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, NCCIHNIDANIDCRNCATSOBSSR, and NICHD.

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