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NIH Provides Opportunities to Describe Delays in Scientific Productivity

In 2011, NIH modified the biosketch guidelines for NIH grant applications to allow explanations of how personal circumstances may have delayed an individual’s transition to an independent career or reduced their scientific productivity.

Modification of the Biographical Sketch in NIH Grant Application Forms to Permit a Description of Factors that may have Reduced Productivity

The Biographical Sketch that appears in NIH research grant application forms (PHS 398, PHS 2590, and the SF 424 R&R; see http://grants.nih.gov/grants/forms.htm) is used to convey information about the qualifications, productivity, and the role of the personnel involved in the proposed project. This information is available to peer reviewers as well as NIH extramural program and grants management officials.    Information in the Biosketch is factored into the overall merit and technical rating for each grant application.  

The NIH is aware that personal issues can affect career advancement and productivity.   Such considerations have shaped the implementation of the Early Stage Investigator Policy (see http://grants.nih.gov/grants/new_investigators/index.htm).   That policy permits Principal Investigators to describe personal factors that may have delayed their transition to research independence.  Such factors can occur at any point in a scientist’s career and include family care responsibilities, illness, disability, military service and other personal issues. 

This modification of the Biographical Sketch will permit Program Directors/Principal Investigators and other senior/key staff to describe personal circumstances that may have reduced productivity. Peer reviewers and others will then have more complete information on which to base their assessment of qualifications and productivity relevant to the proposed role on the project.

Modification of the Fellowship Biographical Sketch in NIH Grant Application Form SF424 (R&R) to Permit a Description of Factors that may have Resulted in a Hiatus in Training or Reduced Productivity

The Fellowship Applicant Biographical Sketch Format Page that appears in the Individual Fellowship Application Guide SF424 (R&R) will be modified to permit a description of factors that may have resulted in a hiatus in training or reduced scientific productivity. This information is available to peer reviewers and to NIH extramural program and grants management officials.  Information in the Biosketch is factored into the overall merit and technical rating for each fellowship application.

Similar changes were previously announced in NOT-OD-11-045.  Those changes applied to the Biographical Sketch of the research grant segments of the SF424 (R&R). This modification will extend those changes to the Fellowship Applicant Biographical Sketch that is completed by the Fellowship applicant, and will permit Fellows to describe personal circumstances that may have resulted in a hiatus in training or reduced scientific productivity.

 

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