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Science and Technology S&T Engine: Behavioral, Economic, and Social Science

S&T Engine: Behavioral, Economic, and Social Science

Through the Behavioral, Economic, and Social Science Engine (BESS-E), S&T programs will examine the human impact of their programs and technologies early in the planning stages, increasing the probability of successful implementation and transition. BESS-E will also provide insight into the ultimate potential impact and any unintended consequences.

Description & Approach

BESS-E analyzes the social, economic, and behavioral implications of a program’s research, implementation, and diffusion of new technologies, programs, and policies. BESS-E will provide programs with broad research support on technology acceptance and program evaluation.  By matching social science capabilities to program needs, BESS-E is able to provide basic and applied research support to the programs that addresses their human impact.

Key Activities

  • Work with S&T programs to identify requirements and apply existing capabilities to meet immediate needs.
  • Coordinate with Engines and other S&T elements, such as Human Systems Integration (HSI) and the Privacy Office to address program needs.

Technology Acceptance

  • Organizational Assessments can help identify facilitators and roadblocks to implantation and diffusion of new technologies or policies.
  • Identification of perceptions of the end user community can assist with use case selection and messaging.

Program Evaluation

  •  Success metrics can be developed into quantifiable metrics used to measure program performance.
  • Program evaluation will determine the impact the program has on operations, how well a program meets its success metrics, and any unintended consequences.
  • Cost-benefit analysis can help quantify non-monetary benefits that may accrue far into the future.

Basic Research

Experimental design can allow S&T programs to test scenarios, such as measuring cognitive load, in a controlled environment to help answer questions about the field and increase knowledge production.

Through this approach BESS-E will provide support across all S&T programs. For example, S&T programs have the potential need to assess interaction with end-user communities and the general public. Additionally, programs will need clearly defined success metrics, which can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of the program on operational outcomes. BESS-E will work with other Engines, HSI, and Privacy to provide social science support and subject matter expertise. This ‘whole-of-enterprise’ approach maximizes investment, capabilities, and subject matter expertise for mission objectives.

To learn more about the Behavioral, Economic, and Social Science Engine, contact technologyengines@hq.dhs.gov

View the Behavioral, Economic, and Social Science Engine Fact Sheet!

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