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Insider's Guide to Peer Review For Applicants

Summary: Insider's Guide to Peer Review
For Applicants
NIH Center for Scientific Review
To help new and established applicants submit better applications, CSR asked six current and
retired study section chairs to share their personal insights on what makes a good NIH grant
application. They responded with great enthusiasm. We present some of their responses in their
own words to preserve their sprit and impact. Applicants are encouraged to consider the
additional tips and official application guidelines on the NIH Web site:
Propose something significant: It is a real turn-off to read an application that is basically a re-
hash of a previous project with a new tissue. The same goes for "me too" research. Identify an
area of current controversy and importance within your field. Make it something that would
interest more people than you and your coworkers. Will it be important to clinicians or other
investigators? Are you dealing with key questions or controversies in the field?
Good ideas don't always sell themselves: Tell me why it's important up front in the background
section, and I'll be ready to roll. Tell me what's known and what isn't known and how, after you
complete your studies, you'll move the field forward or answer important questions. A lot of
people really are unaware of how absolutely important it is to tell the reviewer from the beginning
why it's worth doing. If you're seeking an incremental advance over what's known, it's essential to
justify it.


Source: Androulakis, Ioannis (Yannis) - Biomedical Engineering Department & Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, Rutgers University


Collections: Engineering; Biology and Medicine