Event: Celebrate the 60th Anniversary of DBASSE’s Founding

The National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine’s Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education (DBASSE) is celebrating the 60th anniversary of its founding on October 13-14 with virtual discussions of the division’s past achievements and future missions.

The National Academies were founded in 1863 as the National Academies of Sciences as the result of an Act of Incorporation signed by President Abraham Lincoln. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson requested that the group form a National Research Council, which increased the use of scientific research in industry and national defense development.

Carlotta M. Arthur
Carlotta Arthur is the executive director of DBASSE

The National Research Council has now been replaced by program units, through which the three academies generate advice for policymaking. In 2015, the group was rechartered as the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine, and is governed jointly by these three divisions.

The National Academies are comprised of seven program units: DBASSE, the Division of Earth and Life Studies, the Division of Engineering and Physical Sciences, the Health and Medicine Division, the Policy and Global Affairs Division, the Transportation Research Board and the Gulf Research Program.

The academies operate as private, nonprofit institutions, with revenue primarily coming from grants and contracts made with federal agencies and private groups. They do not receive direct funding from the federal government.

DBASSE’s mission is to advance behavioral and social sciences, as well as their application to policymaking and practices via providing independent, evidence-based guidance to those involved in the decision-making process. Reports are disseminated to groups including federal agencies, members of Congress and foundations.

The division includes the Board on Behavioral, Cognitive, and Sensory Sciences, the Board on Children, Youth, and Families, the Board on Environmental Change and Society, the Board on Human-Systems Integration, the Board on Science Education, the Office on Testing and Assessment, the Committee on Law and Justice, the Committee on National Statistics and the Committee on Population.

Additionally, DBASSE’s current projects include the Committee on Advancing Science Communication Research and Practice, the Forum for Children’s Well-Being, the Roundtable on the Communication and Use of Social and Behavioral Sciences, the Roundtable on Undergraduate STEM Education and Societal Experts Action Network.

The group currently produces approximately 30 annual reports, with recent publications including The Limits of Recidivism: Measuring Success After Prison (2022), Ontologies in the Behavioral Sciences: Accelerating Research and the Spread of Knowledge (2022) and Structural Racism and Rigorous Models of Social Inequity: Proceedings of a Workshop (2022).

DBASSE’s anniversary will be celebrated at the virtual event, 60th Anniversary: Past, Present, and Future of DBASSE, on October 13-14. On October 13, Marcia McNutt, the president of the National Academy of Sciences, and Victor Dzau, the president of the National Academy of Medicine, will host reflections on DBASSE’s past contributions to the field and discuss the future outlook of DBASSE’s contributions to society. On October 14, Carlotta Arthur, the executive director of DBASSE, and John Anderson, the president of the National Academy of Engineering, will host a forum bringing together researchers and community organizers to discuss the frontiers of social and behavioral sciences and education.

All are welcome to attend and may register via this link.

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Molly Gahagen

Molly Gahagen is a third-year student at Johns Hopkins University studying political science and international studies. She is currently the social science communications intern at SAGE Publishing.

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