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Science of Behavior Change (SOBC)

Science of Behavior logo. The image displays "SOBC" on the left and "Science of Behavior Change" on the right, divided by a vertical line.

SOBC Common Fund Program Background

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Science of Behavior Change (SOBC) Common Fund Program was established in 2009 to capitalize on emerging basic behavioral science research and existing evidence-based interventions to improve the initiation, personalization, and maintenance of behavior change to optimize health. With involvement from 17 NIH Institutes, Centers, and Offices, the SOBC Program has sought to accelerate the investigation of common mechanisms of behavior change that cut across a broad range of health behaviors. The primary goals for the SOBC Common Fund Program were threefold: (1) unify the science of behavior change through a focus on mechanisms of behavior change and by strengthening links between basic and applied behavioral science; (2) strengthen behavioral intervention development by implementing the experimental medicine approach to behavior change research and developing the tools required to implement such an approach; and (3) increase rigor, transparency, and dissemination of common terminology, methods, and measures to advance the field of behavior change research.

With the leadership of co-Chairs Richard Hodes (director, NIA) and Patricia Grady (former director, National Institute of Nursing Research), the SOBC Common Fund Program has hosted several scientific workshops and annual meetings of investigators and supported 48 awards and administrative supplements over its 10 years. Visit the NIH SOBC Common Fund Program website for historical information about past funding opportunities, funded research, NIH-hosted scientific meetings, publications citing SOBC awards, and the NIH working group membership.

NIH Common Fund programs are meant to be transformative and catalytic, but are, by design, time-limited, with the expectation that the tools and approaches they support will be adopted across NIH and by the field at large. Now, as Common Fund support for the SOBC Program has come to an end, multiple NIH Institutes, Centers, and Offices, including the NIA, remain committed to sustaining innovation in the behavior change field as described in this September 2020 NIA blog post. The SOBC Resource and Coordinating Center (RCC) award has been renewed with support from the NIA, NCCIH, NIDA, NIDCR, NCATS, OBSSR, and NICHD.

SOBC Resource and Coordinating Center

The SOBC RCC will lead, participate in, and support activities that will maximize the creativity, productivity, scientific rigor, and dissemination of SOBC products and approaches to meaningfully impact the development of behavioral health interventions and health behavior change. One of its signature resources is the SOBC Measures Repository, a publicly available repository of assays developed by SOBC projects and others that can be used to measure the activity of specific targets of relevance to health behaviors. Currently, these assays are organized within three selected target domains of self-regulation, stress reactivity and stress resilience, and interpersonal and social processes. Visit the SOBC RCC website for more information and subscribe to regular updates to stay apprised of SOBC RCC news, events, and additions to the Measures Repository.

Events

SOBC Ten Years of the Science of Behavior Change Common Fund Program: Celebrating Accomplishments and Looking to the Future

On February 22-23, 2021, NIH held a Capstone Research Conference to celebrate ten years of the NIH SOBC Common Fund Program​. The conference highlighted innovative examples of behavior change research consistent with SOBC principles from use-inspired basic research to mechanisms-focused intervention science. Renowned national and international experts shared their research findings and visions for the future of the science of behavior change. Watch a recording of the conference. The video is time stamped so you can skip to the panels or presentations of most interest (click Show More under the video description).

SOBC Resource and Coordinating Center Events

NIH SOBC Common Fund Events

SOBC-Relevant NIA BSR Workshops

Publications

Related Resources

NIA Funding Opportunities

These NIA Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs) or Notices of Special Interest (NOSIs) support an approach to behavior change research consistent with the SOBC program. A list of BSR's active funding opportunities in other research areas is available.

Time-Limited Funding Opportunities

Time-limited FOAs typically have a single due date and a special allocation of funds. Please see below for BSR's current time-limited funding opportunities relevant to the SOBC program.

    Current Funding Opportunities

    Please see below for BSR's current funding opportunities relevant to the SOBC program.

    Archived Funding Opportunities

    NIA/BSR SOBC Contacts

    • Janine M. Simmons, MD, PhD, Chief, Individual Behavioral Processes Branch, SOBC RCC Program Official
    • Jonathan W. King, PhD, Senior Scientific Advisor to the Division Director, SOBC Common Fund Working Group Co-Coordinator
    • Lisa Onken, PhD, Director, Behavior Change Intervention Program, Individual Behavioral Processes Branch, SOBC RCC Project Scientist
    • Luke Stoeckel, PhD, Director, Mechanistic and Translational Decision Science Program, Individual Behavioral Processes Branch, SOBC RCC Project Scientist
    • Chandra Keller, EdD, Social Science Analyst, Office of the Division Director, SOBC Project Manager

    NIH SOBC Collaborators

    • Will M. Aklin, PhD, National Institute on Drug Abuse, SOBC RCC Project Scientist
    • Elaine Collier, MD, National Center for Advancing Translational Research, SOBC RCC Project Scientist
    • Christine Hunter, PhD, Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research, SOBC RCC Project Scientist
    • Rosalind B. King, PhD, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, SOBC RCC Project Scientist
    • Melissa Riddle, PhD, National Institute on Dental and Craniofacial Research, SOBC RCC Project Scientist
    • Merav Sabri, PhD, National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, SOBC RCC Project Scientist