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Creating an NIH Biosketch

A guide to best practices for creating an NIH Biosketch.

Who and why?

Completion of the NIH Biosketch is part of the “Apply for Grant Funding” Portion of the grants process overview. The biosketch allows applicants to:

  • Describe the magnitude and significance of their scientific contributions (including publications)
  • Provide detailed information about their research experience in the context of the proposed project

Biosketches are required from all senior/key personnel and other significant contributors that are applying for the grant

The NIH Biosketch Form

The NIH provides detailed instructions and samples on their website to assist you in the creation of your biosketch. The current template is approved for use through 9/30/2024. The total biosketch cannot be longer than five pages in length. Margins may be no narrower than ½ inch. Font of 11 point or larger is required, as long as the font type has no more than 15 characters per linear inch (including characters and spaces) -- some 11 point fonts are more compressed than 15 characters per inch, so the recommended font is Arial 11 point font.

The form includes four sections:

  • general demographic information
  • a personal statement
  • a section to list your positions, scientific appointment, and honors
  • a section to note your contributions to science

Special Note: Important changes were made to the NIH Biosketch form, effective May 25, 2021.

  • Section D will be completely deleted for non-fellowship sketches. Instead, investigators are encouraged to mention important funding support in the text of 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).
  • Section D will omit "Research Support" for fellowship sketches. Section D will now be solely dedicated to scholastic performance.


  • You might want to consider having more than one version of your biosketch if you work in a variety of disciplines or conduct your own research but also are a mentor to new faculty or students.
  • While there is no requirement on writing in first or third person voice, biosketches generally sound better when written in first person. If you prefer to write in third person voice, just be consistent. Do not write the personal statement in third person and contributions in first person voice.