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OppNet is a trans-NIH initiative that funds activities to build the collective body of knowledge about the nature of behavior and social systems, and that deepen our understanding of basic mechanisms of behavioral and social processes. All 24 NIH Institutes and Centers that fund research and five Program Offices within the NIH Office of the Director (ICOs) co-fund and co-manage OppNet. All OppNet initiatives invite investigators to propose innovative research that will advance a targeted domain of basic social and behavioral sciences and produce knowledge and/or tools of potential relevance to multiple domains of health- and lifecourse-related research.

Applicants should understand that the NIH Institute or Center (IC) that publishes an OppNet funding opportunity is not necessarily the NIH IC that ultimately will manage a funded OppNet project. Instead, OppNet assigns funding and project management of meritorious applications to the NIH IC whose scientific mission most closely corresponds to that of the research project targeted for funding.

OppNet uses the NIH definition of basic behavioral and social science research (b-BSSR) to determine application responsiveness.  Applications that focus primarily on applied BSSR or research topics aside from b-BSSR will be withdrawn administratively before reaching the peer review process. Consequently, OppNet strongly encourages interested researchers to consult the definitions, OppNet’s b-BSSR primer and OppNet’s answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs), before determining to apply. 

The Scientific Contacts listed on each OppNet FOA have expertise on the FOA’s subject matter as well as the OppNet initiative.  OppNet’s Coordinating Committee members from NIH’s 24 Institutes and Centers and five program coordination offices also are available as resources.  OppNet recommends visiting and the NIH Guide to Grants and Contracts for additional opportunities for research grants.

Basic behavioral research on multisensory processing (R21: RFA-EY-13-001)

This RFA encourages research grant applications investigating multisensory processing in perception or other behavioral and social outcomes. The FOA is intended to support basic behavioral research projects focused on two or more sensory modalities. This includes research examining ways in which cognitive or affective processes interact with multisensory input to influence basic behavioral targets. While evidence suggests that sensory input is processed interactively instead of additively, research is less developed regarding how different modalities are integrated for perception and behavioral or social outcomes. OppNet intends to fund an estimate of 6 awards, corresponding to a total of approximately $1.5 million in fiscal year 2013. Future year amounts will depend on annual appropriations.

Application due date
October 31, 2012

Individuals negotiate environments saturated with multisensory input, including visual, auditory, olfactory, gustatory, somatosensory (cutaneous and subcutaneous tactile sense, thermosensation, propriosensation, nociosensation), and vestibular information. Sensory systems gather this information, which the brain integrates and interprets as perceptions of the events and objects in the world. Evidence suggests that, rather than providing independent sensory information that is processed additively, different sensory modalities interact with and influence one another in determining perception. That is, judgments concerning one modality can be enhanced, attenuated, or completely changed when sensory input from another modality is present, even if one modality cannot itself fully convey the properties being perceived (e.g., touch can improve judgments of visual colors even though touch itself cannot convey color). Further, multisensory processing can influence subsequent unimodal sensory processing (e.g., exposure to simultaneous auditory and visual stimuli can recalibrate the way that each of these stimuli is processed in the future, even in isolation).

Despite growing interest in how individuals integrate these ubiquitous signals, relatively little is known about the mechanisms through which multisensory processes interact with one another to influence behavior, or the role of cognitive expectations in shaping multisensory influence on behavior. OppNet seeks to expand understanding of how multisensory input contributes to perceptual representations and behaviors appropriate to that representation. Moreover, OppNet seeks to further the exploration of how cognitive expectations, memories, and affective states contribute to or modify perceptual and behavioral outcomes that result from multisensory input. This FOA seeks to support basic behavioral multisensory science research that,

  1. Integrates multisensory influences on perception and/or other behavioral measures;
  2. Identifies key features shared among different sensory modalities; and,
  3. Examines individual differences in and moderators of multisensory sensitivity.

For feedback on specific topics, please consult the program staff listed in Agency Contacts.

Basic social and behavioral research on culture, health, and wellbeing (R24: RFA-LM-12-002)

This RFA encourages grant applications for infrastructure support to develop, strengthen, and evaluate transdisciplinary approaches and methods for basic behavioral and/or social research on the relationships among cultural practices/beliefs, health, and wellbeing. This includes an appreciation for more comprehensive understandings of the relationships regarding cultural attitudes, beliefs, practices, and processes, on outcomes relevant to human health and wellbeing.  Model animal research teams are welcome to apply.  OppNet intends to commit $1,425,000 in FY2013 for approximately 5-7 awards. Future year amounts will depend on annual appropriations.

Application due date
December 17, 2012

Culture usually is defined in terms of beliefs and practices that are shared within a population, which itself may share attributes such as ethnicity, race, language, gender, sexuality, specific physical impairments, or geographic space. These beliefs and practices reflect common values, socialization processes that are intrinsic to the population of interest, and their other shared attributes.  The specific processes by which culture encompasses health-related beliefs and practices may be obscured by surrogate variables (e.g., language, national origin, race/ethnicity). There is a need for research that improves the conceptualization and measurement of culture and does this in the context of health and social and behavioral processes that influence health. 

The R24 mechanism is designed to build research infrastructure and incorporates research projects as part of this effort.  Projects should bring together transdisciplinary teams of investigators who collectively can provide new insights into relationships between aspects of culture and health. The team should choose a small project that demonstrates the power of their approach to deliver new insights that lead to improved health outcomes or facilitates the effectiveness of health research. This project may provide formative or pilot data which can be used to inform future, larger transdisciplinary health research.

OppNet welcomes research teams that include expertise complementary to basic social and behavioral sciences, e.g., arts, ethics, humanities, law.  Given OppNet's express mission to advance the basic behavioral and social sciences, applications must have a majority emphasis in basic behavioral and social sciences.  For feedback on specific topics, please consult the program staff listed in Agency Contacts.

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This page last reviewed: September 26, 2012

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Fogarty International Center (FIC) National Cancer Institute (NCI) National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) National Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities (NCMHD) National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) National Eye Institute (NEI) National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) National Institute on Aging (NIA) National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) National Library of Medicine (NLM) Office of AIDS Research (OAR) Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research  (OBSSR) Office of Disease Prevention (ODP) Office of Research on Women's Health (ORWH)