The Center for Scientific Review (CSR) receives all NIH grant applications, more than 88,000 applications a year, and assigns them to NIH institutes and centers for funding consideration as well as to a scientific review group for peer review. CSR also oversees and implements the peer review process for over 75% of NIH grant applications, as well as for some other components of HHS. Since 1946, our mission has been to see that NIH grant applications receive fair, independent, expert, and timely scientific reviews—free from inappropriate influences—so NIH can fund the most promising research. These efforts have enabled NIH to fund fundamental, cutting-edge research that has led to new treatments and cures for diseases for millions of Americans.
At CSR, we believe that diversity matters at all levels — among applicants, reviewers, and NIH staff. Why do we value and pursue diversity? It brings new perspectives and ideas into our community that spark creative solutions to problems and adds a dynamic energy to all we do.
Our work in this area includes convening an Outreach Committee focused on the extramural research community. The Outreach Committee works with scientific societies to give presentations and hold workshops aimed at providing broad access to information on how grants are evaluated. These efforts include outreach targeted toward groups underrepresented in the sciences about how to navigate the peer review process. Substantial efforts have also been made to diversify review panels, as diverse perspectives are needed to identify the most novel and impactful science. Additionally, in 2021, CSR launched Bias Mitigation Training for all CSR reviewers. The training aims to raise awareness of the most common biases in review, both positive and negative, and to provide tools for reviewers to intervene.
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