NIH meetings move west

NIH peer reviewers based on the West Coast now have less far to travel for study section meetings, according to the Center for Scientific Review, the gateway for all NIH grant applications. For reviewers based far away from DC who have lamented the burden of traveling to Washington for study section meetings, the agency says half of scientific review officers will hold one meeting in Chicago, Seattle, Los Angeles, or San Francisco in 2008.

By | January 22, 2008

NIH peer reviewers based on the West Coast now have less far to travel for study section meetings, according to the Center for Scientific Review, the gateway for all NIH grant applications. For reviewers based far away from DC who have lamented the burden of traveling to Washington for study section meetings, the agency says half of scientific review officers will hold one meeting in Chicago, Seattle, Los Angeles, or San Francisco in 2008. All SROs will do so by 2009, according to in Peer Review Notes, a publication of the Center for Scientific Review released typically three times per year. NIH spokesperson Don Luckett sent me the newsletter this morning, which he plans to publish today. In addition, the newsletter announces that the Web-based review system for NIH grant applications has undergone an upgrade, and applicants now have access to tips from study section chairs on how to get a grant funded. The publication also formally announced a linkurl:development I reported;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54087/ earlier in the month: "Permanent" reviewers can now submit their grant applications whenever they'd like, which saves them from the burden of reviewing applications at the same time they are submitting their own. The agency has improved the software and hardware used for the asynchronous electronic discussion (AED) meetings, as well as redesigned the interface reviewers use to evaluate applications remotely. Since September 2006, the NIH has hosted more than 200 AED meetings, involving 2,600 reviewers and nearly 3,000 applications. The agency plans to survey participants in February about how the system is working. For applicants, the NIH has compiled and released linkurl:tips from current and retired study section chairs;http://cms.csr.nih.gov/nr/rdonlyres/60b2d32e-ae00-4358-8c51-2e11cc46eac8/15100/insiderguideapplicantsfinal.pdf on how to write a winning grant application. Some ideas, albeit somewhat intuitive, include: Avoid proposing to "collect more data," don't assume too much, be brief with stuff everyone knows, etc. All of this is in addition to the linkurl:overall review;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54180/ the agency is conducting of how to improve its peer review. Scientists who are manning the effort plan to submit formal recommendations, culled from more than 2,000 suggestions from the scientific community, to NIH director Elias Zerhouni next month. Click linkurl:here;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/54009/ to weigh in on some of the changes the agency is considering.

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