NSF News

Impact of public health guidance is focus of new NSF partnership with Social Science Research Council

The U.S. National Science Foundation is partnering with the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) to support research that advances scientific knowledge about public health guidance and its impact on the health and well-being of individuals and communities.

SSRC will donate up to $7.5 million to NSF over the next two years to support fundamental research exploring the effects of public health guidance on society. NSF will invest an additional $12.5 million for a combined total of up to $20 million in research funding.

SSRC is an independent nonprofit organization that has supported social science research since 1923. The partnership will leverage the unique capabilities of NSF and SSRC through their diverse connections to the research community and public health organizations.

"Fundamental social and behavioral science has the power to help every American live a healthier and more prosperous life," says NSF Social and Economic Sciences Division Director Rayvon Fouché. "The societal benefits from robust exploratory research are amplified by dynamic partnerships like this one. We are grateful to SSRC for partnering with NSF in our shared mission to enhance the resilience and strength of communities across the entire country."

"Information networks are a critical component of our public health infrastructure. However, in today's complex information ecosystem, accurate information is not equally accessible for everyone," says SSRC President Anna Harvey. "This partnership will fund social and behavioral scientists to understand the causal impacts of methods that increase the sharing and uptake of critical health-related information, contributing to an information environment that benefits everyone."

The challenge of understanding the diverse effects that public health guidance can have on U.S. society and the economy has been underscored by the COVID-19 pandemic. The health and well-being of individuals, communities and entire regions of the U.S. can be fortified through fundamental scientific insights into how public health guidance is created and distributed and how people perceive it.

NSF and SSRC invite research proposals that can reveal the complex factors that contribute to effective public health guidance and provide rigorous evidence that will be useful for decision-makers seeking to improve and protect the health of their communities.

For details on how to prepare and submit a research proposal, see Dear Colleague Letter: NSF and SSRC Partnership to Advance Scientific Knowledge About the Impact of Public Health Guidance.