202310 Population Dynamics Research Infrastructure Program (iPOP)

​Program seeks Council approval of the Population Dynamics Research Infrastructure Program (iPOP) initiative, which will support research infrastructure for new and existing highly productive population dynamics research centers.

Social, economic, and behavioral factors significantly affect human health and development. Population dynamics research is at the forefront of investigating how health, development, and productivity across generations and over the life course are affected by non-medical factors (i.e., social determinants) and their interactions at multiple levels, from genes to the policy environment. There are three overarching elements of the population dynamics research supported by NICHD: demography—the scientific study of human populations; social and behavioral research on reproductive health; and population health-- demographic, social, economic, institutional, geographic, and otherfactors influence human health, productivity, behavior, and development.

Goals. The overall objective of the Population Dynamics Research Infrastructure Program (iPOP) is to improve the impact and scientific productivity of population dynamics research in the United States, which translates into 3 primary goals:

  1. Providing scientific/technical, developmental, and administrative research infrastructuresupport for scientists at highly productive population dynamics research centers;
  2. Extending access to this research infrastructure support to external population scientists who are either not in population centers or are at population centers that are new, small, and/or not well-funded population centers; and
  3. Supporting nimble research on emerging issues in public health (e.g., COVID-10, changes in government policy about reproductive health).

Why is continued support for the program necessary? Population dynamics research is extremely data intensive, usually relying on the collection, curation, and analysis of large longitudinal population-representative data sets, or on natural experiments where randomization is at the community or group level rather than the individual level. This research is most time- and cost-effective when data sets and methodological, technical, and scientific resources are shared. Consolidating scientific/technical support and developmental activities, rather than having each research project develop these resources itself, is more efficient and less costly. This RFA supports research infrastructure at productive population dynamics research centers to facilitate this type of cooperation, while also advancing the development of junior scientists and freeing up time for scientists to conduct research rather than fulfill administrative requirements. In addition, as public health crises with wide-spread population impacts—such as Zika, COVID-19, and government restrictions on access to family planning—continue to emerge, there is a continued need for high quality, quick-response research.

Program Contact

Rebecca Clark
Population DynamicsBranch (PDB)


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