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Peer Review Notes January 2016

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Do’s and Don’ts for the New NIH Biosketch 

An image that includes red Xs and blue checks.  Source:  CSR/NIH

Since last May, applicants are required to use a new biosketch format, where they are asked to highlight their scientific contributions instead of simply listing their publications. The goal is to better focus reviews on the magnitude and significance of an applicant’s research accomplishments.

So you can make the new format work as well as it can for you, we pulled together the following Do’s and Don’ts for applicants and reviewers:

Advice to Applicants
  • Read the instructions and use the new biosketch format.
  • Be objective -- Don’t oversell or undersell yourself.
  • Make sure your claims are backed up by your publications.
  • Don’t stuff your biosketch with data and information that do not belong there.
  • Take advantage of the option to provide links to your publications via SciENcv or My lBibliography. 
  • Relax if you are a new investigator: the new requirement can only help you, since study sections cluster the reviews of new investigator R01 applications.
Bottom Line: List only pertinent information in your biosketch, and know your application could be withdrawn if you don’t use the new biosketch format.

Advice to Reviewers
  • Take the time to read biosketches -- they could save you time in assessing an investigator’s contributions.
  • You may factor an uninformative biosketch into your scoring if it hinders your ability to assess the investigator.
Learn More: Biosketch Q&As