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Research Infrastructure for Demographic and Behavioral Population Science (RIPS)

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Overview

The Research Infrastructure for Demographic and Behavioral Population Science (R24) Program (DB-Pop) seeks to increase the pace and impact of research within the scientific mission of the NICHD Population Dynamics Branch (PDB) (formerly the Demographic and Behavioral Sciences Branch (DBSB)) by providing research infrastructure support to population science centers.

Background

Research infrastructure support has been essential in developing and advancing demography and other population science across disciplinary and institutional barriers. Demography is an intrinsically interdisciplinary field, drawing from the academic disciplines of sociology and economics, as well as geography, anthropology, and other social, behavioral, and biomedical sciences. These academic disciplines are housed in a variety of academic departments and, often, across several schools or divisions within a university.

Research infrastructure support has also been essential in developing, collecting, and disseminating the large data sets on which demography and other population science research depends. Population science addresses scientific questions that rely heavily on observational research and natural experiments. To ensure generalizability in these types of studies, population science requires population-representative data based on either probability samples or censuses. To address causal inference, population science requires detailed data on the factors affecting human health—often at multiple levels and drawing on multiple scientific disciplines—and often requires longitudinal data. In the population sciences, these large data sets are usually developed and collected and/or disseminated by one research team, then used by diverse research teams, many not associated with the original data collection. Examples of these data sets include the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health, the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, the Panel Study of Income Dynamics Child Development Supplement and Transition into Adulthood Study, the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth-79 Child and Young Adult Supplements, the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series, the Los Angeles Family and Neighborhood Study, the National Survey of Family Growth, the National Survey of Families and Households, and Welfare, Children, and Families: A Three-City Study.

Objectives

The first objective of DB-Pop is to increase the impact of population science research by:

  • Encouraging collaborations among population scientists and between population scientists and scientists in other disciplines, within and across institutions.
  • Developing new approaches and methods that advance population science research.
  • Fostering the development of junior population scientists and providing opportunities for junior, mid-level, and senior scientists both within and outside of population science to engage in interdisciplinary population science.
  • Promoting the application of the methods and perspectives of population science to new topics in the area of the health and well-being of populations.
  • Supporting the dissemination of population science data sets, methods, and significant research findings.

DB-Pop seeks to decrease the costs of population science research and increase the efficiency of population scientists by supporting cost-effective research infrastructure.

Approach

DB-Pop supports research centers’ signature scientific themesbyfunding research infrastructure support cores. Three types of centers are supported: general, specialized, and translation/dissemination.

Signature Research Themes

The program requires that applicants identify between one and six signature research themes. Signature research themes are the unifying research areas that exemplify the applicant center’s most significant contributions to population science. See Topic Areas below for additional information.

Research Infrastructure Cores

The program supports research infrastructure cores that enhance the applicant center’s capacity to engage in population science research. Three types of cores are supported:

  • Administrative cores: Provide administrative and technical support to research projects and researchers, such as support for developing grant applications and managing grants; computing cores, providing equipment and/or services; and methodology support cores.
  • Developmental cores: Support activities that increase the scientific scope and productivity of the center’s research and researchers, such as seed grant programs.
  • Public infrastructure cores: Primarily benefit communities outside the center, providing resources and services that will either increase the pace and impact of population science research to scientists outside the applicant institution, or facilitate the translation and dissemination of population science research findings. Cores may target either scientists or non-scientists such as policy makers, program directors, and practitioners.

Types of Centers

  • General Centers havethree to six signature population science research themes.
  • Specialized Centers have one or two signature research themes.
  • Translation/Dissemination Centers receive funding only for public infrastructure.

Topic Areas

DB-Pop center signature research themes are required to fall within the three components of the PDB mission:

  • Research in demography, the scientific study of human populations, including their size, composition, distribution, density, and growth and decline, as well as the causes and consequences of demographic change. Major areas of focus include fertility, mortality and morbidity, migration, population distribution, nuptiality, and family demography.
  • Behavioral and social science research on reproductive health, including sexually transmitted diseases, and HIV/AIDS.
  • Research and data collection on human health—including productivity, behavior, and development—at the population level using such methods as defined populations, inferential statistics, natural experiments, policy experiments, statistical modeling, and gene/environment interaction studies.

Current Sites

More Information

NICHD Contact: Rebecca Clark

Last Updated Date: 11/30/2012
Last Reviewed Date: 11/30/2012
Vision National Institutes of Health Home BOND National Institues of Health Home Home Storz Lab: Section on Environmental Gene Regulation Home Machner Lab: Unit on Microbial Pathogenesis Home Division of Intramural Population Health Research Home Bonifacino Lab: Section on Intracellular Protein Trafficking Home Lilly Lab: Section on Gamete Development Home Lippincott-Schwartz Lab: Section on Organelle Biology