NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) - In an effort to lure more researchers to review grant applications, the National Institutes of Health’s Center for Scientific Review said this week that it is giving long-term reviewers greater flexibility in submitting their own grant applications.
Beginning Feb. 5, CSR will allow so-called “chartered” members of study sections, who typically serve for a four-year term, to submit their own R01, R21, or R34 grant applications whenever they are complete. Currently, study section members must file these applications on standard submission dates, which can lead to conflicts when a grant deadline interferes with reviewer duties.
Many researchers consider the logjam of dueling deadlines a hindrance and a deterrent from serving as peer reviewers, CSR’s communications director Don Luckett told GenomeWeb Daily News.
“They make a lot of sacrifices to write applications while reviewing others. This gives them a break and some flexibility,” Luckett explained.
The impetus for the change came in part from the NIH’s need for more reviewers but also from reviewers’ requests.
“We had a series of open houses and forums where people told us that it is a burden to be a reviewer. If we could increase the benefits then it would help reward them,” Luckett said.
Luckett said he thinks the open application submission program will “help us recruit new reviewers, which has always been a challenge.”
“They volunteer, essentially, and they’re only paid a small stipend that doesn’t cover the time they spend reviewing.”
The new alternate plan for submission rules should affect a total of around 4,000 study section reviewers when it takes effect next month, but could expand to affect others in the future, Luckett added.
An NIH notice explaining the new submission rules is available here, and further information is available from CSR here.