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NIH Biosketch Guide

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How to Craft an Effective NIH
Biosketch Using these Award-winning Writing Styles

By: Nancy Parmely and John Ludlow, PhD
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Overview -
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The new biosketch format mandated by NIH calls for change, and your success will depend to a large extent on your willingness to embrace this process. After isolating Section C as the area requiring the most adjustment, Dr. Dorothy Lewis, who holds an almost 30-year history of writing grant applications, states: “My belief is this section should be written as a narrative.” She points out that a narrative voice “will make the reader interested in the story of you. It captures your personality, your emotion, your passion for the science that you do..”
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Despite recommending the use of narratives, Dr. Lewis admits, “The problem is most scientists have never written in this style.” The truth is, moving away from the one style most scientists are used to (expository writing that is fact-driven and devoid of emotion or opinion) can be quite uncomfortable.

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The key to overcoming this discomfort is to recognize the opportunity that accompanies it. Therefore, to craft an exceptional presentation of your Contributions to Science, it is important that you identify and understand your writing style options.
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This 62-page guide has been designed to help you identify the writing style that works best for you—one which will increase your chances of reviewer support and grant approval. Writing examples have been included along with expert guidance to help you:
  • Clarify the NIH mandated biosketch changes
  • Identify and explain your style of writing options (for both Sections
    A and C)
  • Walk you through the new process for citing your publications

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  • Nancy Parmely Nancy Parmely is a freelance writer living near State College, Pennsylvania. She attended the University of Iowa, and has been involved in the writing and editing of both technical and non-technical projects for over 30 years, maintaining a flair for original and expressive wording, instructive illustrations and detailed explanations. Nancy continues to write and edit extensively in the sciences, working not only with individuals but also with several professional organizations as well, including the Gas Research Institute, Polished and Professional and, more recently, with the Principal Investigators Association. She can be reached at [email protected]


    Dr. John Ludlow John Ludlow, PhD, began his academic faculty career at the University of Rochester (NY) in 1991, with appointments in the department of biochemistry at the medical school and the university’s cancer research center. During this time he maintained an independently funded research laboratory training graduate students and post doctoral fellows in the area of tumor suppressor gene expression, protein structure, and function. Funding for his laboratory came from a variety of sources, including the NIH, the American Cancer Society, and private foundations. Dr. Ludlow began working in the commercial biotechnology sector in the year 2000, developing and managing research and pre-clinical programs for cell therapy and tissue engineered products, where he has continued to successfully compete in, and advise on, multiple NIH award programs.

     

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