Developing your application and wondering how reviewers will assess the vertebrate animal section (VAS)? If so, we encourage you to check out these two new resources. Read on for more…
On March 1, NIH Director Francis Collins announced NIH’s broad-based initiative, UNITE, to end structural racism and racial inequities in biomedical science. This is a recognition of the need for urgent, sustained effort on many fronts across the research enterprise, including in all parts of the NIH’s extramural processes, to change culture. While the NIH Institutes and Centers will examine their programmatic priorities and discretionary funding practices, here at CSR, we are committed to pushing ahead with efforts to protect the peer review process from the systemic biases that exist in all areas of the scientific community.
Understanding how peer review works is key to writing a good grant application. In this 44-minute video, NIH Peer Review: “Live” Mock Study Section, scientists have gathered virtually to review three fictional applications in response to a fictional Request For Applications (RFA).
Sharing an application with anyone who has not been officially designated to participate in the peer review process is a big no-no. It undermines the integrity of peer review. It disregards the confidentiality that is required of peer reviewers, who specifically sign a confidentiality agreement before accessing the applications. And it is specifically prohibited by NIH peer review policy.
How will study sections meet in the future? NIH peer review depends on robust meetings where groups of scientists, through vigorous discussion, identify the applications of highest merit. For the last 75 years, until last March, nearly all chartered review committee meetings were held in-person. Today, in response to the pandemic, 90% of all CSR review meetings are run as video (“Zoom”) meetings. CSR is taking steps now so that when all options are back on the table, we can make informed choices about how best to convene review meetings.
What would you do if, as the Dean of Research at a major university, a group of students, postdocs, and junior faculty reported that they had been pressured into writing reviewer critiques for a senior faculty member?
NIH is seeking applications for the 2021 Transformative Research awards through a new funding opportunity (RFA-RM-20-013) recently released on Friday, May 21, 2020. And, as a way to address concerns about bias in peer review while also enhancing diversity, this High Risk, High Reward program is going to anonymize the review of Transformative Research Award applications.
Have you ever been tempted to embellish your credentials in a grant application? What about fabricating credentials? Would this be a case of research misconduct or a violation of review integrity? These can be costly errors, as shown by the case described below (inspired by a true story; we’ve changed details and fictionalized names).
As we continue to address the effects of the COVID-19 public health emergency on NIH-supported research, we are aware of applicant concerns about the potential impact of this temporary emergency situation on the outcome of peer review. We want to reassure applicants that we released guidance for reviewers that makes it clear that, when reviewing applications during the coronavirus pandemic national emergency, reviewers should assume that issues resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, such as the following, should not affect scores.
CSR will conduct all summer peer review meetings using one of three platforms – 1) video; 2) telephone; 3) web-based discussion. A majority will take place using the Zoom video platform. We want to provide information about how we are maintaining the security and confidentiality of our review meetings.