New NIH Review Guidelines & Videos

JIT for their implementation of the new review and scoring procedures, the NIH has posted guidelines for study section reviewers and chairs as well as guidelines and critique templates for various grant mechanisms.

You can also view two training videos (PPTs available as well) at Enhancing Peer Review, which has been expanded considerably:

Indeed, the Training & Communications Resources page has quite a number of valuable, well, you know, resources.

Have I looked at any of this yet? Hell no. Way too overstimulated. But I will most certainly mosey over soon and though yinz might want to sooner.



  1. whimple said

    1. Significance
    2. Investigator
    3. Innovation
    4. Approach
    5. Environment

    Which of these is used to reflect the perceived likelihood that the project will actually succeed in its stated goals?

    Ditto for the Final Impact score, which brings home the bacon: “A score of 1 indicates an exceptionally strong application (or exceptionally strong significance, investigators, innovation, approach, environment)” – writedit

  2. BB said

    Anyone else notice that RC1 grants aren’t listed on the guidelines web page?

  3. This mumbo jumbo ain’t gonna do jack diddly fucking shit.

  4. D said

    Unfortunately, that is about all that NIH can do. By Law (that is the NIH authorization law) these 5 criteria have to be considered. By changing the order it is hoped that the first two will be given more weight than the later three. Of course because of the Law NIH can not explicitly say so but….


  5. BikeMonkey said

    Dunno where you get this idea D but CSR has been on the “more emphasis on Significance ” bandwagon for two years or so. They have latitude…they just don’t use it well.

  6. D said

    I agree…Everyone has been on the more Emphasis on Significance bandwagon.

    But, CSR and SROs can say what they want but reviewers can do (that is score) as want they want. And they do. Keep in mind that as much bitching and moaning one hears from the “community” about how too much emphasis being placed on minor details in an app, it is the reviewers (members of the community) who continue to do it. I have never heard a SRO say “we need to focus on the concentration of NaCl in this PCR mix.” or “Do they have enough preliminary data in this R21…?” I don’t know how many times I have heard from other reviewers….”I know they don’t need preliminary data but….”

    These review changes are all a cry of “Save Us from Ourselves!”


    ..”it is like herding cats”..

  7. whimple said

    The other problem is that “Significance”, according to the review guideline documents that I’ve seen, means “significance to the field“. This interpretation formally destroys the long-deprecated notion that the NIH can fund transformative research through the R01 mechanism, since if the work is so groundbreaking as to not have a field yet, it can’t possibly be significant. Judah Folkman’s early work on angiogenesis comes to mind. I guess that puts more onus on the EUREKA/T-R01 mechanism.

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