December 10, 2007
NIH Looks to Revise Peer Review Process to Help Young Researchers
From the Chronicle of Higher Education (12.10.07) [U of I access link]
A committee studying ways to improve peer review and grant making at the National Institutes of Health called for major changes on Friday. They include slashing the length of grant applications and placing more weight in grant reviews on the scientific effects of the proposed research.
The working group, created by the advisory committee to NIH director Elias A. Zerhouni, also suggested providing more grants for young scientists who have never before received one. The agency should review grant proposals from such applicants separately from those of established, older investigators. The younger scientists make up a diminishing proportion of the agency's grantees, raising concerns about the future vigor of the biomedical-research work force.
In addition the working group proposed ways to improve the quality and efficiency of the NIH's peer review. One way was to require senior, established researchers to serve on the agency's review panels, which are made up largely of outside academics, as a condition of receiving certain grants. Those veterans are increasingly unwilling to volunteer because of the time commitment involved, but they possess the expertise and experience needed for quality reviews, the panel found....
One of the big changes would transform the peer-review committees of outside scientists who now review and rate applications for NIH grants, making them operate more like the editorial boards of scholarly journals. The committees, called study sections, would "outsource" grant applications to specialists in the discipline to review technical aspects. The study sections would be made up of generalists who would discuss the applications' scientific significance, broadly construed.
- Read the full article in the Chronicle.
- Review the NIH web site for more information about the "Enhancing Peer Review at the NIH" Working Group, including a Meeting Summary from the Oct 25th NIH Regional Consultation Meeting on Peer Review, held in San Francisco.
- Read news item in the 12-7-07 issue of Science A Radical Revamp of Peer Review?
- Videocast and PowerPoint presentation given by Larry Tabak at Peer Review Advisory Committee Meeting on 3 December
Posted by Katie Newman at 2:57 PM
Coming in April: NCBI Field Course
Save the dates! The NCBI trainers will be returning to campus April 17th-18th to present the Field Course to NCBI Resources. The last time this was presented on Campus in the Fall of 2005, over 200 people registered to attend.
The course will consist of a 3-hour lecture on Thursday morning, April 17th and an optional 2-hour, hands-on computer workshop that will be held Thursday afternoon, Friday morning, and Friday afternoon (typically the workshop is offered 5-6 times).
The course is open to grad students, post docs, faculty, and other researchers. There is no fee to attend, but pre-registration will be required. Non-U of I researchers are also welcome to attend.
Registration for the course will open in February. In the mean time, please keep the dates open. If you are the instructor of a graduate-level course, please feel free to announce the course to your students.
Topics covered in the Field Course:
* GenBank Database: description and scope
* The NCBI Derivative Databases: RefSeqs
* Database Searching using Entrez
o Neighboring and Links
o Entrez searching
* The NCBI Structures Database
o The Molecular Modeling Database (MMDB)
o Structural Alignments
o Viewing Structures and Structural Alignments with Cn3D
* Similarity Searching using NCBI BLAST
o Local Alignment Statistics
o Scoring Systems
o Using BLAST web services
o RPS-BLAST (CDD Search)
o Specialized BLAST pages
* Genomic Resources at NCBI
o Complete Microbial Genomes in Entrez
o Higher Genome Resources
+ RefSeq and Genes
+ Variation Data (SNPs)
+ The Human, Mouse and Rat genomes
+ The Map Viewer
+ Other Genomes
Posted by Katie Newman at 2:13 PM