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The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education
Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education
Roundtable on the Communication and Use of Social and Behavioral Sciences

About the Roundtable

The mission of this roundtable is to support the communication and use of reliable and relevant scientific research for decision-making.  While focused on topics that pertain to social and behavioral science (SBS), roundtable activities often will speak to the communication and use of research from all science.

The ability to meet most of society’s challenges requires an understanding of human behavior. From health to education to homeland security, advances in SBS have contributed to solving important problems for individuals, organizations, and society. However, connecting decision-makers in government and the private sector with reliable knowledge that can meet their needs and address the concerns of the broader public is complex and requires strategic approaches.

The RT will identify, develop, and disseminate models, resources and guidance to support the following:
1. Strengthening on-going relationships between SBS scientists and decision-makers.
2. Systematic identification, synthesis and building of reliable and relevant knowledge from SBS on issues that matter to decision-makers and the broader public.
3. Clear communication of what is known from SBS on questions that matter to policy makers and society.
4. Capacity and resources for the communication of SBS for various purposes.
5. Social and behavioral science research to improve communication about science to the public, government and private sectors.

To achieve these goals the roundtable brings together those that produce SBS research, those who communicate it, and those who use it. Roundtable members include professionals with expertise in social and behavioral science, communication, business, public health, education, national defense, and federal and state policy. The roundtable convenes broader groups of SBS producers, communicators and consumers to inform its activities and products. 

Founding Sponsors 

American Educational Research Association, American Psychological Association, Institute for Social Research, National Academies Presidents Committee, The Spencer Foundation, SAGE Publications, Westat. Sponsors are still needed to support the activities of the roundtable, especially beyond the initial year.

Previous Meetings

July 27-28, 2015: Round table members and invited guests will explore issues and approaches related to increasing the use of social and behavioral science (SBS) research to inform decision making. Discussion topics will include improving stakeholder relations. improving communications, and increasing trust in SBS research. 
Agenda and Presentations 

January 8, 2015:
The first meeting of the roundtable brought together three sets of stakeholders—those who create SBS research, those who use it, and those who know how to communicate about it—to discuss and develop strategies that maximize the usefulness, application, and communication of SBS research.  ► Agenda and Presentations


Arthur Lupia (Chair), Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan
Steven Aos, Washington State Institute for Public Policy
Brian Baird, 4Pir2 Communications
Erin Fitzgerald, Minerva Research Institute, Office of the Secretary of Defense
Camille Gamboa, SAGE
Ralph M. Garruto, Graduate Program in Biomedical Anthropology, Binghamton University
Howard Kurtzman, Science Directorate, American Psychological Association
Tom LaForge, Culture Agency
David Lam, Institute for Social Research, Department of Economics, University of Michigan
Felice J. Levine, American Educational Research Association
Olivia Morgan, OM Strategies
Sheri Roder, Horizon Media Inc.
Tobin Smith, Association of American Universities
Robin Stryker, School of Sociolo
gy, University of Arizona
Barbara L. Wolfe, Institute for Research on Poverty, University of Madison-Wisconsin

Membership and Activities

Members have been selected to represent practitioner groups, foundations that support SBS research, and SBS researchers; groups that use findings from SBS such as policy makers and decision makers at the federal, state and local level in education, industry; and experts on public communication and the media. Each sponsor of the Roundtable has one appointed member. 

Because Roundtable members will be leaders who have the ability to influence change in the policy and scientific communities, Roundtable meetings will identify ways to increase the use of SBS research findings and distill lessons for future priorities for the field. Through discussions with external experts and Roundtable members, Roundtable meetings might identify relevant messages and applications of SBS research for different decision makers, examine methods for communicating identified themes to decision-makers, and consider how to help SBS researchers enhance the usefulness of their work. The Roundtable will also provide a mechanism for its members to share information about their activities. In this way, the members will be better informed of each other’s priorities and better able to develop complementary activities.

The roundtable will meet two times in its first year (August 2014- July 2015). The first year will also include a public seminar on the challenges and opportunities related to integrating SBS into K-12 education. 

For more information contact Roundtable Director Melissa Welch-Ross

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