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Penn State research team to respond to legislators’ needs for social and behavioral research in light of COVID-19

Taylor Scott, research assistant professor in the Edna Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center and associate director of the Research-to-Policy Collaborative, has been funded by the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences for her project “Rapid Translation of Research into Coronavirus Policy Response.” 

Scott and her collaborators will respond to legislators’ needs for research related to social and behavioral responses to the coronavirus using the already-established infrastructure of the Research-to-Policy Collaborative (RPC), which leverages a team of fellows in Washington, D.C. and major research sites across the country, in collaboration with Penn State’s Office of Government and Community Relations. 

“This work has the potential to get actionable science into the hands of those who have the power to act—our nation’s lawmakers.  Not only are we hoping that the work may have impact, this presents an important opportunity for studying strategies that aim to bridge research and policy,” said Scott. 

“The key to supporting policymakers’ use of research evidence is responding to their needs and interests in real time.  Only research evidence perceived as relevant has a chance of being used, and the current crisis presents a meaningful opportunity for the sciences to demonstrate relevance and usefulness.” 

In addition to Scott, collaborators at Penn State include Cagla Giray, policy associate with the RPC; Daniel Max Crowley, assistant professor of human development and family studies and director of the Evidence-to-Impact Collaborative; and Elizabeth Long, postdoctoral research scholar with the RPC. 

As part of Penn State’s response to the novel coronavirus pandemic, the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences has awarded seed-funding for COVID-19 projects university-wide. The projects span six core research areas, including social sciences, which address how COVID-19 has shaped health care messaging, public policy, and mental health beyond the immediate health impacts of the virus. For more information, visit Penn State Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences COVID-19 Research Response.