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Basic research, multiple implications: An analysis of the NIH OppNet portfolio

Friday, November 08, 2013 — Poster Session III

10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

FAES Academic Center (Upper-Level Terrace)




  • W.N. Elwood
  • R. Roberts
  • K.M. Kulinowski
  • S.H. Jonas


NIH founded OppNet to augment its portfolio in basic inquiry on individual and group processes that inform health-related human attitudes, decisions, and behaviors. 24 Institutes and Centers co-fund/co-manage OppNet, providing $44,853,314 to 141 extramural research projects between FYs 2010-mid FY2013. To demonstrate impact on NIH’s portfolio, analysis constructed three comparison groups: OppNet grants (IC=OP, n = 108), behavioral and social science research grants (BSSR, n = 7804), and basic-BSSR grants (bBSSR, n=4246). Group construction eliminated overlap. Results describe top 15 NIH RCDC research areas, percentage of New PIs/ESIs, and average age of OP contact PIs compared to BSSR and bBSSR grants. Qualitative results of grant abstracts and specific aims found three main OppNet grant themes: 1. Explain how individuals and settings mutually influence health behaviors, 2. Explain links between brains and behaviors, and, 3. Advance basic research methodologies. Conclusions are that OppNet generates unique (b-)BSSR projects related to NIH’s health-wellbeing mission, complements interests across NIH’s 24 Institutes and Centers, attracts a younger cohort of researchers than (b-)BSSR contact investigators, should explore means to increase proportion of newer investigators comparable to (b-)BSSR and promises results in specific human mechanisms and processes that can inform more targeted intervention research in the future.

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