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NIH Biosketch Format

NIH grant applicants are required to include biographical sketch (or biosketch) documents with their applications to demonstrate the magnitude and significance of scientific advances associated with their discoveries, and the specific role they played in those findings.

NIH requires a new biosketch format for grant applications and progress reports submitted on or after May 25, 2015. Applicants may use the old format until then, but NIH encourages use of the new format.

Overview of the Changes

Changes to the biosketch format for 2015:

  • Extends page limit from 4 to 5 pages
  • Requires a new "Section C - Contribution to Science," where researchers describe their most significant contributions (not to exceed 5). Each description should be one-half page or less and should:
    • Provide historical background that frames the scientific problem
    • Outline findings of prior work, and the subsequent effect
    • Describe the researcher's roles in the discoveries
    • Reference up to 4 peer-reviewed publications or non-publication research products for each discovery
    • Provide a link to a full list of the researcher's publications in MyNCBI or SciENcv

NIH Biosketch Resources

The following NIH resources may be helpful as you prepare biosketches using the new format.


Science Experts Network Curriculum Vitae (SciENcv) is an online tool from the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) at NIH that helps researchers create a research profile that complies with the new NIH biosketch format.


Updated April 2020