APS Fellow Oswald Named Chair of National Academies Board

Frederick L. Oswald

An eminent psychological scientist and APS Fellow now heads up one of the National Academy of Sciences’ wings focused on human factors and industrial/organizational psychology.

In January, APS Fellow Frederick L. Oswald (Rice University) took on the role of chair of the National Academies’ Board on Human-Systems Integration, or BOHSI. Oswald is the Herbert S. Autrey Chair in Social Sciences and professor of psychological sciences at Rice University, where he studies workforce readiness and quantitative methods.

As chair of BOHSI, Oswald oversees the board’s mandate to provide new perspectives on theoretical and methodological issues concerning the relationship of individuals and organizations to technology and the environment; identify issues in the design, testing, evaluation, and use of human-centered technology; and advise stakeholders on the research needed to expand the scientific bases for designing technology to support its users’ needs.

“BOHSI draws upon a wide range of national and international experts to provide the best scientific evidence on questions about human systems of critical societal importance,” said Oswald in an official announcement about the post.

“In what ways will AI technologies and algorithms continue to affect the workforce, human-machine teams, and the nature of work? How can we effectively reduce human errors in space flight, in medical settings, and in nuclear power plants? What human factors and technologies are best combined to improve home health care in the aging US population?…It is now a real privilege to serve as BOHSI chair and forge new paths ahead,” he said.

In his work, Oswald coordinates with other members of BOHSI, who include APS Fellow Barbara Dosher (University of California, Irvine) and psychological scientists Emilie M. Roth (Roth Cognitive Engineering), Edmond Israelski (AbbVie Inc.), and William J. Strickland (Colonel, US Air Force, Ret.), in addition to experts from medicine, engineering, and other fields. Oswald himself served as a board member for more than 4 years before being named chair.

BOHSI’s ongoing and past projects are likely of great interest to psychological scientists. Current projects include investigations of improving Air Force human-capital management, the cybersecurity workforce of the Federal Aviation Administration, and systems approaches to improving patient care by supporting clinician well-being. A full list of BOHSI’s many publications and proceedings can be found on the BOHSI website.

BOHSI is one of the boards within the National Academies’ Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education, which oversees most of the work at the Academies focused on behavioral science. The board holds open meetings twice a year to discuss scientific issues of interest, meet with federal agency staff who support BOHSI projects, and more.

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