Looking for a NIH Program Official in Your Research Area?


For years researchers have used the Matchmaker feature in NIH RePORTER to identify NIH-funded projects similar to their supplied abstracts, research bios, or other scientific text. Matchmaker was recently enhanced to make it just as easy to identify NIH program officials whose portfolios include projects in your research area.

After entering your scientific text (up to 15,000 characters), Matchmaker will analyze the key terms and concepts to identify up to 500 similar projects. Those projects will continue to show on the Projects tab with handy charts to visualize the results and quickly filter identified projects by Institute/Center, Activity Code, and Study Section. A new Program Official tab identifies the program officials associated with the matched projects and includes its own filters for Institute/Center and Activity Code. From the list of program officials you are one click away from their contact information and matched projects in their portfolios. Never before has it been so easy to answer the question “Who at NIH can I talk to about my research?”


  1. 4-17-18
    NIH should expand its development and use of AI and quantum computers to handle the huge amount of biomedical information that is produced and has been produced. A chi square or linear regression will not do the job! AI and supercomputers are needed!

  2. Thanks for the information, but could you clarify how it is useful to know the POs? It almost implies that a researcher could request that a PO be assigned to one of their future, or perhaps current, grants/applications. In truth, this would be valuable, but I do not think any of the Institutes want this. Valuable because so many POs are not helpful to the PIs to whom they are assigned. Although I am fortunate to have a fantastic PO, I run a Center of over a dozen PIs, most of whom have POs who never respond to their emails. And from the limited instances when POs do in fact respond to PIs, it is clear many are not truly engaged in the science, and have settled into very unhelpful bureaucratic persona. I will admit that approximated 1/3 of all PIs I know share experiences where their POs are clearly engaged and try to help. However too many are essentially harming the careers of PIs. In 2 instances in my Center, 2 junior PIs (both on first R01s) are need in of administrative information only a PO can provide, and cannot get their PO to respond to (repeated) emails. Although PIs are afraid to upset their POs, my advice to these junior PIs has been that they cannot harm you much further, so we should investigate the means to have them replaced. Thus, it would helpful if this ability to identify POs in one’s field or topic of interest could be coupled with the ability to change POs.

  3. This info on Matchmaker is helpful. NOT helpful is the number of program officers who flatly refuse to meet with grant seeking researchers who wish to learn more about solicitations. Some refuse all contacts, others will consent only to phone discussions. Not very open to being broadly helpful.

    1. 4-17-18
      Hi Dr. Molfese,
      . I had no idea that was the case. I’m retired now but…
      Back in the day…
      I was a grantee from 1964-1969 and then from 1981 to 2005.
      We were all blessed with wonderful project officers at the Institutes colleagues and I worked with… NIDA, NIMH, NINDS, and NIGMS.
      They all were great, took time to talk to us, very attentive to our questions, situations, site visits, and progress. Indeed, I never heard any complaints.
      I hope that things will be better for you and colleagues.
      Paul Shapshak, PhD

  4. The most frustrating part is how to get the POs to respond to inquiries? The sad reality is they don’t respond for most of the time.

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