The Office of Sponsored Programs

NSF and NIH Biosketch changes – Reminder

Posted on Thursday, November 19th, 2015 by Sangeetha Shivaji.

The NSF Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide was revised to implement the changes necessitated by the implementation of the Uniform Guidance. As of December 26, 2014, changes were made on the format and content of the biographical sketches.

A biographical sketch (limited to two pages) is required for each individual identified as senior personnel. (See GPG Exhibit II-7 for the definitions of Senior Personnel.) The following information must be provided in the order and format specified below. Inclusion of additional information beyond that specified below may result in the proposal being returned without review.

Do not submit any personal information in the biographical sketch. This includes items such as: home address; home telephone, fax, or cell phone numbers; home e-mail address; drivers’ license numbers; marital status; personal hobbies; and the like. Such personal information is not appropriate for the biographical sketch and is not relevant to the merits of the proposal. NSF is not responsible or in any way liable for the release of such material. (See also GPG Chapter III.H).

If biographical sketch(es) are not required, insert text or upload a document in this section of the proposal that states, “Not Applicable.” In FastLane, if biographical sketches for all senior personnel are uploaded in a single PDF file associated with the PI, insert text or upload a document that states “Not Applicable” for any co-PI or Senior Person.

The National Institutes of Health introduced changes to the biosketch format that allows researchers to describe the importance of their research. The new biosketches were required in grant applications on or after May 25th, 2015.

There are three alterations to the biosketch:

  • The allowed length has been increased to five pages instead of the previous four,
  • Up to five of the applicant’s most significant contributions to science are to be included in section C. Description can include the impact of each, its context and the role of the applicant. The importance of each contribution can be underscored by up to four peer-reviewed publications, videos, patents, databases or other products.
  • A URL to the applicant’s publicly available bibliography may be provided.

For the NIH announcement about the new biosketch use, please, refer to: