J. Richard Pilsner, assistant professor of environmental health sciences, was recently chosen to participate in the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Early Career Reviewer program for his expertise in environmental epigenetics. His selection came in conjunction with an invitation to participate in the NIH’s Infectious Disease, Reproductive Health, and Asthma/Pulmonary Conditions (IRAP) study section in Silver Spring, Md., this past summer.
The Early Career Reviewer program was designed to benefit faculty who are actively involved in biomedical-behavioral research but have not yet had experience as a NIH reviewer of grant applications. The program trains qualified scientists to become effective reviewers and helps emerging researchers advance their careers by exposing them to the peer review process. As an Early Career Reviewer, Pilsner received a limited workload at the IRAP study section meeting in order to facilitate the grant review learning process, but enjoyed full participation in panel discussions and voting privileges for all applications.
“It was great to gain a better understanding of the NIH review process and to participate in shaping research priorities at a national level,” said Pilsner. “I gained new insights on how grants are evaluated and ultimately scored. This experience will have a positive impact on how I approach future grant submissions.”
Pilsner will work side-by-side with some of the most accomplished researchers in the field to help the NIH identify the most promising grant applications and learn how reviewers determine overall impact scores. He will also be developing research-evaluation and critique-writing skills and improving his own grant writing skills.