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NIH Office of the Director (OD)

Friday, June 8, 2007

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NIH Establishes Working Groups to Examine Peer Review

National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D., announced today the formation of two working groups — one external, the other internal — to examine the NIH peer review process, with the goal of maximizing its effectiveness.

“Peer review is such a fundamental and critical part of the research process, that it requires our constant vigilance,” said Director Zerhouni. “With the increasing breadth and complexity of science, along with the increased number of research grant applications, we need to take a comprehensive look at our review process, and make the necessary changes to strengthen it for applicants and reviewers alike. Although our peer review system is outstanding — and emulated throughout the world — we want to make it even better.”

Over the last 60 years, the peer review process has been examined several times with the goal of making sure peer review identifies the best possible scientific research for NIH to fund. “NIH must continue to adapt to rapidly changing fields of science and ever-growing public health challenges. It also must continue to draw on the most talented reviewers and fund the most promising research,” Zerhouni said.

The two new NIH working groups will seek input from the scientific community, including investigators, scientific societies, grantee institutions, voluntary health organizations, and from within NIH as well. The groups will study the context, criteria, and culture of peer review to make sure the most talented individuals and reviewers are engaged in the process.

External ACD Working Group on Peer Review:

    Keith R. Yamamoto, Ph.D., University of California-San Francisco, co-chair
    Lawrence Tabak, D.D.S., Ph.D., National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, NIH, co-chair
    Bruce Alberts, Ph.D., University of California-San Francisco
    Mary Beckerle, Ph.D., University of Utah
    David Botstein, Ph.D., Princeton University
    Helen H. Hobbs, M.D., University of Texas-Southwestern, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
    Erich D. Jarvis, Ph.D., Duke University
    Alan I. Leshner, Ph.D., American Association for the Advancement of Science
    Philippa Marrack, Ph.D., National Jewish Medical and Research Center, University of Colorado, Denver
    Marjorie Mau, M.S., M.D., University of Hawaii
    Edward N. Pugh, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania
    Tadataka Yamada, M.D., Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
    Norka Ruiz Bravo, Ph.D., Office of Extramural Research, NIH, ex officio
    Antonio Scarpa, M.D., Ph.D., Center for Scientific Review, NIH, ex officio

Internal Steering Committee Working Group on Peer Review:

    Jeremy M. Berg, Ph.D., National Institute of General Medical Sciences, co-chair
    Lawrence Tabak, D.D.S., Ph.D., National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, NIH, co-chair
    Story Landis, Ph.D., National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, NIH
    Marvin Kalt, Ph.D., National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIH
    Roderic I. Pettigrew, Ph.D., M.D., National Institute of Bioimaging and Bioengineering, NIH
    Norka Ruiz Bravo, Ph.D., Office of Extramural Research, NIH
    Antonio Scarpa, M.D., Ph.D., Center for Scientific Review, NIH
    Lana R. Skirboll, Ph.D.,Office of Science Policy, NIH
    Brent Stanfield, Ph.D., National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, NIH
    Jane A. Steinberg, Ph.D., National Institute of Mental Health, NIH
    Betty C. Tai, Ph.D., National Institute on Drug Abuse, NIH
    John Bartrum, Office of Budget, NIH, ex officio
    Jack Jones Jr., Ph.D., Acting NIH Chief Information Technology Officer, NIH, ex officio
    Catherine Manzi, Office of General Counsel, NIH, ex officio
    Jennifer Spaeth, Office of Federal Advisory Committee Policy, NIH, ex officio

Results from the ACD peer review working group will be presented to the full Advisory Committee to the Director in December 2007. The internal NIH steering committee working group will present its findings to the NIH Director’s Steering Committee during the same month. Both working groups will meet in January 2008 to develop a set of integrated recommendations for next steps.

The ACD advises the NIH Director on policy matters important to the NIH mission of conducting and supporting biomedical and behavioral research, research training, and translating research results for the public. Additional information is available at http://www.nih.gov/about/director/acd/index.htm.

The Office of the Director, the central office at NIH, is responsible for setting policy for NIH, which includes 27 Institutes and Centers. This involves planning, managing, and coordinating the programs and activities of all NIH components. The Office of the Director also includes program offices which are responsible for stimulating specific areas of research throughout NIH. Additional information is available at http://www.nih.gov/icd/od/.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — The Nation's Medical Research Agency — is comprised of 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 investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.

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