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Creating an NIH Biosketch

A guide to best practices for creating an NIH Biosketch.

Important Change to the Biosketch Effective May 25, 2021!

For applications due on or after May 25, 2021, there are important changes to the NIH Biosketch:

  • Section D will be completely deleted for non-fellowship sketches
  • Section D will omit "Research Support" for fellowship sketches. Section D will now be solely dedicated to scholastic performance.

Instead, investigators are encouraged to mention important funding support to Section A: Personal Statement:

including ongoing and completed research projects from the past three years that you want to draw attention to (previously known as research support)

Also, in Section B:

  1. Positions, Scientific Appointments, and Honors updated to read:

List in reverse chronological order all positions and scientific appointments both domestic and foreign, including affiliations with foreign entities or governments. This includes titled academic, professional, or institutional appointments whether or not remuneration is received, and whether full-time, part-time, or voluntary (including adjunct, visiting, or honorary). High school students and undergraduates may include any previous positions. For individuals who are not currently located at the applicant organization, include the expected position at the applicant organization and the expected start date.

All of these changes are available in the NIH Biosketch format and template page at the NIH. Continue to use the current format for any applications due before May 25, 2021. There are two tabs on the format page: one for the upcoming format, and one for the current format.

What is the NIH Biosketch?

The NIH announced on December 5, 2014  that it would require a new format for the NIH biosketch for all NIH and AHRQ grants submitted for due dates on or after May 25, 2015.

Why this format?

The NIH believes the new format will:

  • allow researchers to highlight their accomplishments better by including more objects of scholarly productivity than just journal-published manuscripts, such as audio and visual material, databases, curricular material and more (see "What are Contributions to Science?" section below)
  • give researchers involved in team science an opportunity to describe their roles in collaborative projects

Key differences between the old and the new biosketch format:

  • The length of the new biosketch has increased from 4 to 5 pages
  • The new format allows researchers to describe up to 5 "contributions to science" and the historical background of these contributions in the new Section C 
    • Contributions are no longer limited to "selected publications"
  • The new format gives researchers the opportunity to provide a link to their full body of work in their MyNCBI My Bibliography. This is encouraged by the NIH though it is not required (NIH biosketch FAQs ).

In October of 2015, the NIH released "clarifications " to the NIH biosketch format, effective May 25, 2016.

  • You may NOT include figures or tables in your Contributions to Science
  • The publicly-accessible link to your full list of publications is still optional, but you may only use a link with a .gov suffix (such as your My Bibliography at My NCBI)
  • You can include non-peer reviewed scholarly output in your Personal Statement, in addition to your Contributions to Science. See the sections describing such output below.