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Creating an NIH Biosketch

A guide to best practices for creating an NIH Biosketch.

Personal Statement

The Personal Statement section is where you make your case for why you are well-suited to your role on the project. You might include key aspects of training or past experience, technical expertise, significant collaborations, and past performance in this or related fields. 

This is also an opportunity to explain anything else you’d like the reviewers to know about your career and research directions. For instance, this is where you can describe how you are proposing work in a new direction, or significant training or mentorships relationships.

If you wish to explain impediments to your past productivity, you may include a description of factors such as family care responsibilities, illness, disability, and active duty military service.

Following the May 25, 2021 changes in the biosketch, this is now the section where you include a list of the ongoing and completed research projects from the past three years that you want to draw attention to. This was previously captured under Section D. Research Support. Here you want to briefly indicate the overall goals of the projects and your responsibilities. Do not include the number of person months or direct costs. While including this information is optional, it will be used by the reviewers in the assessment of your qualifications for a specific role in the proposed project, as well as to evaluate the overall qualifications of the research team.

Finally, you can provide information on up to four publications or research products that specifically highlight your experience and qualifications for this project. Research products can include, but are not limited to: audio or video products; conference proceedings such as meeting abstracts, posters, or other presentations; patents; data and research materials; databases; educational aids or curricula; instruments or equipment; models; protocols; and software or netware. The inclusion of active hyperlinks to the URLs to cite these items is not allowed.

For outputs that are not publications any popular citation style guide is acceptable. However if they are interim research products, such as a preprint, they require a particular citation standard that includes elements like a DOI, object type, and most recent date modified. The NIH provides citation examples on their website.

While there is no limit to the length of the personal statement, keep in mind that the entire biosketch cannot exceed five pages. This total length limitation may affect what you choose to include in the personal statement section.


  • While there is no requirement on writing in first or third person voice, biosketches generally sound better when written in first person.
  • Indicate whether you have published or created research products under another name.
  • Define any acronyms when you first present them.