Sharpening Your Focus: NIH Updates Rigor & Reproducibility Resources

January 15, 2019

icon of magnifying glass with puzzle pieceBased on feedback and outcomes from two years of implementation, NIH has revamped its Rigor & Reproducibility website to clarify requirements, reflect updated policies and provide expanded resources to support researchers.

Importantly, language in application instructions and review criteria has been updated to address some confusion around the term “scientific premise.” NIH intended this term to signify “rigor of prior research,” not only the hypothesis or rationale for the project. For applications due on and after January 25, 2019, the term “rigor of prior research” will replace “scientific premise” in the Significance section of most proposals. In that section investigators should describe the strengths and weakness of previous studies that serve as key support for the current proposal (e.g., failure to consider biological variables, inappropriate sample sizes, etc.); in the Approach section they should detail plans to address those weaknesses.

The improved NIH site is organized into four sub-pages, so researchers can quickly navigate to the information they need. Enhanced resources include guidance on authentication plans, pre-clinical animal model design, and calculating sample sizes, among other things. There are training videos, as well as a new podcast on Rigor, Reproducibility and Transparency in Research.


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