|NIH Center for Scientific Review to Host Open
House Workshops to Improve the Review of NIH Grant Applications
Bethesda, Md. — Starting in March 2007, the Center for Scientific
Review (CSR) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will convene
the first of six one-day Open House Workshops in 2007 to solicit
input from leaders of the scientific community and other stakeholders.
This input will be critical to realigning and reinventing CSR’s
application review groups so the $20+ billion NIH invests in biomedical
research grants each year advances the most promising research.
“The rapid evolution and expansion of science has made it much
more difficult for our peer review groups to keep pace,” says Toni
Scarpa, CSR Director. “The broad and expert input expected from
the Open Houses will help accelerate needed changes at CSR, which
will help NIH better advance medical research and serve the American
public and all those suffering or at risk who need new treatments,
cures and preventions.”
CSR’s peer review groups have not been assessed broadly by the
scientific community since the NIH Panel on Scientific Boundaries
for Review (PSBR) released its reorganization plan seven years
ago. Convening the Open Houses represents a systematic effort to
engage stakeholders from all the many scientific disciplines to
ensure their voices are heard and CSR’s review groups are properly
aligned and prepared for the future.
Workshop participants also will provide input on other ongoing
and proposed initiatives to improve CSR’s peer review process.
Comments from each of these workshops will be posted online, and
all those interested will be encouraged to submit additional input
Scientific leaders of pertinent scientific societies and disease
groups are encouraged to attend these one-day workshops, which
will also include breakout sessions led by study section chairs.
Scientific review administrators will be present as will NIH and
CSR leaders and senior staff. Those interested in attending are
asked to submit a registration form at least three weeks prior
to the workshop. Online registration forms can be found at http://www.csr.nih.gov/openhouse.
While these meetings are open meetings, scientific societies are
asked to limit their participation to one or two representatives
to facilitate focused and meaningful discussions.
The first Open House Workshop will focus on the alignment of CSR’s
neuroscience study sections. It will be held on Friday, March 2,
2007, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., at NIH’s Natcher Conference
Center in Bethesda. Five additional Open House Workshops will be
convened every other month during 2007 to assess additional groups
of CSR study sections: behavioral and social sciences study sections,
disease-based study sections, integrated biological study sections
(two workshops), and biomolecular study sections.
Input received from these workshops and the public comment period
will be presented to the NIH Peer Review Advisory Committee, which
will guide CSR as it works to implement changes and address concerns
raised at the open house meetings. This broad-based input will
greatly accelerate planned, multiyear efforts to assess CSR’s review
groups in accord with the principles established by the NIH Panel
on Scientific Boundaries for Review.
Additional information on these workshops as well as registration
forms are available via CSR’s Web site: http://www.csr.nih.gov/openhouse or
by contacting the Open House Project Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or
The Center for Scientific Review organizes the peer review
groups that evaluate the majority of grant applications submitted
to the National Institutes of Health. CSR recruits about 18,000
outside scientific experts each year for its review groups. CSR
also receives all NIH and many Public Health Service grant applications — about
80,000 a year — and assigns them to the appropriate NIH
Institutes and Centers and PHS agencies. CSR’s primary goal is
to see that NIH applications receive fair, independent, expert,
and timely reviews that are free from inappropriate influences
so NIH can fund the most promising research. For more information,
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — The Nation's
Medical Research Agency — includes 27 Institutes and
Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and
Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting
and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research,
and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both
common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and
its programs, visit www.nih.gov.