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Director's Message - Enhancing Peer Review


photo of NINDS Director, Dr. Story Landis


Important Update on Enhancing Peer Review

The NIH has had an effort underway to evaluate and improve our Peer Review process. The charge was to, "Fund the best science, by the best scientists, with the least amount of administrative burden." Dr. Alan Willard (Chief, NINDS Scientific Review Branch) is leading the NIH-wide implementation effort. The first change that will occur is a reduction in the number of resubmissions. For new applications arriving in February and March 2009, applications will only be allowed a single resubmission ("A1"). The intent is to speed funding of the best grants.

Other changes for grants submitted in 2009 include:
  1. Scoring of individual review criteria--each application will receive an individual score on five review criteria: For R01s those criteria are: significance, investigator(s), innovation approach, and environment.
  2. A new scoring system using a 9 point rating scale.
  3. Where possible, New Investigator and Early Stage Investigator R01applications will be clustered for review. NIH has announced the goal that new R01 applications will have a success rate similar to that of new R01 applications submitted by established investigators. It is hoped that the majority of new investigator awards will be made to Early Stage Investigators (ESI), who are new investigators who received their terminal research degree or who completed their clinical residency training within the last 10 years. In order to be identified as ESI, new investigators must update their NIH Commons profile with information about the dates of degree awards and completion of residency.

Coming for grants submitted in 2010: Applications for R01s and other grant mechanisms will have substantially shorter research plans that are explicitly aligned with the review criteria.

To stay up to date on the NIH effort to enhance peer review, visit the Enhancing Peer Review at NIH web site. You can also access this site by clicking on the Peer Review link from the main NIH web site.

-Story Landis, Ph.D.

Last updated February 19, 2009