How to get on study section

I know I and others have blogged about the Early Career Reviewer program at NIH. Also see Drugmonkey’s take on this (and the comments) from last year.

Someone (older) recently asked me for the link to “how people are selected”. Here it is. Unfortunately it is the legal-ese, and doesn’t tell you how to go about actually getting on a study section (if you are not ECR material).

My best advice – find an SRO and send them an email. Remember, its seldom a good idea to cold call anyone at NIH. An email asking for a time to talk about a particular subject has, for me, always worked best.



12 thoughts on “How to get on study section

  1. POs can pass your CV along to an SRO as well.

    Current (and past) members of the section can, and do, recommend new reviewers. Talk to your Associate Professor peers and/or scour the panel lists (past 3 rounds available at CSR site) for people you know.

  2. Simple – get funded first. If you get an R01 funded, the SRO of the section that funded it should be on the ‘phone pretty soon after (at least that’s how it worked for me). The tough part is making the transition from ad-hoc to full member, and the dance that occurs in trying to convince the SRO that your multiple (in my case 6) ad-hoc sittings should count toward your total time as a member (hint – they don’t).

    • Yes, this!
      I have colleague who has ad-hocked a lot, and was told by the SRO “we’d love to appoint you, but you’re too pale and you have too few X chromosomes, so you’ll have to wait until one of your own kind rotates off “.

      • And some won’t be invited at all. For these reasons or simply b/c they already have three experts in X. it isn’t as though there is some right to becoming an empaneled member of a study section.

      • And when you’re not invited – its not always clear why and which of the above contributed. Its worth while trying every so often, reminding the SRO, etc that you are there and willing. But its not worth getting fussed over.

      • Sometimes they will flat out tell you which of the criteria are preventing you from being appointed. Try not to take this as some evidence of the personal effect of the evuls of diversity efforts.

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