NHGRI launches Social and Behavioral Research Branch

eed that the creation of the SBSC, which is slated to open in January 2005, will provide a unique resource for NIH intramural investigators.

"This new center will offer the best of all worlds to NIH intramural research programs," explained Dr. Collins. "It will enable sophisticated and rigorous cognitive and behavioral measurement techniques, innovative intervention development and testing, and state-of-the-art training in research methodologies. These kinds of infrastructure elements do not currently exist at any of the NIH institutes, including NHGRI."

The SBSC will achieve several important objectives for all of NIH's intramural research programs. First, it will enable NIH to rapidly respond to evolving research priorities because their proximity can facilitate collaborations among groups of social and behavioral researchers with multidisciplinary perspectives. Second, it will create economies of scale by providing access to a shared infrastructure, including sophisticated cognitive and behavioral assessment technologies, statistical expertise, visiting scholars and trainees, and common library and meeting space. Third, it gives an identity and high visibility to social and behavioral research within the NIH intramural research program. And finally, it allows for interdisciplinary and cross-institute training and career development for intramural scientists who want to gain or sharpen their expertise in social and behavioral research.

According to Dr. Green, this trans-NIH initiative is indicative of the growing need for multidisciplinary approaches to address complex problems. "This is yet another example where trans-institute initiatives can play an extremely important role in bringing together people from different institutes who are facing research questions," said Dr. Green. "By co-locating these individuals under one roof, it will allow them to share resources and approaches and ideas for developing innovative ways to

Contact: Geoff Spencer
NIH/National Human Genome Research Institute

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