EGRP News Flash - July 11, 2008

NIH Director Announces Enhancements to Peer Review

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has announced critical changes to enhance and improve the NIH peer review system. An important component of the new plan is an increased commitment to investigator-initiated high-risk, high-impact research to prevent a slowdown of transformative research, despite difficult budgetary times.

The initiatives reflect NIH's response to thousands of comments, opinions, and criticisms received throughout the year. Taken together, these proposals bring to fruition the original charge to fund the best science, by the best scientists, with the least administrative burden.

Collaborative teams of participants worked to tackle challenges of the system and discover solutions. A comprehensive framework was created and implementation will be carried out over the next 18 months. The Implementation Plan Report consists of four main priorities and highlights include:

  • Priority 1 – Engage the Best Reviewers: Increase flexibility of service, formally acknowledge reviewer efforts, further compensate time and effort, and enhance and standardize training
  • Priority 2 – Improve Quality and Transparency of Reviews: Shorten and redesign applications to highlight impact and to allow alignment of the application, review and summary statement with five explicit review criteria, and modify the rating system
  • Priority 3 – Ensure Balanced and Fair Reviews Across Scientific Fields and Career Stages
    • Support a minimum number of early stage investigators and investigators new to NIH, and emphasize retrospective accomplishments of experienced investigators;
    • Encourage and expand the Transformative Research Pathway;
    • Create a new investigator-initiated Transformative R01 Award program funded within the NIH Roadmap with an intended commitment of a minimum of $250 million over five years;
    • Continue the commitment of—and possibly expand the use of—the Pioneer, EUREKA, and New Innovator Awards. NIH will invest at least $750 million in these three programs over the next 5 years; and
    • Reduce the burden of multiple rounds of resubmission for the same application, especially for highly meritorious applications.
  • Priority 4 – Develop a Permanent Process for Continuous Review of Peer Review

For more information about enhancing peer review at NIH and to learn about the implementation plan, please visit http://enhancing-peer-review.nih.govExternal Web Site Policy.

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