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Writing About Your Impact in the New NIH Biosketch


Do your “contributions to science” in the new NIH Biosketch feel rather flat? Want to reinforce just how impactful your work is?

The new “contributions to science” section of the NIH Biosketch provides space for up to 5 contributions which should each include:

  • the historical background that frames the scientific problem
  • the influence of the finding(s) on the progress of science or the application to health or technology
  • your specific role in the described work
  • list of up to four peer-reviewed publications or other non-publication research products for each contribution

Below are some ideas for highlighting the impact of your research.

Consider all your research outputs

Take time to jog your memory of all the research outputs from your work. These may include:

  • Journal articles, books or book chapters
  • Conference papers or posters
  • Databases, datasets or research materials
  • Software, netware, or code
  • Models or protocols
  • Scientific instrumentation or devices
  • Audio or video products
  • Educational materials for trainees, students or patients, etc.

For a more comprehensive list of outputs, download and review the Becker Model for Assessment of Research Impact.

Highlight your full range of outputs

“This project produced 11 non peer-reviewed articles, 2 reports for policy makers, 4 magazine articles, 3 local newspaper articles, 23 presentations to a variety of policy and academic audiences, and 2 book chapters.”

“This project resulted in 10 peer-reviewed articles, 2 national presentations, and 4 international presentations.”

Highlight the impact of one or more outputs

 “The paper describing this work is listed below and has been cited >300 times (Scopus).”

“Collectively the 4 papers listed below have been cited more than 1,200 times by Scopus (1,100 by WoS).”

Highlight successful dissemination

"The 21 publications resulting from this work have been cited by 750 subsequent works by investigators in 47 countries, and in 7 languages around the world (Scopus)."

Highlight consumption by stakeholders

 “There was considerable media coverage of this project, with 10 articles in national newspapers and 6 other media appearances.”

“The 4 papers describing this work were referred to by news media outlets 24 times; tweeted 13 times worldwide, including tweets from the National Cancer Institute, and commented on 8 times in PubMed Commons.”

To include or not to include

In the end, you may decide that your contributions to science speak louder than what any numbers or metrics can capture. These suggestions are meant to provide ideas and options as you consider how to communicate your science to NIH reviewers.

How do I find these numbers?

Curious about finding some of the numbers or metrics listed in the examples? Contact Galter Library’s Metrics and Impact Core for a free consultation on how to track the dissemination of your research.

Karen Gutzman, Impact and Evaluation Librarian

Dr. Kristi Holmes, Core Director and Director of Evaluation, NUCATS

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Have more questions? Want to take a class?

Galter Library staff are ready to help you! We are offering classes on preparing NIH biosketches. Use the links below to sign up for one of the upcoming classes.

Class name: How to Prepare a New NIH Biosketch
Go to class information page and sign up for upcoming sessions, or use the "Request this class" link on the page to schedule an individual or group session for yourself or your research group.

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Updated: March 5, 2020