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Rigor and Transparency in NIH Grant and Career Development Applications


Effective January 2016, NIH established critical changes to grant applications that are intended to enhance the reproducibility of research findings (Notice Numbers: NOT-OD-16-011, NOT-OD-16-012 and NOT-OD-17-068).

Beginning with applications due on January 25, 2019 the application instructions and review criteria will be clarified to replace the term “scientific premise” with the term "rigor of the prior research". Applicants will also be instructed to describe plans to address any weaknesses in the rigor of prior research within the Research Strategy. For additional details, see NOT-OD-18-228 and NOT-OD-18-229. These new instructions and revised review criteria focus on the following four areas deemed important for enhancing rigor and transparency:

  1. The rigor of the prior research

  2. Rigorous experimental design for robust and unbiased results

  3. Consideration of relevant biological variables

  4. Authentication of key biological and/or chemical resources

There are a number of good resources on the web to help you. Some of our favorites include:

UMCCTS Quantitative Methods Core

UMCCTS Informatics Core

UMMS recently received an administrative supplement to redesign our rigor and reproducibility curriculum for trainees. Read more here.

NIH Guidance on Rigor and Reproducibility in Grant Applications

UAB CCTS Research Commons on Rigor and Reproducibility

University of Michigan Medical School website on rigor and reproducibility

Additional Resources
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