24 colored pencils stacked one on top of the next stretch from the left side of the frame into the center. The sharpened tips of the pencils point to the right. The other end of the pencils is not visible. Each of the pencils is a different color.

Consultant offers strategies for new NIH biosketch format (Part 1 of 4)

Image of a document. "SAMPLE" is stamped in faded letters behind the actual text. The text reads as follows. In the header, upper right: "OMB No. 0925-0046 (Approved Through 5/31/2016)." Title, centered at the top: BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH—"Pilot Format (To Be Used for Specific FOAs only)." Subhead, centered under title: "Provide the following information for the Senior/key personnel and other significant contributors. Follow this format for each person. DO NOT EXCEED FIVE PAGES." Form fields: "NAME," "POSITION TITLE," "eRA COMMONS USER NAME (credential, e.g., agency login)," "EDUCATION/TRAINING (Begin with baccalaureate or other initial professional education, such as nursing, include postdoctoral training and residency training if applicable.)" Table to enter education/training information: Column 1 -- "INSTITUTION AND LOCATION," Column 2 -- "DEGREE (if applicable)," Column 3 -- "MM/YY," Column 4 -- "FIELD OF STUDY." Centered below education/training table: "NOTE: The Biographical Sketch may not exceed five pages. Follow the formats and instructions below." Below this note are four section headers: "A. Personal Statement," "B. Positions and Honors," "C. Contributions to Science," and "D. Research Support." Each section header is followed by a paragraph, as described: A. Personal Statement -- "Briefly describe why you are well-suited for your role in the project described in this application. The relevant factors may include aspects of your training; your previous experimental work on this specific topic or related topics; your technical expertise; your collaborators or scientific environment; and your past performance in this or related fields (you may mention specific contributions to science that are not included in Section C). Also, you may identify up to four peer reviewed publications that specifically highlight your experience and qualifications for this project. If you wish to explain impediments to your past productivity, you may include a description of factors such as family care responsibilities, illness, disability, and active duty military service." B. Positions and Honors -- "List in chronological order previous positions, concluding with the present position. List any honors. Include present membership on any Federal Government public advisory committee." C. Contributions to Science -- "Briefly describe up to five of your most significant contributions to science. For each contribution, indicate the historical background that frames the scientific problem; the central finding(s); the influence of the finding(s) on the progress of science or the application of those finding(s) to health or technology; and your specific role in the described work. For each of these contributions, reference up to four peer-reviewed publications that are relevant to that contribution. The description of each contribution should be no longer than one half page including figures and citations. Please also provide a URL to a full list of your published work as found in a publicly available digital database such as PubMed or My Bibliography, which are maintained by the US National Library of Medicine." D. Research Support -- "List both selected ongoing and completed research projects for the past three years (Federal or non-Federally-supported). Begin with the projects that are most relevant to the research proposed in the application. Briefly indicate the overall goals of the projects and responsibilities of the key person identified on the Biographical Sketch. Do not include number of person months or direct costs." In smaller type at the bottom of the page is the following text: "Public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average one hour per response, including the time for reviewing instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering and maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing the collection of information. An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number. Send comments regarding this burden estimate or any other aspect of this collection of information, including suggestions for reducing this burden, to: NIH, Project Clearance Branch, 6705 Rockledge Drive, MSC 7974, Bethesda, MD 20892-7974, ATTN: PRA (0925-0046). Do not return the completed form to this address."
Sample of the new NIH biosketch format required beginning May 25, 2015.

We’re pleased to reblog this Strategic Grantsmanship post by Kelly Byram .  It is the first in a four-part series of posts about the new NIH biosketch format, which is required for grant applications submitted for due dates on or after May 25, 2015.  We will reblog the other posts in the series — plus a bonus post on explaining gaps in the biosketch — over the next few weeks.

Colored pencil photo by Evan-Amos via Wikimedia Commons (public domain). 

Strategic Grantsmanship

I led a seminar on the new NIH biosketch format earlier this week, and it was rough going. People don’t like change, and, as a result, almost every change will meet a certain amount of pushback. Those of us on the front lines are used to hearing the static from those affected by changes, but this was exceptional (although not unexpected). The online feedback regarding NIH’s initial post in May about the new format was mostly negative and sometimes fairly hostile, and some in the room this week voiced many of the same complaints about the format. I understand the anxiety researchers are feeling with this change; however, rather than go into any detail about the complaints about the new format (you can read them online at the link above and in response to NIH’s post on the subject this week), I would suggest it is wise to accept the inevitability of the change…

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