The NIH posted their latest announcement about the biosketch in December of last year. These are the biggest biosketch changes:
- The page limit has gone from four to five pages.
- The format includes a contributions section where applicants can list up to five major contributions.
- The contributions section expands the ways the applicant is able to show the significance of their work and their contributions.
- Applicants will be able to include a link to all of their publications.
To get started, it's important to read the specific instructions and see an example of the new biosketch, which can be found here.
My favorite NIH blogger, Deputy Director for Extramural Research, Sally Rockey, offered some explication for the changes when they began rolling out the pilot last May. The NIH made this change to allow applicants themselves to describe their own research contributions that might not be obvious when looking just at their publications. This also allows for the integration of nontraditional contributions, which may not have yielded publications. As Dr. Rockey described, "We strongly believe that allowing a researcher to generate an account of his or her own work will provide a clearer picture of each individual's contributions and capabilities." (read the blog)
This new biosketch is the result of a request for information and a pilot process, which all began in the summer of 2012. These changes should prompt applicants to not only begin to update their biosketches, but to also consider their biosketch for each application. Does it make sense to submit the same biosketch, outlining the same contributions for every grant you write to the NIH? Maybe, but maybe not. The biosketch is one of the first things that NIH reviewers read, so with that in mind, it's wise to re-read and update your biosketch with every submission.
Changes to Biosketch - Rock Talk