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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

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

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