The scientist who has led the massive overhaul of the National Institute of Health's (NIH) grant application review process is stepping down at the end of the month. Ellie Ehrenfeld, director of the NIH Center for Scientific Review (CSR), formerly the Division of Research Grants, says now that the design for the reorganization has been finalized and full implementation is expected to be completed in a year, she's accomplished most of what she can.

"There is a period of time… between 5 and 8 years usually," said the biochemist, "after which you have solved all the problems you're going to solve. After that it's just time for someone else to come in and solve problems they can solve." Ehrenfeld began her grant review reevaluation when she became CSR director 7 years ago.

The problem whose solution she initiated and oversaw was mammoth. No systematic assessment of the adequacy of the...

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