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Peer Review Notes May 2014

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Update on the New NIH Biosketch Format

Update on the New NIH Biosketch Format

To help applicants and reviewers better focus on the applicant’s most important contributions to science, NIH is working on a new biosketch format. NIH recently launched a new round of pilot tests (here and here) to make sure the new format will work well for both applicants and reviewers.

The new format will allow up to five pages for the entire biosketch. Rather than simply listing publications, the new format will give researchers the opportunity to highlight the magnitude and

significance of the scientific advances associated with their discoveries and the specific role they played in those findings. At the same time, it should give reviewers a clearer picture of a researcher’s accomplishments and capabilities.

Researchers will be permitted to describe up to five of their most significant contributions to science, the influence of those contributions on their scientific field, and any subsequent effects on health or technology. The new format also will allow researchers to describe their specific role in those discoveries and to annotate their description with up to four publications. In addition, researchers will be able to include a link to their complete list of publications in SciENcv or My Bibliography.

The pilot will involve surveys of both reviewers and applicants to help NIH fine-tune the application instructions and guidance to reviewers. NIH plans to roll out the modified biosketch for all grant applications received for FY 2016 funding and beyond (which generally refers to applications submitted in early 2015).