The Owens institute for Behavioral Research was founded in 1970 by William A. Owens, Jr. He began the institute with the twin goals of fostering interdisciplinary research and enhancing scholarship in the social and behavioral sciences at the University of Georgia. Bill Owens, who was fondly called “Doc”, foresaw the shift from single discipline “method focused” research to interdisciplinary “problem focused” research.

Over time OIBR has grown in both size and scope. The institute now has over 170 affiliated faculty representing 45 academic units, five research centers and six workgroups which provide opportunities for focused discussion and interdisciplinary collaboration. More recently, OIBR has broadened its traditional interdisciplinary foci to include a trans-disciplinary focus on genetics and neuroscience.

There is greater emphasis on the role of extramural funding in developing and maintaining outstanding scholarship in the social and behavioral sciences.

OIBR plays an essential role in facilitating both interdisciplinary and multi-disciplinary scholarship by mentoring junior faculty as well as supporting established scientists in their pursuit of research.

William Owens

In 2020, the Owens institute celebrated its 50th year of supporting social and behavioral science research at the University of Georgia.

The institute has grown exponentially over the last 50 years by consistently reaching a 30% hit rate for funding. The programs nurtured by OIBR not only attract faculty with some of UGA’s largest grant awards at the university, but also make a positive impact in the lives of many individuals in Georgia and elsewhere.

Over fifty years later, we have stayed true to Bill Owens core principles of mentoring, advocacy, collaborative research, and supporting social and behavioral science research. The cornerstones of OIBR include encouraging and supporting innovative research; fostering collaboration across disciplines; mentoring early career scholars; providing resources to support rigorous scientific research; and inspiring and celebrating the successes of our scientists.