The August issue of NIH’s Extramural Nexus includes two announcements that might interest you.
Impact Score Paragraph in Summary Statements
Starting with September grant application reviews, reviewers will include a summary paragraph to explain what factors they considered in assigning the overall impact score. This should help investigators better understand the reasons for the score.
Plain Language in Public Sections of Grant Applications
The director’s column talks about the importance of communicating research value in your grant application.
Your grant title, abstract and statement of public health relevance are very important. Once a grant is funded, these items are available to the public through NIH’s RePORTER database. Many people are interested in learning about research supported with taxpayer dollars, so I encourage you to be clear and accurate in writing these parts of your application. Reviewers are being told to expect plain language in these sections.
The Nexus column includes links to these helpful resources:
To accommodate the transition to new application forms and instructions, NIH has temporarily extended the electronic application error correction window to five business days for applications due between January 25 and May 7, 2010. This allows additional time for applicants who may have inadvertently used the wrong forms to correct their applications. Please remember that applications using the wrong forms or that exceed the new page limits will not be reviewed.
For more on the application changes, see my October 13 post.
Two major recommendations of the NIH Enhancing Peer Review Initiative were to shorten grant applications and restructure their content. These changes will affect applications due on or after January 25, 2010.
Here’s a brief overview of the changes and their implementation. Be sure to follow the links for other details and important information.
New Application Structure and Length
These changes affect ALL applications (new, renewal, resubmission and revision). Exceptions will be considered only for AIDS applications from members of review committees. Specifics vary with the type of application (research, training, resource, etc.). For more, see:
- When submitting an application due on or after January 25, you must download the new application forms. You may sign up to be notified when new application packages become available, which will be in December.
- Applications submitted early must follow the instructions for the actual due date (e.g., applications submitted on January 24 for the February 5 R01 due date must use the new forms).
- You can begin working on your applications now and paste the text into the appropriate form when it’s available.
- NIH will not accept any applications using any part of the old forms, including biosketches.
- All existing Funding Opportunity Announcements (both electronic and paper) will be revised to incorporate these changes and will be reissued by December 2009.
- Parent announcements will be reissued and have new Funding Opportunity Announcement numbers.
If you have specific questions, please contact the NIH Grants Information Help Desk at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NIH has posted a video on the Enhancing Peer Review Web site that details recent changes to the peer review system from the reviewer’s perspective. Running about 13 minutes, “What Reviewers Need to Know Now”, (Transcript [PDF, 79KB]) offers valuable information for current and prospective peer reviewers. You’ll find other resources in the PowerPoint presentation and related links that accompany the video.
Many aspects of the new peer review system are already being used in study section meetings. If you have participated in any of these meetings, I am very interested in your comments and reactions.
I’d also like to mention that NIH’s Center for Scientific Review, NIGMS and other institutes and centers have a critical need right now for reviewers to help evaluate the tremendous number of applications submitted in response to Recovery Act funding opportunities. If a Scientific Review Officer asks you to participate on a review panel, I hope that you’ll agree to serve if at all possible.