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NCCIH Research Blog

It’s Official! Changes in Fellowship Processes Are Taking Effect

June 3, 2024

Jessica McKlveen, Ph.D.

Jessica McKlveen, Ph.D.

Director

Office of Scientific Review

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

View biographical sketch

Today, I am pleased to let you know about the now-official changes to the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) fellowship application and review process, which will take effect for fellowship applications having receipt dates of January 25, 2025, and beyond. 

In the past, the NIH extramural community had voiced concerns that the fellowship peer review process may disadvantage some highly qualified candidates. I previously blogged about this and a related NIH Request for Information, NOT-OD-23-110, that invited public comment. After careful consideration of all feedback received, NIH set out to restructure the review of fellowship applications and announced on April 18 the exact changes to be made (see Implementation of Revisions to the NIH and AHRQ Fellowship Application and Review Process, NOT-OD-24-107). 

The overall goal of revising the process is to ensure that the most promising fellowship candidates will be consistently identified by scientific review panels. The changes are designed to:

  • Better focus reviewer attention on three key assessments: 
    • The fellowship candidate’s goals, preparedness, and potential
    • The research training plan
    • The commitment to the candidate  
  • Ensure that a broad range of candidates and research training contexts can be recognized as meritorious by clarifying and simplifying the language in the application instructions and review criteria  
  • Reduce bias in review by emphasizing the commitment to the candidate without undue consideration of sponsor and institutional reputation  

We at NIH are working to prepare applicants and reviewers for the upcoming changes through various webinars, presentations, and other resources. If you’re a potential NIH fellowship applicant or you work with these applicants or fellows, I invite you to register now for an upcoming NIH webinar on Thursday, September 19, 2024, from 2 to 3 p.m. ET, to learn more and have your questions answered by experts. Please pass this opportunity along to colleagues who may be interested. If you can’t attend, the webinar’s presentations and resources will be posted on NIH Grants and Funding’s Training and Resources webpage soon after the event. 

NIH will also share more information as January 25, 2025, draws closer. Details and guidance will be available on the Revisions to the NIH Fellowship Application and Review Process webpage. If you have any questions, you can email FellowshipReview@mail.nih.gov.

All of us in the Division of Extramural Activities, National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, recognize that these revisions will greatly change how fellowship applications are prepared and reviewed. We hope you’ll find that they simplify and clarify the application process. 

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