NIH Hosts Tech Talk to KSFs on Becoming a First-Time Reviewer

On Wednesday, May 10, 2017, the Diversity in Life Science Programs (DLSP) office hosted a web conference with two officials from the National Institutes of Health (NIH’s) Center for Scientific Review, Early Career Reviewer program, Drs. Alok Mulky and Mark Caprara.  Mulky and Caprara did an excellent job of providing Keystone Symposia Fellows with technical guidance they will need to submit competitive research grant applications as well as advice regarding application to the First Time NIH Grant Reviewer program. Several Keystone Symposia Fellows (KSFs) joined the webinar to learn more about becoming a First-Time NIH Reviewer and to share their own NIH review experiences with their colleagues.  Fellows who joined the webinar included:

Amanda Brown, Johns Hopkins University

Leslie Caromile, U-Conn Health Science Center

Paola Giusti-Rodriguez, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Kizzmekia Corbett, NIH Postdoc (Virology)

Dominick Lemas, University of Florida College of Medicine

Rodrigo Maillard, Georgetown University

Samira Musah, Harvard University, Wyss Institute

Florastina Payton-Stewart, Xavier University of Louisiana

Glenn Simmon Jr., University of Minnesota Medical School, Duluth


Key takeaways from the webinar included information on different types of grant reviews (i.e., phone, online, and in-person) and how each has its own unique organization and ‘chemistry.’  Mulky explained that the key to the selection process to serve as a First Time Reviewer is very similar to writing a manuscript or submitting a grant application – PERSISTENCE. Both NIH officials also stressed the importance of keeping in touch with their Early Career Reviewer office (i.e., networking) to ensure that your name and research experience remain current.

In a survey conducted shortly after the webinar, there were overwhelmingly positive responses to the experience. In fact, there was general consensus that Fellows would recommend this webinar for future use by other trainees. When asked the question: “What would you like to hear more about?,” there was a range of responses (see below) that suggests that a future follow-up webinar may be in store!

Survey responses included:

  • How to manage conflicts of interest when serving on a review panel
  • How to prepare for a first review onsite with senior scientists
  • How First-Time Reviewers are selected by NIH officials