Sharpening Your Focus: Getting Personal: The NIH Biosketch

May 1, 2019
icon of magnifying glass with puzzle piece

Through the Biosketch, investigators have the opportunity to showcase their suitability to serve as a principal investigator or co-investigator on a competitive research grant. The Personal Statement section provides important information that enables reviewers to assess your strengths and potential for success.

This section in the Biosketch is not one-size-fits-all, but should describe an investigator’s experiences and skills related to their role in the proposed research. This narrative helps reviewers evaluate whether an investigator is well-suited for the project, a scored review criterion.

If you have collaborating investigators, the contents of their biosketches should not be overlooked. If crafted well, your personal statement and the personal statements of your collaborators provide key information to reviewers about your complementary and integrated expertise.

The Personal Statement section also provides an opportunity to describe factors that may have impacted an investigator’s productivity, such as an illness or family care responsibilities. The personal statement in the Biosketch is an excellent tool that can be used to tell the full story.

To add to your story, you may include up to four publications in the Personal Statement section to highlight your most relevant work. Remember, you can cite a publication more than one time if you wish to also include it elsewhere in your biosketch.

A strong biosketch that aligns with your proposed project can help convey your strengths as a scientist and demonstrate your fit with the role you seek to play. Spending time to refine your biosketch can help keep you on the path to success.


Sharpening Your Focus: Tips on Grant Proposal Preparation is a series of tips published in Medical School Research News about proposal preparation. Written by MaryJo Banasik, J.D., Ph.D., Research Development Specialist, you can view the full archive of articles here.