Washington Update

NIH Provides Opportunities to Inform Its Efforts in Bioethics and Peer Review

By: Yvette Seger
Thursday, January 13, 2022

Are you a researcher seeking funding support to explore the ethical considerations related to biomedical research or supporting capacity building within the field of bioethics? Or perhaps you have feedback on ways the review criteria for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Research Service Award (NRSA) Fellowship awards that could help streamline and clarify the review process for both applicants and reviewers? Two recent announcements from NIH seek to engage the research community on these two topics.

In December, NIH’s Office of Science Policy reissued a funding opportunity announcement offering administrative supplements for research and capacity building efforts related to bioethical issues. Prior iterations of this call have supported projects spanning the broad range of intersections between bioethics and biomedical research, applicable to both basic and clinical research activities. Interested in learning more? A recent symposium explored ways biomedical researchers can partner with bioethicists on these research endeavors. Applications for this funding opportunity will be accepted through March 17.

To ensure an effective and fair review process of NRSA Fellowship applications, a recent post in NIH’s Center for Scientific Review (CSR) “Review Matters” blog, requested community feedback on the strengths and areas needing improvement in the review criteria for these awards. Comments will inform the CSR Advisory Council Working Group on Fellowship Review, a group charged with evaluating the fellowship review process and making recommendations as effective and fair as possible. Convened in September 2021, the group already identified several areas of concern with the current criteria and seeks stakeholder input on their experiences and possible resolutions. Ideas can be shared by commenting on the blog post or emailing CSR by January 24. The working group is anticipated to present draft recommendation to CSR Advisory Council in March.