Finkelstein Schneider Shorten App

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Finkelstein Schneider Shorten App

  1. 1. Shortening the Research Grant Application Robert Finkelstein and Don Schneider Discussants Drs. McClain, Martinez, & Sassaman <ul><li>Peer Review Advisory Committee August 28, 2006 </li></ul><ul><li>National Institutes of Health Department of Health and Human Services </li></ul>
  2. 2. Overview <ul><li>Charge to the application committee </li></ul><ul><li>Preliminary activities </li></ul><ul><li>Future plans </li></ul>
  3. 3. Charge to the Application Committee <ul><li>Came from Extramural Activities Working Group (EAWG), which oversees CSR governance and peer review related issues </li></ul><ul><li>EAWG Co-Chairs are Story Landis (NINDS) and Norka Ruiz Bravo (Office of Extramural Research) </li></ul><ul><li>Earlier this year, EAWG decided to consider whether the standard NIH grant application should be improved </li></ul><ul><li>The Application Committee was formed (May 16, 2006) to consider possible improvements </li></ul>
  4. 4. Specific Goals <ul><li>Consider whether the page limit for the Research Plan section of the NIH grant application should be reduced </li></ul><ul><li>Consider aligning the application sections more closely with the five review criteria (significance, approach, innovation, investigators, and environment) </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on the standard research project grant (R01), and consider other mechanisms as appropriate </li></ul>
  5. 5. Grant Application Lengths [Research Plan] <ul><li>NIH Pioneer/HHMI 4-5 pages </li></ul><ul><li>(plus interview) </li></ul><ul><li>Burroughs Wellcome 6 pages </li></ul><ul><li>United Kingdom 8/12 pages </li></ul><ul><li>Canada 10/15 pages </li></ul><ul><li>NSF 15 pages </li></ul><ul><li>NIH R01 25 pages </li></ul>
  6. 6. Issues influencing the charge <ul><li>Many applicants and reviewers believe that the NIH application process is excessively time-consuming </li></ul><ul><li>Reviewer workloads have declined from about 12 to about 6 applications each meeting over the past 10 years </li></ul><ul><li>The number of reviewers at study sections, particularly temporary members, has increased sharply (35-50 reviewers at many meetings) </li></ul><ul><li>CSR used nearly 20,000 reviewers last year – increasingly difficult to recruit quality reviewers </li></ul>
  7. 7. Application Committee Roster <ul><li>Robert Finkelstein (NINDS) Co-Chair </li></ul><ul><li>Don Schneider (CSR) Co-Chair </li></ul><ul><li>Mary Custer (CSR) </li></ul><ul><li>Ann Hagan (NIGMS) </li></ul><ul><li>Craig Jordan (NIDCD) </li></ul><ul><li>Sherry Mills (OD) </li></ul><ul><li>Philip Smith (NIDDK) </li></ul><ul><li>Barbara Spalholz (NCI) </li></ul><ul><li>Elizabeth Wilder (NIDDK) </li></ul><ul><li>Terra Vinson (CSR) Analyst </li></ul>
  8. 8. Proposed Process <ul><li>Seek input from external and internal stakeholders </li></ul><ul><li>Recommend an application length and format that facilitates the evaluative process and the advancement of science/health </li></ul><ul><li>Vet this recommendation appropriately </li></ul>
  9. 9. Background <ul><li>Appendices will probably be eliminated from standard applications </li></ul><ul><li>Clinical protocols will be moved to the human subjects section (not counted against page limit) </li></ul>
  10. 10. Preliminary Activities of Committee <ul><li>Exploratory (non-scientific!) gathering of opinions from extramural scientists </li></ul><ul><li>- majority of applicants and reviewers appear to support shortening the application </li></ul><ul><li>Presentation at EPMC – many members supported shortening efforts but urged broad communication with stakeholders and coordination with other changes (e.g., electronic submission) </li></ul><ul><li>Preparation of a draft Request for Information (RFI) to solicit feedback </li></ul>
  11. 11. Future Committee Activities <ul><li>Issue RFI to solicit opinions from external and internal stakeholders </li></ul><ul><li>Analyze results (CSR) </li></ul><ul><li>Make recommendations to EAWG </li></ul>
  12. 12. RFI: sample questions <ul><li>For applicants: </li></ul><ul><li>-Would a shorter application affect your ability to present ideas? </li></ul><ul><li>-Would it affect preparation time? </li></ul><ul><li>-Which of the current sections should be shortened? </li></ul><ul><li>-Should sections be changed to align with review criteria? </li></ul><ul><li>-Do clinical research proposals require a higher page limit? </li></ul><ul><li>-etc. </li></ul><ul><li>For reviewers: </li></ul><ul><li>- Would a shorter application affect your ability to judge scientific merit? </li></ul><ul><li>-Would it affect your willingness to serve as a reviewer or to review more applications? </li></ul><ul><li>-Would it place any group of investigators/type of research at a disadvantage? </li></ul><ul><li>-etc. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Distribution of RFI <ul><li>Publish in NIH Guide </li></ul><ul><li>Develop version for NIH staff </li></ul><ul><li>Use list serves (e.g., OER and CSR Peer Review Notes) </li></ul><ul><li>Send to professional societies </li></ul><ul><li>Distribute at CSR open houses for professional societies </li></ul>
  14. 14. Analysis of RFI Cheryl Oros, Director of CSR Planning, Analysis & Evaluation <ul><li>Use software when possible </li></ul><ul><li>With six week posting, begin analyses prior to closing </li></ul><ul><li>Acknowledge and respond to comments </li></ul><ul><li>Share results </li></ul>
  15. 15. Timeline Possibilities (assuming some shortening) <ul><li>Ideally, changes in the application process should occur in a coordinated fashion </li></ul><ul><li>Electronic receipt begins in early 2007 </li></ul><ul><li>Adequate gathering of information and education of the community may make implementation prior to fall 2007 impractical </li></ul>
  16. 16. Discussants <ul><li>Dr. Craig McClain </li></ul><ul><li>Dr. Joe Martinez </li></ul><ul><li>Dr. Anne Sassaman </li></ul>

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