Saturday, November 22, 2014 
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Roundtable on the Application of Social and Behavioral Science Research

The social and behavioral sciences (SBS) have made major contributions to our daily lives—and they continue to play a critical role in addressing major policy issues. The National Research Council’s Roundtable on the Application of Social and Behavioral Science Research is premised on the idea that there is a need for better public understanding of the usefulness of SBS research and a commensurate need for researchers to improve their understanding of how, when, and what types of SBS research are used by industry, and the education, military, and public health communities. A dialogue between these groups, and with those who communicate the results of SBS research, can help assure that SBS continues to be relevant and useful in the 21st century.


To support these efforts, the Roundtable on the Application of Social and Behavioral Science Research will bring 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. Roundtable discussions will be grounded in what consumers of SBS have found or might find relevant to their work.


Founding Sponsors (as of May 2014): 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.

Membership and Activities

The National Research Council will appoint approximately 18 to 20 members to the Roundtable. Members will be selected to represent the three groups described above: producers of SBS (practitioner groups, foundations that support SBS research, and SBS researchers); consumers (groups that use findings from SBS such as policy makers and decision makers at the federal, state and local level in education, industry, the military and public health) and experts on public communication and the media. Each sponsor of the Roundtable will have 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 Natalie Nielsen (nnielsen@nas.edu; 202-334-2709)

More Information on Social and Behavioral Sciences in Action

The National Academies