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Creating an NIH Biosketch

A guide to best practices for creating an NIH Biosketch.


Science Experts Network Curriculum Vitae (SciENcv) is an electronic system that helps researchers assemble the professional information needed for participation in federally funded research. A researcher profile system for all individuals who apply for, receive, or are associated with research investments from federal agencies, SciENcv gathers and compiles information on expertise, employment, education, and professional accomplishments. Researchers can use SciENcv to create and maintain biosketches that are submitted with grant applications and annual reports. SciENcv allows researchers to describe and highlight their scientific contributions in their own words.

Not only can you create a biosketch for the NIH with SciENcv, but you can also create one for the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Institute of Education Sciences (IES). NIH encourages applicants to use SciENcv to generate their biosketches. SciENcv quickly formats everything, including citations, according to NIH rules.  

Access SciENcv by logging into the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) website. The NCBI advances science and health by providing access to biomedical and genomic information. SciENcv is one of the tools made available by the NCBI. The NCBI changed their log-in procedures in June of 2021, transitioning from managing the logins to using federated account credentials. If you do not have an NCBI account yet, you can go to their log-in screen, find the Northwestern University affiliation, and log in with your net ID.  If you have an NCBI account, you can log in this same way and affiliate your previous account with your Northwestern login. You can also use your Google account to log in. 


You may be the only researcher with your name here at Northwestern, but how do you distinguish yourself outside of the Northwestern universe? The scholarly community has realized the value of name disambiguation and would like to see it available outside of any single database. To assure  everyone gets credit for their work, the Open Researcher and Contributor ID or ORCID, was created. This ID acts like a social security number for an author and helps disambiguate their papers from others. When an author publishes in a journal or receives grant funding, they are often asked to include their ORCID along with their name. You can also associate your ORCID with nontraditional outputs, like conference posters, teaching materials, or videos, and keep track of those in your ORCID profile. Some of you may already have an ORCID - you can link your ORCID account to your SciENcv account and use the biographical data in your ORCID record to populate SciENcv profiles. 

eRA Commons

eRA Commons is an online interface where grant applicants, grantees, and federal staff at NIH and grantor agencies can access and share administrative information relating to research grants. You will use eRA commons throughout the lifecycle of a grant, from application submission to grant closeout. You must include eRA Commons credentials for personnel who participate in a NIH funded project for at least one month. You can find detailed instruction for creating and affiliating accounts in the Accounts Module Online Help System. An "eRA Commons User Name" is required for the Program Director, Principal Investigator, primary sponsors of fellowship applicants, all mentors of candidates for mentored career development awards, and candidates for diversity and reentry research supplements. The "eRA Commons User Name" field is optional for other project personnel. Access eRA Commons through your NCBI account.