NIH Announces Change to Scoring Criteria

By Bouvier Grant Group

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Since it was initially announced last year, we’ve kept you updated on NIH’s potential plans to modify application criteria. After seeking and analyzing public input, NIH has announced that it will implement the simplified review framework for applications received on or after January 25, 2025.

According to NIH, the modifications are intended to mitigate elements that have the potential to introduce bias into review. The changes will help reviewers focus on the potential for proposed research to advance scientific knowledge and improve human health. Additionally, administrative responsibilities will shift from reviewers to NIH staff, thereby allowing reviewers to focus on the science. Under the previous scoring system, five criteria were individually scored using a common scale; the simplified review framework reorganizes these criteria into three factors. Two of these factors – importance of research and rigor and feasibility – are scored using a common scale. A third factor, expertise and resources, is evaluated for sufficiency only and not given a numeric score.

Below is a summary of the simplified peer review framework.

Author:
Dr. Meg Bouvier

Margaret Bouvier received her PhD in 1995 in Biomedical Sciences from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. After an NINDS post-doctoral fellowship, she worked as a staff writer for long-standing NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins in the Office of Press, Policy, and Communications for the Human Genome Project and NHGRI. Since 2007, Meg has specialized in editing and advising on NIH submissions, and began offering virtual courses in 2015. She's recently worked with more than 40% of the nation's highest-performing hospitals*, four of the top 10 cancer hospitals, three of the top five medical schools for research, and 14 NCI-designated cancer centers. Her experience at NIH as both a bench scientist and staff writer greatly informs her approach to NIH grantwriting. She has helped clients land over half a billion in federal funding. Bouvier Grant Group is a woman-owned small business.

*Our clients include 9 of the top 22 hospitals as recognized by the 2023/24 US News & World Report honor roll

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