est.
464.8 434.5 473.7
444.9 446.8 456.8
392.1 400.7 402.7
306.2 312.0 312.0
266.1 273.3 274.6
197.0 201.0 202.0
(Heart, Lung, and Blood)
131.5 134.1 134.8
124.0 126.6 127.0
107.9 110.6 111.2
(Diabetes, Digestive, Kidney)
105.2 107.8 107.8
____ ____ ____
2,931.6 2,991.5 2,998.4
NIH Office of Budget.
FY 2006 budget would also remain practically flat for the second year
in a row, up only $0.9 million from FY 2005 to FY 2006. In addition, the
National Institute on Drug Abuse is estimated to take the lead over the
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) in funding behavioral/social
research, a reflection of NIMH’s increasing emphasis on mental illness
rather than mental health.
2004, the NIH Director’s Advisory Council appointed a panel to investigate
basic behavioral and social research at NIH. The panel, chaired by Linda Waite of the University of Chicago, issued a report that recommended additional support for research that
is not directly related to a disease or condition. The report indicated that $936.1 million of basic
BSSR was funded in 2003, which is 34.9 percent of the overall behavioral
and social science research funded in that year. The panel noted that
‘undifferentiated’ basic behavioral and social science research needs
a home, in the same way that the National Institute of General Medical
Sciences (NIGMS) is a home for much basic biomedical research at NIH.
FY 2006 budget includes proposed funding to continue preparation for the
National Children’s Study, longitudinal research that will follow 100,000
children from the mother’s pre-natal activities until the youngsters reach
21. The study will examine the actions and outcomes of environmental and
genetic factors that influence the children’s health and development.
National Institute of Aging would maintain its funding for the Health
and Retirement Study, allowing it to add a new cohort and continue to
provide information essential to the major policy debates around Social
Security, pensions, and the cognitive and financial well-being of the
elderly. (For information on the overall NIH budget, see Chapter
Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences
funded education research has become a crucial component of the nation’s
overall education research portfolio. The continued federal focus on improving
education results, combined with identification and implementation of
research-based programs, is fundamental to the No Child Left Behind (NCLB)
Act. This, and similar legislation mandating research-based education
programs, makes building the research infrastructure imperative if the
department is to fulfill its need for evidence-based policy and to wisely
use increasingly scarce education resources.
Institute of Education Sciences (IES) is the federal government’s principal
agency conducting research on education. Its four Centers, the National Center for Education Research (NCER), the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance (NCEE/RA),
and the recently transferred National Center for Special Education Research (NCSER) comprise the
central structure for the agency. The goal is to provide a comprehensive
research and dissemination network driving education reform. The FY 2006
budget proposes $479.1 million for IES.
would be level-funded at $164.2 million. NCER currently supports six National Research Centers (NRCs) that focus on evaluation, standards and testing;
education policy; adult learning and literacy; improving low-achieving
schools; rural education; and education reform. There is one additional
NRC not funded through IES which studies gifted and talented education.
will hold competitions in 2005 to augment or replace the six existing
NRCs with topics addressing assessment, standards and accountability;
state and local policy; early childhood development and education; English
language learners; and post secondary education. These new NRCs would
be project oriented as opposed to the existing NRCs, which conduct long
term, comprehensive, and interdisciplinary research. The new centers would
receive approximately half the current NRCs’ funding.
the primary data source for education programs nation-wide, would receive
the same $90.9 million in FY 2006 as it has in FY 2005. NCES supports
large longitudinal data bases on vital education issues as well as information
archives on specific programs and populations. It provides the data that
allow for comparative international measures of U.S. students’ achievement rates. (For more on NCES, see
the NCEE/RA the proposed budget calls for the elimination of the Regional
Educational Laboratories, which receive $66.1 million in FY 2005. If the
Administration is successful (it has not been in previous attempts to
abolish this program) this would eliminate a critical link in the research-to-practice
continuum which provides the bridge between research and the classroom,
carries out research, initiates technology networks and publications,
and provides schools consultation to identify and implement effective
practices. Regional governing boards, representing the communities they
serve, guide the Laboratories ensuring their activities are targeted to
the educational needs of each region.
under NCEE/RA are information systems: the What Works Clearinghouse, focusing
on research supporting the NCLB legislation; the National Library of Education
(NLE); and the Education Resources Information Center Clearinghouses (ERIC).
The Department is restructuring the NLE and ERIC in order to provide better
information for policy makers, educators, parents and students.
National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) would receive an increase
of $22.5 million to $116.6 million to expand their activities supporting
the Administration’s High School initiative. This would include State-level
assessments at the 12th grade level in reading and mathematics
by 2007. NAEP is the only longitudinal national assessment of student progress
providing information on educational trends.
recently completed Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
reauthorization transferred Special Education research to the newly created
NCSER. Its budget would face a reduction of $10.5 million in FY 2006,
from $83.1 million to $72.6 million, by eliminating special projects inserted
into its appropriation by members of Congress. NCSER is expected to announce new
research competitions in June 2005, focusing on assessment; early intervention;
behavior problems; language development; individualized education programs;
and post-secondary and secondary transitions. The new Special Education
Studies and Evaluations program would receive $10 million to assess the
implementation of IDEA.
IES research portfolio also include: individual research grants on cutting
edge issues such as reading comprehension; mathematics and science education;
teacher quality; and cognition and learning in the classroom; the Small
Business Innovation Research Program encourages technological innovation
and private sector commercialization;. pre- and post-doctoral awards to
support promising future researchers; and a proposed new field-initiated
evaluation program. (For more on the Department of Education, see Chapter
Department of Defense (DOD)
the current national security climate, DOD needs to know more about demands
on military personnel, including more rapid adaptation to changing conditions,
more skill diversity in units, increased information-processing from multiple
sources, and increased interaction with semi-autonomous systems. Within
DOD’s overall Research and Development (R&D) account, DOD’s basic
and applied science portfolio supports behavioral, cognitive, and social
science research. The majority of these studies are funded through intramural
and extramural programs in the Army Research Institute (ARI) and Army
Research Laboratory (ARL); the Office of Naval Research (ONR); the Air
Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR), and the Air Force Research
military service laboratories conduct and sponsor basic (“6.1”), applied/exploratory
development (“6.2”), and advanced development (“6.3”) research in the
human systems area. All of the services fund research in the broad categories
of personnel, training and leadership development; warfighter sustainment
and physical performance; and system interfaces and cognitive processing.
In addition, there are additional, smaller human systems research programs
funded through the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Defense Advanced
Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Marine Corps, and the Special Operations
The details regarding support
for human-centered DOD basic research were not available at press time.
It appears, however, that levels of funding for social/behavioral studies
would be reduced across all three services in the President’s FY 2006
budget. In the applied and development arena, specific human factors and
manpower, personnel, and training programs face reductions in the Army,
and the Navy’s programs in human systems and warfighter sustainment would
receive substantial cuts. Similarly, the FY 2006 request proposes reductions
in support for the Air Force’s human effectiveness and crew systems and
personnel protection accounts. (For more on DOD, see Chapter