Two tall evergreen hedges span the height of the frame. The one of the left has a flowering vine growing on it. In between the two hedges, a garden is visible. The garden has a few green plants, a stone urn planter, and a path that is mostly overgrown by grass. In the far background, trees are visible.

Consultant offers suggestions for explaining gaps in NIH biosketch

A wide strip of white-painted pavement appears at the top of the frame. Under that the words, "MIND THE GAP" are painted on the pavement. Below those words, there are seven rows of dots, which are perhaps reflectors, connected horizontally on a strip. The first three rows are orange, the next two are yellow and the last two are orange.

We’re pleased to reblog this Strategic Grantsmanship post by Kelly Byram.  It is a follow-up to 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.  That series was reblogged here over the past few weeks.

“A Gap in the Hedge” photo by floato via Flickr.  “Mind the Gap” photo by Lisa via Flickr.  Both used under Creative Commons license.

Strategic Grantsmanship

You have the opportunity in the NIH biosketch to explain any gaps in your research productivity. Military service, family obligations, illness, and disability are the main reasons for gaps that quickly come to mind, but those are not the only reasons one may have for a gap. Explanation of any gap is not required, and many female researchers with whom I have discussed this topic have viscerally negative reactions to this part of the Personal Statement (PS) section of the biosketch. Usually the question is, will saying I took time off for family obligations affect the perception of me? The answer is it shouldn’t, but it might. Here’s how you handle it.

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